Puzzling Phrases and Mind-boggling Misnomers

A misnomer is "a wrong name or inappropriate designation".

Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces (Wikipedia)

Because I am a half-blooded Viking (which probably explains a lot :-) ), I have always been intrigued by Nordic countries.  I find two of them – Iceland and Greenland – to be particularly fascinating.  Have you ever realized that these two countries have been wrongly named?  "Iceland" suggests a place that is icy, which today is known to be untrue, while "Greenland" suggests a place that is mostly green, which today is know to be untrue.  According to Wikipedia, "About 81% of Greenland's surface is covered by the Greenland ice sheet." (link)  However, in Iceland "the warm North Atlantic Current ensures generally higher annual temperatures than in most places of similar latitude in the world." (link)  Yes, the names of these countries appear to be misnomers.

As we have been investigating spiritual topics during the past three years, we have noticed what we consider to be misnomers in the Calvinista world.  For example, Together for the Gospel (T4G) kicks off tomorrow in the Calvinista mecca known as Louisville, Kentucky.  When the last T4G Conference occurred, we wrote a post called Together for the Gospel – Really?

Here is how that post began:

"We have some questions for those headed to Louisville for T4G. Just how accurate is the conference name “Together for the Gospel”? Why would we even ask such a question? Here’s why…

What percentage of the speakers and attendees are “reformed”? Would it be accurate to say one hundred percent?

Would someone who is a committed Christian but less than a five-pointer feel comfortable at T4G?

How many women attend T4G? After all, at least half the population is made up of women. How many women are there in our churches? Do they have any input beyond flower arrangements?

How many other than Reformed Baptists attend T4G? What is the breakdown between denominations represented at the conference (Southern Baptist, PCA, SGM, etc.)?"

We also made the following points in that post, which we wish to emphasize again:

"From all outward appearances, Together for the Gospel is a select group of pastor-types with an extremely narrow theology, which we call “Neo-Calvinism”, which is NOT the same theology as traditional Calvinism.

Quite frankly, we find the slogan Together for the Gospel to be an arrogant concept. It implies that those who don’t abide by the Calvinista theology are somehow not interpreting or perhaps not contending for the Gospel correctly.

Is this just another forum for larger than the Gospel personalities? Is there ever an attempt to invite obscure people who are contending for the Gospel to speak? In fact, are the only ones speaking just the same old, same old? And if so, why?"

Check out these two clips featured on the T4G website that clearly demonstrate what brings this group 'together' and what divides them from the rest of Christendom.

Complementarianism: Essential or Expendable?

In this video, Ligon Duncan explains that one of the most critical remarks he hears regarding T4G has to do with complementarianism.  He affirms that if they had left that out, they would have attracted so many more people.   Panelists emphasizing the importance of complementarianism are:  John Piper, Russell Moore, Greg Gilbert, Ligon Duncan.

Innerrancy:  Did God Really Say?

We have a fairly good idea which inerrancy issue will be emphasized since Al Mohler is on this panel – the Historical Adam.  Mohler has written and spoken extensively on his new hot button topic, which he considers to be of doctrinal importance.  Not all of Mohler's colleagues share his view on creationism.  Tim Keller is an old earth creationist, as was R.C. Sproul until his recent conversion to young earth creationism.  (We believe his son R.C. Sproul, Jr. – Doug Phillips' BFF (and others) convinced Sproul to change his mind). Here is another resource that lists theologians who sharply disagree with Mohler's narrow view of creation:

"Young Earthers say that any credence given to old earth science fatally undermines the authority of Scriptures. But its worth noting that prior to Charles Darwin there were many (if not most) Biblical scholars who considered the days of Creation to be periods of time rather than 24 hour calendar days. This included, Charles Hodge and Benjamin Warfield. Today, such scholars as D.A. Carson, Gleason Archer, Norman Geisler, and Walter Kaiser espouse an Old Earth view. Some leading pastors have now come out from the pack and declared that they too are Old Earth in their Biblical understanding. These include Bill Hybels, Jack Hayford and Ron Wilson (past President of AOG Tasmania). These men see no undermining of Scriptural authority (sola scriptura) by regarding that the Creation days as periods of time rather than 24 hour periods. Rather than regarding science as the enemy of Scriptural revelation that see it as complementary to it."

On a different note, I guess the T4G blogmaster got so excited in promoting this topic that he added another "n" to "inerrancy".  Since I majored in English (and Economics) in college, misspelled words are a pet peeve!  It is ironic that the word inerrancy - which means "exemption from error" – is spelled incorrectly, resulting in a grammatical "error".

Screen Shot - 4.10.12

One pastor who has been outspoken about T4G elevating complementarianism to a first tier doctrinal position is Wade Burleson, who has written the following post: 

The Fatal Flaw Within 'Together for the Gospel' Men

Here is an excerpt from that post:

"There is a modern tragedy within the evangelical conservative movement called Together for the Gospel. The men, pictured above, have wonderful objectives. They desire to fellowship around "the joyous declaration that God is redeeming the world through Christ, and that He calls everyone everywhere to repent from sin and trust Jesus Christ for salvation." Amen. We can all agree. Our theological heroes, however, have within them a fatal flaw. They have defined their gospel movement as having "a theological anchor defined by four points." The third major theological point is their fatal flaw. They have insisted that the gospel demands 'complementarian relationships.' This is theological lingo for 'men should always lead and women should always follow.' The absolute absurdity of making this view a major theological tenet is seen in the video answer that John Piper gives to the question, "Should a woman submit to abuse by her man." Watch the video and you will see the fatal flaw within these men. Conservative, evangelical Christians like myself--people who might otherwise fellowship with these men around the gospel of Jesus Christ--find ourselves running from them as fast as possible. The intended desire of these men (fellowship around the gospel) has created the opposite results. Conservative Presbyterians have already put on their spiritual tennis shoes and sprinted away fast. It is only a matter of time before others do so as well."

A critical issue at the Together for the Gospel conference upon which we can definitely stand together is Celebrity Pastor - Indecent Exposure?  C.J. Mahaney will "serve" as a panelist.

Mark Dever mentions in the complementarianism clip that 10 percent of T4G attendees this time are women.  I guess that's how he defines "togetherness" of the sexes.  I wonder how many of those female attendees are married to pastors...

Speaking of Mark Dever, I find his book Nine Marks of a Healthy Church to be somewhat of a misnomer.  Is Capitol Hill Baptist Church spiritually healthy?  We're not so sure.

Another misnomer among the Calvinista crowd is the concept of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.  Who gets to define "Biblical" or "Gospel" for that matter?  Yes, The Gospel Coalition definitely comes to mind.  Then we have the Young, Restless, and Reformed.   We know pastors and colleagues who are "Reformed" in their theology, and they don't belong with this crowd!  Not even close!

There are other examples of misnomers in the Calvinista crowd.  Please feel free to share those here.  Sadly, some of these terms have been hijacked and assigned extremely narrow definitions that fit the Calvinista mold.  It's time to call a spade a spade, and we no longer accept their misnomers or their  definitions of "biblical", "gospel", etc.  The Calvinistas have been putting God in their oddly shaped box, and we say enough is enough!  

It's past time to move beyond the narrow theology of the Calvinistas.  To help you think outside the box, here are some funny Things to Ponder: (feel free to add to the list)

Why isn't phonetic spelled the way it sounds?

Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Why is it that when you transport something by car, it's called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship, it's called cargo?

Why does "cleave" mean both split apart and stick together?

If the front of your car says 'DODGE', do you really need a horn?

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

Why do fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing?

Why is it called a TV "set" when you only get one?

Why does your nose run and your feet smell?

Is there another word for synonym?

How can there be self-help "groups"?

Is there another word for thesaurus?

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

Why did God give men nipples?


As I was listening to the news today, I heard the name "Angela Corey" several times in reference to a high-profile case in Florida.  I want to praise my co-blogger Dee for her excellent work shortly after we began blogging.  She was investigating the Tom Rich situation and placed a phone call to Florida State Attorney Angela Corey.  Here is an excerpt from our post Subpoena This Blog.

"Recently, Dee had the honor and privilege of speaking with Florida State Attorney Angela Corey. How did this conversation come about you are probably wondering. Dee called the State Attorney’s office, concerned about the freedom to dissent for religious bloggers. The State of Florida is blessed to have such a responsive representative of the law! Angela Corey spent a lengthy amount of time explaining her understanding of this case."

Let me assure you, there's never a dull moment in preparing posts here at The Wartburg Watch.  We were BORN TO BLOG!!!

Lydia's Corner:  Ezekiel 1:1-3:15   Hebrews 3:1-19   Psalm 104:1-23   Proverbs 26:24-26

Comments

Puzzling Phrases and Mind-boggling Misnomers — 285 Comments

  1. Thank you ladies for getting this information out for people to read. Admittedly, you have helped me since I left an Acts 29 member church that was/is very good at treating women as second class citizens (subtly at first, but don the scarlet letter after a bit) among other problems.

    I find it interesting that a whole 10% of attendees are women. This is most definitely not representative of women in the church or as a measure of population.

    Keep up the great work, we need people like you bringing light to these dark situations.

  2. hmm .. let me see ..
    How about “equal but different” (describing the role of women) as far as I can see, it just means different, equal doesn’t come into it!

    and “biblical sexuality” — last time I checked, my Bible was asexual! (I mean, hey, it’s a BOOK — they don’t reproduce!)

    and what is “biblical authority” (unless they mean God’s authority?) My Bible says that if anyone wants to be great in the kingdom he needs to become the servant of all — it’s difficult to visualise the role of a servant as being the one standing up on the platform.

    “doctrines of grace” — ok, I admit this is my personal bugbear, and apologies to genuinely gracious Calvinists, but the way I hear this used it describes a set of doctrines that limits God’s grace to a few select (and very verbose) people, and gloriously sends the rest of us to hell. My idea of grace aligns closer to whoever-it-was who said “For the grace of God is broader/ than the measure of man’s mind/ And the heart of the Eternal/ is most infinitely kind”

    I’d better stop before I offend someone ..

    PS a joyous Easter to our blog queens, and may the fulfilment of all God’s promises in Jesus be your joy and refreshment

  3. For me, the word “Grace”. The guys and I do mean guys talk a good game, but grace is for them and not for others. Particularly if you have any different view of the Bible than they do.

    They do not think they are in need of grace. How can this be?

    Too many times grace is just a substitute word for legalism.

  4. I’ve got one more–”Good News”. What they give out as good news is not the Good News of the holy scriptures.

  5. Amy,

    Thanks for your comment. Acts 29 is well-represented at T4G by its new leader – Matt Chandler. He spoke at the previous one as well.

    Yes, in aggregate women make up over 60 percent of congregations. Even Mark Driscoll admitted this in his Macho Man video.

    It is interesting that Dever felt compelled to share that statistic about women attending the conference. How many are attending with their pastor husbands?

  6. The phenomena of “New Speak” within certain elements of Christianity has bothered me for some time. There are, I believe, basically two reasons for it:

    1. An attempt to avoid offending unbelievers that visit.
    2. To deceive those who are in attendance.

    In their attempt to avoid “offending” unbelievers that visit, they have removed the “offence” of the Gospel. Their desire is to be “relevant;” yet in doing so they have never been so irrelevant. Unbelievers come and visit and never hear the Gospel. What they see is a social club complete with entertainment (Spurgeon predicted that clowns would be entertaining goats; He got that right.)

    Using a name to try to hide your real intent is deception. If you have to deceive others to get them to “buy in” is it really the work of God?

    We attended an Acts 29 church for about 4 months. When the pastor found out that I was a 59 year old ex-pastor, he wouldn’t give me the time of day. I wasn’t young, I wasn’t restless, and and I sure wasn’t a “Calvinista.” We stopped attending and after 3 months, I got an email from the pastor asking if everything was alright. It was the least he could do.

  7. randall slack,

    I am so glad you have addressed the great divide among this crowd – age. I plan to write about it soon. I believe they are trying to attract the younger generation for very specific reasons.

    Younger Christians are much more trusting – dare I say gullible? I believe music is the primary way they divide the generations. By eliminating older, more experienced Christians such as yourself, church leaders can have much greater control.

    I attend a church that celebrated its 100th anniversary seven years ago. All ages are well-represented, and it is definitely one of the strengths of the congregation.

    I hope young adults will be discerning about whether their pastors are intentionally driving a wedge between them and their parents.

  8. Lynne Tait,

    Your comments are always so insightful. “Equal but Different” is right! I am so tired of “biblical” and “gospel” being used as descriptors of the things the Calvinistas are trying to control.

    Here at TWW we can implement that tactic, too. How ’bout -

    Biblical Blogging

    Blogging for the Gospel

    “Grace”ful Blogging

  9. I like: “Blogging by the grace of God, for the Gospel of Grace as a free gift for all, for the Biblical God offers grace to all.”

  10. These guys make me so mad. I was indoctrinated into believing that “rules” of our church were directives from God. They were sneaky about it too. they would come right out and say it like pastors do today; however, they preached it and taught it in a way that you didn’t question whether it was what God wanted.

    I say indoctrinated because I am still fighting/struggling with ridding these ideas from my heart and head. It may take me the rest of my life here on earth, but I am determined to get to the truth!!!

    Thank you Deb & Dee for helping me on this journey. And thank you to all the bloggers here. You guys are just as helpful.

  11. Re: the Complementarianism: Essential or Expendable video… (Which, BTW, made me seasick with all the bobbing heads…)

    I don’t remember if it was Deb or Dee, but one of you asked in a comment somewhere what it was about your egalitarian marriage of mutual respect and submission that was contributing to the downfall of our culture and the church. I’ve thought about that question every day since because I haven’t seen that come up anywhere else. (Sorry I can’t link to it. There are too many comments to keep track of!)

    I don’t believe anyone gave an answer and for good reason. There isn’t one. A man and woman committed to God and each other in marriage who live sacrificially for each other can do no harm to the culture or the church. It’s just absurd to think otherwise.

    I’m working on a post about this because it really drives home the point of how this militant patriarchy/comp should not be a divisive issue in the church. But a segment is making it one. They would refuse to fellowship with you and me over this one issue even though we are sisters in Christ.

    Sad.

  12. Scooter’s Mom,

    We believe you are well on your way to recovery! If these guys keep narrowing their theology, they’ll be only only ones left in their clique! I do wonder how many Christians are following them.

    Thank you for thanking the other commenters here. Just yesterday I received an e-mail from another blogger who wrote:

    “One of the best parts of your blog, I find, is the threads — and that’s not to take anything away from the posts themselves, of course. I’ve often caught myself reading hundreds of thread comments on your blog and realizing I’ve been at it for multiple hours!”

    I hope his affirmation of comments on our blog will encourage all of our readers to chime in more!

  13. Thanks Deb. I feel so much closer to these commenters than I ever did in my church. I always felt like an outsider.

    Hey, I have an idea. Why don’t WE rent a HUGE stadium and all the commenters here, Wade, you guys, all of us, hold our own “conference”. Wow, just imagine how God could work thru that!!!!

  14. “All human evil comes from a single cause, man’s inability to sit still in a room.”
    -Blaise Pascal

    Could someone please remind CJ Mahaney of this! Those clips make me nervous!!!

    (Sorry….a bit off point :-) )

  15. Scooter’s Mom,

    I LOVE that idea! I think we could draw a much bigger crowd than the T4G guys. After all, we would definitely have more women attending. :)

  16. Deb and Randall Slack,

    I would love to see a post about the age disparity among these churches. The young are supposed to learn from older more seasoned people who have walked the faith through trials, tribulations, joys, and life’s ups and downs. Having the humility and wisdom to learn from these people is a gift and a privilege. Something that is MISSING in these younger churches where the pastors’ and elders’ oldest child is 12.

    They have not experienced life, (although I am not looking down on them for their age, but living through trials where you are compressed like coal will reveal whether these people are diamonds or junk), and therefore are limited to speak with reliable Biblical wisdom.

  17. Amy,

    BINGO! I do plan to write a post soon about the age disparity and the terrible downside of segregating generations of believers.

    Along these lines, about a month ago we heard from a mom who had been alienated from her daughter by her son-in-law. The expectant parents attend Mars Hill Church. The daughter was expecting a baby any day, and the relationship with her mom has been severed. :-(

  18. “I do wonder how many Christians are following them.”

    Then Dave writes “young elders”

    I have thought about the youth aspect to this NC movement quite a bit. It is a problem that the youth following these men want to be “pastors” as in elders right away. They are doing it, for the most part, by planting churches instead of going to work IN an established church. And this is what the T4G guys support. It is kind of scary when you think about it. These arrogant, angry, restless young men with power and position in a church. I shudder to think of the devastation from this in the next 10 years or so. Just look at the devastation brought about by Driscoll. One guy who was affirmed and promoted by many celebs and his tentacles with his bizarre doctrine are far reaching!

    How many of the Mormon “missionary” guys on bikes who come to your door are “older”? Yet, they wear name tags that say “elder” on them. They usually have pimples but are branded “elders”.

    You take this thinking with a lot of what has been taught about women over at CBMW (such as submission to men in heaven and women’s specific roles), the ESS some were promoting a few years back, and the Mormonish parallels are astonishing!

  19. about the name thing…..

    you said “Quite frankly, we find the slogan Together for the Gospel to be an arrogant concept. It implies that those who don’t abide by the Calvinista theology are somehow not interpreting or perhaps not contending for the Gospel correctly.”

    I don’t think the reason this name was picked was for the reasons you speculate. I would assume it is based on the old TAG name that Mahaney-Tomczak started with. It meant Take and Give. TAG to T4G. Clever really. I am sure this was intentional on CJs part and the rest went along with it. Just my own speculation. Of course, that does mean some arrogance and spiritual superiority after all, if CJ was trying to start the new move, the way TAG was God’s new move.

  20. How about comps “creating” the servant-leader husband to describe their interpretation of headship. Neither words are biblical, but see how they weave it into their agenda:

    “On the Day of Judgment, when you must give an account to God, will he say to you: “Well done my good and faithful servant-leader husband.” Or will He rebuke you for being a dictator-husband which is contrary to what He outlined in His word? The choice is yours. I highly recommend that you choose to be a servant-leader husband.”

    http://www.spwickstrom.com/servant/

  21. momentary historian

    Good comment. But now, just like the Gospel Coalition, CBMW, etc., T4G has come to mean a certain kind of “gospel” and a certain kind of “biblical.” We already have a gazillion (give or take a few) denominations. Now, this crowd will be responsible for fractures within denominations, all in the name of secondary issues that have bee raised to primary importance. Oh yeah, and some pastor types that have been raised to primary importance as well.

    So, if I do not buy the complementarian argument, I am neither Gospel or Biblically minded. No wonder people are continuing to flee from the church. If they keep up emphasizing “proper roles,” along with large families etc., and ignoring the issues of sexual abuse, domestic violence, along with many other problems in the churches, they will continue to see movement away from this representation of the faith.

  22. momentary history,

    Great minds definitely think alike! Here is what I wrote two years ago:

    The Fab Four: High and Lifted Up

    “How did we come to have “Together FOUR (oops – for) the Gospel”, and why are these four men – Mohler, Dever, Mahaney, and Duncan – so revered?

    I have been fascinated by the conference name and have a theory for how it came to be called “Together for the Gospel”. As we pointed out in a previous post, it’s likely that Newfrontiers’ annual conference “Together on a Mission” was the inspiration for Together for the Gospel since C.J. Mahaney spoke at the 2005 event in England. Lo and behold, T4G begins within less than a year in the United States. Coincidence? We think not! It appears to be a mere duplication.

    But why “T4G”? Have you ever heard of TAG? It’s amazing to me how much a 4 looks like an A if you glance at it quickly. Long-timers in Sovereign Grace Ministries would surely recognize TAG. This label predates the “People of Destiny” era. When Larry Tomczak and C.J. Mahaney were getting their organization off the ground, they came up with a catchy phrase – Take and Give (TAG) – that described what they were trying to do as a ministry. Tomczak and Mahaney trained their followers who were then to “take” the Gospel and “give” it out to others.

    The “T” in TAG represents the word “Together” and the “G” has to stand for “Gospel”. That leaves the middle letter of TAG… What to substitute for the “A”?

    T4G was a clever idea to be sure, but when I think of the number “4” I immediately remember the many times my pastor described exclusivity in his sermons as “Four and No More…”

    Well, that’s what we have here – four exclusive friends who share center stage with other reformed speakers.”

    And here’s another post that might be of interest:

    Together on a Mission or Together for the Gospel

    There really is nothing new under the sun…

  23. Victorious

    Some of these guys have changed the meaning of servant leader. I used to think meant to be like Jesus who washed the feet of his disciples. Instead, the new servant leader is the “man in charge” and the wife is relegated to working in the nursery at church with little input into the life of the church (no-taking care of infants is not separate but equal). These guys are changing the meanings of things that I hold dear.

  24. Only 10% of the women are attending because the rest of these mens wives are at home, taking care of the brood, hearth & home with nary a whine or complaint – because, after all, it is taught in those circles that a woman taking time for herself to get away (even with her husband) would be SELFISH and wrong.

    Trust me, I know this. I lived it for awhile. And it was the very reason I became nearly suicidally depressed. :(

  25. True Words:

    I do not know how women survive in this type of heavilly restricted environment. You pointed out that you became suicidally depressed. How many other women are facing the same situation you did?

  26. When it comes to the wrong teaching about comp doctrine, here is an excellent blog post about it:

    http://jamaljivanjee.com/category/book-reviews/whats-with-paul-women-by-jon-zens/

    the comments are so interesting. So many take the metaphorical teaching of Eph 5 way too far. As the blog host asks: Is the wife to “worship” the husband as we are to worship Christ as the Body? The metaphor is wrongly taught as:

    Husband-Christ

    Wife-Church

    they deny this but it is the only logical outcome of how they teach this passage.

  27. I’d love to tell my story one day :) if I ever got the guts to go there again. It’s safe to say there are TONS of moms in the same situation I found myself in. Many, if not most of them won’t even admit they are struggling, or even depressed (because it’s often spouted “you’re too BLESSED to be depressed!” in these circles) If you are strong enough to admit you’re weak – then well, you’re sinful and selfish and just plain unworthy to these folks.

    Sadly, most of my pain was brought upon myself. I was the one who led our family into the pits of patriarchy because I thought it was what “good homeschooling families” do. I fell for it hook, line & sinker for a few years. Then my reality came crashing around me.

    Thankfully I had a husband who never believed in the bullarky to start with – he just tolerated it too, to be the “good leader” everyone told him he had to be. We both came to the realization at the same time that this was very much a cult and we needed to get OUT.

    The sad part of my story is that we may never, ever trust “church” again. But that’s a whole different story in itself. Thankfully God is bigger than my trust issues and loves me and has redeemed me just the same (take that Calvinista crowd! I come from a long-line of wretched people who they would be quick to call as apart from God, thus lumping me into the whole lot)

    Anyhow, didn’t mean to get off on a rabbit trail but I wanted to answer your question.

  28. I hve always been uncomfortable with the term “servant-leader” since I know how it was used in megas back in the early 90′s to communicate a more benevolent dictatorship. The “servant” part was used to fool most people and it did.

    A very interesting study is to analyze the word used as “leader” in places like Hebrews. In Greek, it is more of “someone who has gone before or stood before” such as brokenness, persecution, sanctification. These folks will look more like losers for Christ with calloused knees than the average celebrity or celebrity wannabe pastor these days.

    Read with our Western eyes that view leadership as more like the Greek chain of being or the Romanish military structure, (Jesus referred to this as the Gentile system) we totally miss the true meaning. It is best not to use it at all. It would take away the glam, though, to only be referred to as a “servant”. And it is not at all what most of these guys are, anyway.

  29. to True Word:

    I will pray for you. Reading your comments make me cry. My sister and her daughters have bought into that submissive crap too. And the daughters are miserable. Beating themselves up all the time thinking they are not good enough _____ (wifes, christians, you put in the word).

    My sister is fighting cancer (stage 4) AND trying to be a “good christian wife”. It is wearing her out. Once in awhile she will speak out but…. Your comments so touched me.

    I promise I will pray for you.

  30. True Words,

    I homeschooled my daughters for four years before all the patriarchy crap started being promoted. I attended the NC homeschooling conference in 1998 and the keynote speaker was none other than Doug Phillips. He was inspirational at the time, but then he launched Vision Forum that same year. Thankfully, my daughters started attending a Christian school in the fall of 1999 and later graduated from that same school. I feel like I was providentially rescued from the cultish aspects of homeschooling, so I know exactly what you’re describing.

    We have written quite extensively on Doug Phillips, Quiverfull, etc. Perhaps next week we’ll write a post on the new movie Monumental, which is steeped in dominionism. So much to cover, so little time…

    Thanks for sharing your testimony. I’m sure you’ve ministered to many wives and mothers who are reading here.

    God bless you!

  31. Amy
    They believe that they will change society with their take on keeping women silent in churches. Can you imagine how many women will go to a church like Tim Challies’ that does not allow women to even read the Bible out loud in a service? This group is kind of like AMWAY. They will bottom feed and then run out of women who will sit back an shut up. Also, as word gets out on their lackluster approach to sexual abuse and domestic violence, they will offend even more people. That is why they want to shut up bloggers like us. We let people know the deal before they get caught up in the lunacy.

  32. Thank you for kind words :) A few years ago, when I came out of that nonsense I was *very* vocal against Doug Phillips and wrote about it quite extensively on my now-defunct blog. Sallie & Karen remember me & my writings from that time, and are in fact the ones who led me here to you ladies!

    I took a few years off blogging and writing about Doug Phillips et al just because it exhausted the **** out of me. Now I just blog simply with the pictures you see over at my True Words blog. I do love to read blogs like this one and comment because in my heart of hearts I never, ever want to see another homeschool family or any family go down that road again.

    I haven’t attended the NCHE homeschool convention in years because it has become so besotted with patriarchy, even subtly. This past month NCHE sent out an email and note on Facebook asking for MALE TEENS to volunteer to watch the doors at the book fair because “men/boys were more respected and feared” or some junk like that!!!! Ugh!

    One day I’ll write my story and let y’all share it. It is FULL of church-abuse, patriarchy nonsense, and so on. I did share it long ago, and it was hard to do, but very healing. I almost hate to talk/write about it anymore because I get SO EMBARASSED by it. That I fell for it. That I allowed my family to succumb to it. That we even “went there!” It is horrible to look back and see the years that my marriage lost and my kids lost because of evil being portrayed as truth.

  33. True Words,

    Guess who will be speaking at the NCHE conference next month…

    VODDIE BAUCHAM

    Lord, help today’s homeschooling families to have discernment! Those who are planning this year’s conference certainly don’t have it! :-(

  34. True Words,

    If you ever want to get together, let me know. I’d like to treat you to lunch, and I’d love to do some shopping at the new Tanger Outlets in Mebane. My daughters and I were there last week. I’d love to hear your story first hand and be an encouragement to you!

  35. True Words,

    It’s about the same distance for me but from a different direction. I think it’s a half-way point between where we live.

    Check your schedule and let me know when you’re available! I’m sure Dee will want to come.

  36. True Words -

    Thanks for sharing a bit of your story. I, too, would like to see your story written up on a post. You never know who might read it and have their eyes opened. I also totally understand if you don’t want to go down that road again now, or ever! God is ever faithful . . .

    BTW – I love your pictures. They remind me of the Midwest. Thanks for posting them :)

  37. Deb and Dee -

    Dee – Were you able to open the files I sent you about the whole “young men” issue? If Deb is planning to write about that issue she might be interested in what Mahaney had to say about “young men” being pastors. After all, his thinking was so full of “biblical” wisdom.

  38. This may be a bit of a rabbit trail, but I think it might help explain some of the mindset leading to the problematic thinking in today’s Calvinista crowd:

    http://frted.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/free-will-2/

    Basically, Fr Ted has been doing a series on a couple of books exploring the human brain (mind, soul, self-awareness, and so on). These are not from a Christian perspective, per se. Today, he looks into the question of Free Will. There is a sense in which humans, having the idea of “free will” ensures our continuance as a species. By NOT having free will, (quote):

    “Vohs and Schooler suggested that disbelief in free will produces a subtle cue that exerting effort is futile, thus granting permission not to bother. People prefer not to bother, because bothering, in the form of self-control, requires exertion and depletes energy. Further investigation along these lines by Florida State University social psychologists Roy Baumeister, E. J. Masicampo, and C. Nathan DeWall found that reading deterministic passages increased tendencies of the people they studied to act aggressively and to be less helpful toward others. They suggest that a belief in free will may be crucial for motivating people to control their automatic impulses to act selfishly, and a significant amount of self-control and mental energy is required to override selfish impulses and to restrain aggressive impulses. The mental state supporting the idea of voluntary actions had an effect on the subsequent action decision. It seems that not only do we believe we control our actions, but it is good for everyone to believe it.” (Gazzaniga, Kindle Loc. 1831-40)”

    Okay. So reading this as a Believer, I am struck by this: by exercising my ability to form choices informed by Christ’s teachings and His example, I want to over-ride my fallen nature and to help people; to submit myself to the will of the Father, and to be holy as He is holy. Whereas, in Calvinista teaching, it’s not so much submission to God, as submission to the doctrines which begin with “total depravity” and rely upon “election”…the idea that I do not have “free will” but exactly the opposite: that a Sovereign God has already determined not only all my life choices, but my eternal salvation. Anything and everything I do is already decided and cannot be changed. Therefore, I am either blessed or damned accordingly.

    So why bother???

  39. The age disparity is huge in churches that believe this. When I look at my brother’s church, half of the people there went to college with us and all are under 35 (I’ve only been a few times, so I might have missed any older people who show up, other than my Mom). I think it is because young people lack experience of life (all the ups and downs), that the Calvinistas are able to sway them. Young people tend to be more idealistic and these churches are using that to advance their theology. I’m interested to hear what other people think on this matter.

    As for the role of women in churches (and the world) – after a discussion under a previous article, I started looking around the internet for more on women’s role in Christianity and found something fascinating:

    “The biblical description in the Book of Genesis outlines the truth about the consequences of man’s sin, as it is shown by the disturbance of that original relationship between man and woman which corresponds to their individual dignity as persons. A human being, whether male or female, is a person, and therefore, “the only creature on earth which God willed for its own sake”; and at the same time this unique and unrepeatable creature “cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of self”. Here begins the relationship of “communion” in which the “unity of the two” and the personal dignity of both man and woman find expression. Therefore when we read in the biblical description the words addressed to the woman: “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen 3:16), we discover a break and a constant threat precisely in regard to this “unity of the two” which corresponds to the dignity of the image and likeness of God in both of them. But this threat is more serious for the woman, since domination takes the place of “being a sincere gift” and therefore living “for” the other: “he shall rule over you”. This “domination” indicates the disturbance and loss of the stability of that fundamental equality which the man and the woman possess in the “unity of the two”: and this is especially to the disadvantage of the woman, whereas only the equality resulting from their dignity as persons can give to their mutual relationship the character of an authentic “communio personarum”. While the violation of this equality, which is both a gift and a right deriving from God the Creator, involves an element to the disadvantage of the woman, at the same time it also diminishes the true dignity of the man.” – Pope John Paul II in a letter titled Dignity of Women, 1988

    Did you catch that? A man seeking to rule over women diminishes his own dignity as well as hers! What the Calvinistas are doing is reducing their own dignity!

    I also found this quote from the Second Vatican Council (1960s):
    “The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women imbued with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling”.

    The hour has come for women to hold more influence in the world than ever before – I like this much better than what the Calvinistas are teaching!

    Happy Easter, everyone!

  40. Suz,

    Thanks for sharing that! It’s just a matter of time before the Calvinistas are history. That day is definitely coming…

    In the meantime, let’s work together to advance God’s kingdom through the methods He has ordained, like the internet. :-)

    We have another Easter worship experience ready to go for next weekend. I really wish we could go ahead and post it because it’s so uplifting from the music to Wade Burleson’s sermon. As far as I’m concerned, it’s Easter 24/7 here at TWW. Christ is risen!

  41. This whole “complementarianism” thingie has always struck me as more than a bit silly. Think about it: it’s perfectly fine for those dreaded witchy women to teach Sunday school to male yoots while they’re still in the larval stage, but at some magical point of adolescence–perhaps when their voices change, or they’re sneaking Luckies out back behind the ballfield dugout–it’s suddenly wrong to teach them.

    I’ll bet the Calvinistas would dearly love to know exactly what that magical set point is; it would make things so much easier for them to get their pointy little skulls around.

  42. Anon 1 and Deb -

    I was reading on that blog this weekend as well! Some good conversations going on.

  43. I laugh now, but at the time it was horrific:

    We had gotten one of these bully preachers. He was quite vociferous in supporting the SBC trouncing of the TNIV over gender accurate language. He strongly supported the use of the generic male.

    So, after church one Sunday, I raised the issue that if we followed his logic, that wherever the male was used, it really meant male and female.

    Which would open up the pastorate to women.

    Ever see spit fly from a red face that only a few minutes before was preaching the gospel?

    Still, logically, his logic failed him.

  44. Speaking of the predominant age range of the Calvinistas, it should come as no surprise that Trevin Wax just tweeted this:

    “Mark Dever showing the age breakdown of the attendees at #T4G. Vast majority of the 8K in attendance are in their 20s and 30s.”

    And here’s what the 8,000 attendees look like – T4G Attendees

    Let’s see… around 7,000 attended T4G in 2010, and two years later they are in a much larger venue. It’s pretty obvious that somebody’s not recruiting…

    Look at it this way – if each one would reach one (and bring them to T4G) there could have been 14,000 people there! That speaks volumes to me…

  45. Deb:

    I often wonder how many of these men are going to horribly mess up other people’s lives and also have their lives fall apart when this mess they believe and preach does not work for them and others.

  46. Mot,

    Can you imagine all these guys going out to plant churches and trying to support their wives and growing brood? IMHO, the vast majority of committed Christians are not buying what they’re selling.

    Watch out for the train wreck a few years down the road…

  47. Deb:

    I think the power or potential power intoxicates these young guys. Also IMHO these guys have all book knowledge and little to no real world experience and they are just going to mess others and themselves up.

  48. Misnomer alert: many (if not most) uses of the word “pastor”, especially when preceded by “head” or “executive”.

  49. Anon 1 wrote:

    “Read with our Western eyes that view leadership as more like the Greek chain of being or the Romanish military structure, (Jesus referred to this as the Gentile system) we totally miss the true meaning. It is best not to use it at all. It would take away the glam, though, to only be referred to as a “servant”. And it is not at all what most of these guys are, anyway.”

    My life requires much, much more servanthood of me than I ever expected it would. My severely autistic son requires constant care, and will need that same level of care throughout his life – or maybe more, as he becomes more aggressive. I have had to lay down all expectation of ever doing what I thought I would do with my life when I was in my twenties.

    Much of what I need to do now does fall within traditional female gender roles, but whenever I hear or read complementarian reasoning for what I already have to do, it makes me chafe. I am struggling with being a decent housekeeper and being a good mom, and everything about complementarian theology makes it ten times worse.

    What Anon 1 wrote above makes me think of two servants who give me courage: Henri Nouwen, who left his prestigious career in theology and academia to take care of Adam, a young man with severe disabilities; and Brother Lawrence, who wrote:

    “Possessed thus entirely with the greatness and the majesty of this infinite Being, I went straightaway to the place that duty had marked out for me – the kitchen.”

    I yelped with laughter when I read that, and then I cried a little.

    These men (MEN!) have shown me that the way of Jesus is indeed servanthood laid bare. We can’t hyphenate it with anything else to make it more palatable.

    Now I need to go wipe a bum…

  50. It is pretty incredible that you have these four guys teaching T4G attendees:

    Al Mohler, who is not a pastor – granted he lectures in churches from time to time

    Mark Dever, whose congregation is likely less that 1,000 members (and he’s been the pastor of CHBC for how long?)

    C.J. Mahaney, who has been such a failure as a leader of Sovereign Grace Ministries that he has left the church where he pastored for 27 years and is attempting to relocate SGM to Kentucky (where is the Ambassadors of Reconciliation report?!)

    Ligon Duncan, whose PCA brothers do not attend this event as far as I can tell.

  51. I have never been to Together for the Gospel, but my pastor goes and really enjoys it.

    I believe it is appropriate for these 4 to call their meeting “Together for the Gospel” because, as I understand it, they come together to proclaim the Gospel – that Christ came and died for our sins according to the scripture and that he was raised from the dead (I think that’s the definition of Gospel in I Cor 15).

    At any rate, my understanding is that is the focus of the meeting.

    The fact that these guys have other shared convictions, some of which I agree with and some of which I don’t, is really no big deal. They are there to talk about the Gospel.

    If a group of Methodists or Charismatics met and had a meeting about the Gospel, and they affirmed I Cor 15, they would be affirming the Gospel, even though they hold other distinctives that I would not agree with.

    I would agree that they met about the Gospel, even though they also may have discussed the particulars that they share.

    Things would have to go a lot further for me to say that this group or that was not believing or affirming the Gospel or gathering together for its proclamation.

  52. “Things would have to go a lot further for me to say that this group or that was not believing or affirming the Gospel or gathering together for its proclamation.”

    CJ Mahaney and those leaders of T4G who protected and affirmed this “Apostle” of the “People of Destiny” which is now SGM. We think. Does SGM still exist?

    Just how much cult shepherding poison are you willing to take with your “Gospel”?

  53. My dearest Rene, My prayers are for you now. And remember, there are some REAL men out there. Like the ones you mentioned. As my dad used to say, Real leaders don’t have to tell you they are leaders.

  54. I got it — my favorite misnomer of the hour:

    “As your pastor, I have asked you…. to come in to meet,…motivated by a desire to care for you and your family.”

    (I’ll never get over this one — still

    Can anyone spot the scathing misnomer?

  55. Anonymous,

    I believe you totally missed the point. These guys have a very specific definition of “the Gospel”. Many Christians are excluded by the paramenters they set. The next litmus test to be added is Young Earth Creationism. If you don’t embrace their specific way of looking at the creation, your faith may not be genuine. So many are excluded like Wade Burleson, who disagrees with complementarianism.

    Hope your pastor has a great time. How old is he (ballpark estimate), by the way?

  56. Mark Dever, whose congregation is likely less that 1,000 members (and he’s been the pastor of CHBC for how long?)

    Sorry. But this is a plus in my book. I’ve come to the strong conviction that churches need to stay below 500 or so members to avoid many of the ills this blog describes. If they grow bigger they need to split.

  57. Another scathingly glaring misnomer:

    “We desire to love and see you … restored within the body. I speak these words in love with prayer for your restoration. I need confirmation by Wednesday…”

    While restored and restoration are highly dubious, I take issue with the word “love”. If this is tough love, it’s been weirdly redefined a la youthful arrogance and ignorance. Among other things.

  58. Mot you wrote to
    Deb:

    “I often wonder how many of these men are going to horribly mess up other people’s lives and also have their lives fall apart when this mess they believe and preach does not work for them and others.”

    I would say more than you could ever know! These attendees return from these events rabid. I have encountered many people after these conferences and they are obnoxious to be around. Some are down right abusive and they like to talk with you about Jesus but spin all the comments toward you as an accusation of whether you are saved or not. If you aren’t at one of their conferences, you may or may not be saved.

    Notice it is 20′s and 30′s in attendance. Age finally knocks some of this nonsense out of some people plus, the elderly are useless to these people. Remember Mark Driscoll and C.J you will be old, old men one day and who knows if you will have an audience then. What will you do when you are no longer relevant. What will you do when you are pushed aside because you are too old?

  59. Deb:

    My pastor is just shy of 50.

    I hear what you are saying. But I frankly don’t get that from these guys. I get that they are convictional about a lot of things.

    But Dever (or it may have been Mohler) who preached a sermon on the difference between the Gospel and implications of the Gospel. And that it is really important not to confuse the Gospel with what we may recognize to be implications of the Gospel.

    On the gender issue, for example, I don’t believe that these guys preach or believe that what a person believes about that affects the Gospel or whether a person is saved. I really can’t find that in their teaching, though I agree they think it is important.

    And on the Young Earth stuff, which you know that I do not agree with, I have heard Mohler himself say that is an area where Christians can disagree and still work with one another.

    I really do get your point – that these guys are making these issues bigger than they should be.

    But I cannot find where they get the Gospel wrong or confuse the Gospel with these other issues.

  60. Anon1:

    You know my weak spot!

    I do not care for Mahaney and have said so many times. I wish he were not part of this group. I would have to say that his inclusion on the panel and being 1 of the 4 is a HUGE problem for me.

    But – that issue, also, is not about the definition of the Gospel.

    I can remember reading John R. Rice, an old fundamentalist of almost 2 generations ago, being critical of Billy Graham for having know neoorthodox leaders participate in his crusades. People asked Rice, “well didn’t Jesus tell the disciples that they should not get upset if others were healing and casting out demons” and if that were true, shouldn’t Rice rejoice that people were coming to Christ even if Graham were not being careful in his associations.

    Rice responded, “I would be pleased to see Graham heal people and cast out demons rather than having them sit on the platform and lead in prayer.”

    I guess that might apply here for rhetorical purposes.

    So, while I don’t appreciate Mahaney’s presence in all of this at all, I do believe that these guys are being faithful to the Gospel. I have not seen that they do not get that wrong.

  61. My in-laws were raised Lutheran and RCA and were both baptized as infants. They are founding members of a RCA church and have been in that congregation for 40+ years.

    A few years back the church was in a state of upheaval and the preaching was weak. They started attending a Baptist church in the evening because they really appreciated the preaching and teaching by the pastor. They were told that in order to become members of the Baptist church they would have to be baptized by immersion. Even though they had already been baptized and believed their baptisms were valid, they would have to be baptized again.

    As someone who grew up Baptist, this gave me much pause for thought. Here are two people who have followed Christ and served the church faithfully for decades. Yet they were told they could not become members of a congregation because their baptisms were invalid and not done “correctly.” In order to become members, they would have to deny their previous baptisms and violate their conscience.

    Ever since then, I have thought much about Gospel Plus – the Gospel + any secondary matter that determine whether you may be in fellowship with other believers.

    T4G may not formally say they practice Gospel Plus, but the reality is that they do. They have selected a set of parameters that must be met to be a part of their group. Baptism, interestingly enough, is not one of them. But complementarianism is. They are willing to not fellowship with other believers over this teaching.

    Anyone who doesn’t realize how profound this is… think about the denominational squabbles of the past hundred years and then contemplate that for T4G complementarianism is considered more important than any of the other secondary matters that have divided believers. It is a core principle of their organization.

    And I’d bet the farm that they will only get more hardlined on this issue in the years to come.

  62. Anonymous

    I might have a tendency to disagree with you about their definition of the Gospel. When YE and comp is showing up in the basic set of beliefs, then it runs far deeper than a secondary disagreement. They will not allow you to join their groups unless you adhere to comp doctrine. You must sign on the dotted line that you are in alignment with their standards.And since they are Together for the Gospel- this means that the Gospel somehow encompasses this belief. If you do not sign, you cannot join.

    Last week, Kaelee went to a reconciliation meeting at Mars Hill. Now, you understand that this was supposed to be about her poor treatment at the hands of leaders. So, when she listed why she disagreed with them, she happen to mention their issues with severe complementarianism (women gullible and easily deceived statements, etc) They could not contain themselves and the pastor made a big flaming deal why he is the leader in his family. They can’t let it go even when there is a deeper issue.

    So, I say it runs far deeper than a secondary doctrine. As for Mohler, he is not as willing to work with OE as you may think but that is a topic for another day.

  63. Deb – I think your use of “gullible” is absolutely on target. I know that I was pretty gullible when I was young (and relatively new in faith).

    As for age divides, I’ve seen that in quite a few independent churches and denoms (like SGM and the churches I used to attend). There’s barely a grey hair to be seen… and there’s such a HUGE emphasis on family and child-bearing that all who are single (older, not kids), widowed or divorced get lost in the shuffle, if not outright ignored.

    It hurts. I used to feel a great deal of pain because it seemed like I was a 2nd-class citizen (not being married, and not having kids), and I know others who feel (or felt) pretty much the same.

    Someone once tried to make me feel better by telling me that I could have “spiritual” children. He meant well (he was a fellow church musician and a friend), but hearing that made me want to burst into tears on the spot. (He is married and had one child at the time.)

    *

    Lynne – great post!

    *

    I never thought about some of the fun misnomers that were placed at the end of this post…! : )

  64. About the use of the word “grace” by calvinistas (and actual Calvinists): it boggles my mind, because it means something SO different than anything I have heard in (dare I say it?) what I consider to be more stable churches – historically and theologically stable, that is.

    While I don’t agree with everything in Lutheran and Anglican theology (speaking in huge generalities here!), I think the emphasis on grace – or perhaps I should say interpretation of grace – is very freeing, since they emphasize God’s love for us. (And atonement is viewed as something that the Second Person of the Trinity did freely, out of love for us – ditto, of course, becoming incarnate.) There is not much emphasis on “penal substitution,” which is such a big thing in calvinista and Calvinist circles.

    When I 1st heard that friends of mine were now in a church association called “sovereign grace,” I though – OK, they’re going to get some things settled now and head in a better direction.

    I was SO wrong about that! Those words mean one thing to me; quite another to Piper et. al.

    Which is very sad, really.

  65. Sallie,

    “And I’d bet the farm that they will only get more hardlined on this issue in the years to come.”

    I agree. Considering Wayne Grudem’s statements, there is no other alternative:

    “I am surprised that this controversy has gone on so long. …I expected the entire church would be persuaded, the battle for the purity of the church would be won, and egalitarian advocates would be marginalized and have no significant influence. But it has not completely happened yet!

    I still believe it will happen. …But on this issue Christ’s purification process is taking much longer than I expected!

    The issue of manhood and womanhood has become one of the focal points of a much larger controversy over whether the Bible will reign supreme over cultural pressures ……In the near future, I expect that this controversy increasingly will become the focal point of the larger realignment in the entire evangelical world between those for whom the Bible is still the ultimate authority and those for whom it is not.”

    (from “Personal Reflections on the History of CBMW and the State of the Gender Debate”, mentioned in TWW 3-16-2012 post)

  66. Sallie – I’ve been through the whole “You need to be baptized again (for real” thing, too, years ago.

    I already knew that there’s stuff in liturgical churches (like the Lutheran synod I was raised in) where an adult can renew the baptismal vows and promises that were taken in their stead when they were infants, and I truly wanted to hang onto that (seems valid to me!), but… I was 18 and got some pretty heavy pressure the get in the pool.

    Overall, I wish I hadn’t done it, but I also figure that God knows what’s what.

  67. Anonymous
    Thanks to elastigirl for reminding me of this quote by Wayne Grudem.
    “I am surprised that this controversy has gone on so long. …I expected the entire church would be persuaded, the battle for the purity of the church would be won, and egalitarian advocates would be marginalized and have no significant influence. But it has not completely happened yet!

    I still believe it will happen. …But on this issue Christ’s purification process is taking much longer than I expected!

    The issue of manhood and womanhood has become one of the focal points of a much larger controversy over whether the Bible will reign supreme over cultural pressures ……In the near future, I expect that this controversy increasingly will become the focal point of the larger realignment in the entire evangelical world between those for whom the Bible is still the ultimate authority and those for whom it is not.”

    (from “Personal Reflections on the History of CBMW and the State of the Gender Debate”, mentioned in TWW 3-16-2012 post)

  68. Did the video clips remind anyone of the Brady Bunch show opener? Or possibly Hollywood Squares?

  69. “I would say more than you could ever know! These attendees return from these events rabid. I have encountered many people after these conferences and they are obnoxious to be around. Some are down right abusive and they like to talk with you about Jesus but spin all the comments toward you as an accusation of whether you are saved or not. If you aren’t at one of their conferences, you may or may not be saved.”

    Been reading along, but I just want to comment here. Robin, I know this is not your full intention, but I get this feeling that this discussion is starting to dangerously flirt with this idea that those who attend this conference will be as you said above. It may be your experience that you have met many who act like this, and I am saddened by that, but I also know many who are attending and would like to attend this conference who are not anywhere near the sort.

    In fact, I know a pastor in his 20′s who is attending this event. He is not “rabid, arrogant, or obnoxious.” He is not in a church plant, rather, he is an a rather old church that has been around for a hundred years or so. He DOES care about the Elderly, as many in his church are Elderly, and he serves them well. (Shocker, I know, from such a young man).

    I know you are not implying that ALL who attend this conference act this way (At least I certainly hope you are not when you refer to “these people”) but I find, once again on this blog, that it is rather easy to label the T4G conference and attendees in a negative light, when there are shades of beauty within it.

    NOT ALL T4G attendees are like Driscoll, Mahaney, etc, etc…..and just for a consideration….I know MANY obnoxious people from ALL sorts of backgrounds who are Pastors, Laymen and Women, etc, etc who have nothing to do with this conference.

    I just don’t buy into this whole argument that this conference will “corrupt” these “young naive” Pastors into running their churches into the ground and causing turmoil for years to come! Has this happened? Yes, but it has also happened in MANY other contexts not even relating to the Calvinista crowd for thousands of years. Could it also be that many of these Pastors who attend this event will honor God in the ministires that he has called them too? Could it be that people are attending these conferences because they love Jesus, they love the Gospel, and they want to join with others to worship/celebrate this Good News?

    “Notice it is 20′s and 30′s in attendance. Age finally knocks some of this nonsense out of some people plus, the elderly are useless to these people.”

    Sorry. No Disrespect, but this comment really bothers me. Just because there are churches that have Pastors who are in their 20′s and 30′s does not MEAN that they find the Elderly to be useless. I know many young people can be like this, but there are many who are not. And another thought: Old age does not necessarily make you wise! I know many old pastors who are just as foolish (if not more) then the many young pastors that I know.

    It is not age that entirely counts here in my opinion, but Spiritual Maturity and the fruit we bear through obeying Christ. Yes, the latter flourishes with age (as with anything with experience), but I believe one can gain maturity and fruit in their 20′s and 30′s as well.

    Anonymous said,

    “So, while I don’t appreciate Mahaney’s presence in all of this at all, I do believe that these guys are being faithful to the Gospel. I have not seen that they do not get that wrong.”

    Thank you! As I looked at those who would be leading T4G, I was not familiar with all the names. But those I am familiar with, I can attest, will NOT confuse the GOSPEL with these issues.

    Dee and Deb, did you notice David Platt, (The Calvinista you could grow to love) is leading a session at this event?

    He adheres to a comp viewpoint, but I don’t think he measures this as the Gospel, although he DOES consider this important. Nor do I think he teaches this comp viewpoint to abuse women. I think he is a man who sincerely loves the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and he passionately wants us to spread this Good News among the nations. I am encouraged to see him in the lineup there and I am encouraged to see that his message is on missions. Maybe he can bring some perspective to these 8,000 pastors on what Missions are all about, as he has walked this path himself. I see some value in T4G.

    I think Platt lands on a Comp doctrine—finds this doctrine to be important—-follows this doctrine in his family and he teaches this doctrine in the Brook Hills as well—I just think you and others are mistaken if you believe he teaches this as “gospel” as in the Good News of Jesus Christ that saves us. I think Matt Chandler is in the same boat as this.

    They emphasize this as important–they teach this as important—because they see divorce, men not supporting/loving their wives….wives not supporting/loving their husbands as a constant reality in our culture.(Especially in our churches) THEY believe (by their interpretation of scripture) that men should lead as Elders and Deacons and they teach their interpretation of this as they teach other interpretations of scripture.

    I don’t know all the T4G speakers, but I think in the case of Chandler and Platt they don’t teach this to abuse or “keep women down”…..I think they, in their hearts, are trying to be reliable to the scripture that God has called them to teach…(although their interpretation may or may not be right)..

    I say all that to say this. They find the above to be important, but I have never heard them declare this as “GOSPEL”. Important? Yes. GOSPEL? No. I know you “disagree about their definition of Gospel”….but Platt and Chandler has made their definition pretty clear to me..and I don’t see Comp viewpoint anywhere in their definition. (And for the record, I don’t see Platt taking the Comp viewpoint to the extreme as Grudem and others, but I could be wrong).

    Not saying you disagree with this, but IMHO, I see a lot of GOOD fruit that will come from this conference, although I DO see some bad apples in the bunch. Just don’t throw out the good with the bad.

    Happy Easter By the Way! I hope everyone had a joyous day of worship this past Resurrection Sunday!

  70. Sallie:

    That is a great story.

    But that is true for all denominations. There are some doctrines that one must agree to follow that are not part of the Gospel, but they are important enough to that group to make it a requirement before joining.

    That is true for Catholics, Lutherans, and almost every denomination or non-denominational church that I know of.

    I think that the balance is being able to recognize that these things are not core to the Gospel (e.g. Baptists believe in the Priesthood of the believer – it is not part of the Gospel), but that they are important in varying degrees to people. For example, some people would never affirm the idea of elders and want a more democratic polity and that would be VERY important to them.

    So we recognize that these things are not part of the Gospel, but that they important to people.

    They just should not be so important that we lose all perspective.

    How to maintain a doctrine that is not part of the Gospel but is important, and maintain it in a loving spirit without compromising on what one believes about truth is a challenge.

    I am not sure any of us ever really get there.

  71. The gospel audience will have the great gospel privilege of hearing gospel pastor C.J. Mahaney give his gospel message, “When A (Gospel) Pastor Loses Heart.” I’m sure the gospel gospel will come through gospelly clear and all will have a gospel experience.

    It’s like the over-use of “Nazi” to label everyone one doesn’t like. The word gets so watered-down that it loses its meaning.

    On a separate subject: Nostalgia is not what it used to be.

  72. Whoever posted the quote from Grudem – that is priceless!

    I may agree with Grudem on the theological issue, but I do not share his irrational exuberance about people embracing his view.

    Who can tell where the church will go?

    The gender issue is the least of my concerns. It’s pretty obvious that there are going to be comp and egal churches into the next millenium. Whatever side one is on, that’s the way it will be and we (including Grudem) are being naive if we believe otherwise.

    There are so many other really important issues affecting the church.

    The nature of scripture is still a huge issue. The role of the church in matters of authority (all along the spectrum of the Catholic view (co-equal or even greater than scripture) to of no consequence) is an important issue.

    And even if we get the nature of scripture and the role of the church straight, there are issues where it seems some segments of Christianity are prepared to wholesale ignore the text. Sexuality is one of those areas. The culture of the first century, the difference between the Jews and NT Christianity on this issue vs. the gentiles could not be further apart. But now we have segments of the church adopting the gentile position essentially.

    The relationship of the Christian to the State, and the usurpation of the Church by the State is a huge issue that will resurface.

    The are bunches of others.

    But one thing is for certain. In the West, there will be churches of every stripe and belief.

    We all had better get used to that.

  73. Anonymous,

    you said,

    “(e.g. Baptists believe in the Priesthood of the believer – it is not part of the Gospel)”

    So, the average person needs a human mediator to be made right with Christ? If I’m misunderstanding you, please clarify.

  74. Fair enough Seeker. I do not mean to imply ALL as in every single one but I am coming from an organization heavily influenced by some of these men and they have done some damage. Some try to imply that the people who don’t seem to agree with them are not submitting to the Gospel but, often these people are actually seeking for some Good News some where in all this. The Good News of the Gospel lasts long enough for you to make that profession of faith and from their it becomes a nightmare. I know because I was part of groups where several people in the “discipleship” group wandered around not sure if they were saved or not because in their theology good news cannot be freely pronounced. I know that you will say that maybe these people needed to be questioning if they were saved or not but at the final analysis, if someone is questioning their salvation isn’t that the opportunity one should use to speak the Gospel i.e. good news of Christ’s salvation for even their sin? Someone anxious about their salvation clearly isn’t happy in his or her sin. They want an advocate yet, in many of these paradigms they don’t hear about an advocate because the group leaders are being the accusers and like to withhold the advocate until they are sure that you are sure that you are really repentant and not fake repentant. AGGHHHHH !!!! It is awful!

    I am sorry that I lumped people into a group that shouldn’t be there but I have met too many people who come from the Piper/Mahaney camp that behave in this manner. I will say that I have found those in the Keller/Carson camp to be quite charitable and I myself have read things by Keller and do not find the Calvinista rabidness in his writings. I see a man who loves Christ because while he is still a sinner Christ loves him. I will try better in the future not to lump everyone in one giant T4G category.

  75. Since as many Calvinists know “all” can’t possibly actually mean “all” (I trust we all know the relevant texts) we must be careful not to consider them “all” being of the same variety. ;-)

  76. That Grudem quote offers enough material for ten posts alone. But the idea that someone doesn’t view the Bible as their ultimate authority if they are not comp… That’s just so wrong and misleading.

    Re: what the pastors are being taught re: men and women at T4G, it does matter. If they embrace and teach ideas like what we see in Grudem’s quote, what will those young pastors think when they discover a couple in their church is egalitarian? According to Grudem, that view is something that needs to be eradicated from the church. So what does the young pastor think of this essentially heretical couple? If this is a doctrine that needs to be eliminated from the church, then that couple either has to change or leave. That’s what is basically being said. There is no room for difference of opinion. So the young pastor either gets them to change their mind or marginalizes them. We’ve already seen stories like that here at TWW.

    I agree with Seeker that spiritual maturity does not necessarily correspond to age. I’ve known spiritually mature believers in their early thirties that I would have zero problem leading a church. And I’ve witnessed childish pastors in their fifties and beyond.

    Anonymous – The problem I have with the denominational dividing line is that I find it very hard to justify from Scripture. It should be that we preach Christ and Him crucified. Maybe it is my advancing years, but I have less patience for things that divide Christians when their salvation doesn’t depend on it.

    By way of another example… We were looking into preschools and there was a Lutheran one in our neighborhood. But when I read about the church, I knew I could never send my daughter there. Why? If we visited the church we would be refused communion. I understand that Lutherans have very specific views about communion. But the idea that they would educate my child and yet refuse me communion even though I am their sister in Christ… I could not accept that.

    Anonymous – The gender issue may be the least of your concerns, but for many women it is of very great concern. While you listed important concerns, the gender issue deals with the very nature of women, who they are in Christ, who they are in the church, etc. I don’t think it gets any more fundamental than that which defines the very existence of over half the church. I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic, but on behalf of all the women in the church with what are traditionally considered male gifts… I had to reply to that comment.

  77. “So, while I don’t appreciate Mahaney’s presence in all of this at all, I do believe that these guys are being faithful to the Gospel. I have not seen that they do not get that wrong.”

    Anonymous, Actually Mohler and Dever were “faithful” to CJ. Mohler released a statement to the SECULAR press right after CJ stepped down and said the bloggers did not like “strong leadership”. Dever took him in at CHBC for “accountability” and CJ was speaking there. Nevermind that SGM pastors had to stay at their own church for “discipline”. He who makes the rules, wins.

    So, is that your definition of “Gospel”? Your guys protected and affirmed wrong doing and evil at SGM. Yes, evil in the Name of Jesus. Now, CJ seems to be moving to Louisville.

    So, I suppose you are going to tell me they did not know about ANY of the bad SGM stuff? As brilliant as they are? They did. They just agree with CJ. That is all and now they are helping to rehab him for public consumption again.

  78. Yes the overuse of the term “gospel” by the Calvinista crowed is definitely a puzzling misnomer. Especially since the “gospel” these guys proclaim is actually probably the worst news imaginable.

    They hide their horrific gospel behind the magic curtain Mahaney likes to call “deep theological waters”. That’s code for: “You are all idiots and far too stupid to understand this stuff that’s why you need me to tell you what to believe.”

    In front of the magic curtain they point to a god of grace, but then hiding behind is none other than Molech, salivating at the prospect of torching his hated offspring for eternity. They actually prefer Molech and would like to spend most of their time exploring the deep miseries therein but people might catch on to that. So they use the god in front of the magic curtain to entice the unsuspecting into their trap and then every so often they pull back the curtain in order to generate some of that “healthy” godly fear. They figured out that healthy godly fear has a beneficial effect on cash flow.

    All of this “Calvinista gospel stuff” has absolutely nothing to do with the actual good news that Jesus proclaimed. The simple message that every man, woman, and child that has ever lived can understand and experience.

    I want to vomit whenever I hear these guys talk about gospel this and gospel that.

  79. Sallie, no risk of sounding overly dramatic on this subject.

    I consider the notion of restricting the exercise of humanity of an entire people group to have wafted up with the toxic fumes of hell itself.

    Seems to smell not at all offensive and apparently quite pleasant to some.

  80. Anonymous,

    It’s inconceivable to me that a believer would minimize the importance of the gender issue in the church. To discount anyone’s problems, pain, and/or injustices as “the least important” shows a lack of empathy and compassion. I hope that those who have daughters will eventually have a greater comprehension of gender inequality when their dreams and aspirations are denied them for no other reason than their physical form.

    I sincerely pray the Lord will give you a greater sensitivity and understanding in this area.

  81. Anon1,

    It is absolutely incredible what Mohler and Dever did. I am so glad you brought that up.

    For those who may have missed the drama that unfolded last summer with Mohler and Duncan publicly defending Mahaney, here’s how we reported it.

    Hoodwinked by Mohler and Mahaney

    We will revisit this topic in tomorrow’s post.

  82. Robin,

    Thanks for your response. I do get where you are coming from. It is tragic to hear that any Pastor would marginilize/abuse someone who was in the place you mentioned, and I have met church leaders over the years who fit that category because of all different reasons, including those who fall in the Piper camp.

    Too many do not practice the same grace and mercy that was bestowed upon themselves to these hurting people…and that is a tragedy.

    In light of that, I can understand your response. I did not think you or anyone on this blog were implying all at the conference were like that, but I felt the conversation about T4G and those that attended was starting to become “all encompassing”. Just wanted to add that there are some good people who go to these events, and give some examples of some that I think are there.

    Thanks again for your gracious response. I sincerely hope more pastors return from this conference with a heart filled with the “GOSPEl” which should compel them to a heart of MERCY and GRACE, rather than return with the kind of careless leadership that you mentioned in your post. I hope they prove to all of us that the GOSPEL was at the forefront of their hearts and discussion. In short, I hope the good far exceeds the bad.

  83. Deb: That is exactly the case. To them, I am a “dinosaur” who is too old and “stuck in the past” to be of any value. And some of this is true.

    I believe that the Bible is the rule of faith and practice for the believer.
    I believe that pastors should be paid a reasonable salary, if their church can afford to do so, and if not, he should work (which would help them identify with those who struggle to pay their bills and deal with the workplace).
    I believe that pastors should be available (counseling, hospital visitations, funerals, etc.).
    I believe that pastors are not always right and that they are fallible and must be willing to apologize when they are wrong.
    I believe that pastors must be servants (that’s what the word means).
    I believe that most pastors who are “full time” are out of touch with their congregations.

    Now I have no problem with young men in the ministry (1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” NKJV). (Notice the emphasis on being an example).

    However, I also believe that elder saints have a place in leadership, as long as they are qualified (Leviticus 19:33, “You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD.” NKJV).

    When I pastored in Oklahoma, we had an elderly couple in the church (both were in their 80′s). Don (the husband) was an electrical engineer and taught at LeTourneau University. He always had a list of questions he would give me every Sunday morning from the previous Sunday’s Bible study (and many of them required me to do some serious research!). We would often just sit and talk about the Word. One afternoon, as we sat at his kitchen table discussing the book of Daniel, he began to cry and said, “I just want to know Jesus more.” As I sat before this 84 year old man, I was so ashamed by his passion to know God and understand His Word. A few years later, I had the privilege of conducting his funeral service. I will never forget him. Here was a man full of wisdom who would be dismissed by most younger men in the ministry today. And yet, my life is certainly richer for having know him and his wife. If I could be half the man he was, I would just be getting started.

    The older saints have a lot to offer, if we will just take the time to listen. But alas, many place their addenda’s ahead of everything else and have no idea what they are missing.

  84. randall slack,

    You sound like a wonderful pastor to me! If only there were more Christian leaders like you and Wade Burleson.

  85. Robin, you have nothing to be sorry for. Those of us who had the misfortune of being in an A29 “church” fully get the undercurrents and know what’s going on. Seeker wants to point out that not every one of the X thousand people in attendance is like that. So what? The point is that the overwhelming majority of them are, and that’s precisely why we’re sounding the alarm.

    Here’s a good analogy. You and I and others here pointing out how far U.S. students are falling behind the rest of the world in math and science scores. Then Seeker comes along and says “Yes, but the kid who lives next door to me is getting A’s in advanced match and science classes.”

  86. Seeker

    “They emphasize this as important–they teach this as important—because they see divorce, men not supporting/loving their wives….wives not supporting/loving their husbands as a constant reality in our culture.(Especially in our churches) THEY believe (by their interpretation of scripture) that men should lead as Elders and Deacons and they teach their interpretation of this as they teach other interpretations of scripture.”

    First of all, I have written a post on how much I appreciate Platt. Chandler I am not so sure of. When he called someone who criticized him a Narcissistic zero, it gave me pause.

    However, I do disagree with the culture comment. Do you truthfully believe that if we keep women out of the role of elder, our culture will improve? How about old Tim Challies who believes that women should not read Scripture out loud in church? Wow, this thought will lead to turning the hearts of men to their families. And, can you imagine a woman who taught a man something about the Bible? The imminent destruction of culture would be upon us.

    And, if woman are not “in authority” over a man (whatever that means-no one can seem to tell me clearly), then men will love their wives and families more. Sorry, this makes absolutely no sense to me. The reason men don’t love their families is a heart issue. The Holy Spirit is not alive and working in them. No amount of restriction on the role of women is going to cause Dad to spend more time with his family.

    Our culture, as a whole is going down the tubes because people are fleeing absolute truth. It has nothing to do with women reading Scripture down the street at First Baptist Church. In fact, if more women felt that the church truly supported them, there may be more women in church learning about Jesus. And that is one way to change culture.

  87. Anonymous
    The gender issue is important for me. When I hear people like Tim Challies telling women that they cannot even read Scripture in church, then things have gone too far. Believe you me, if you were told that you could no longer read Scripture out loud in church, you might suddenly get interested in the issue.

    I have a prediction. If people like Grudem, Mohler, etc. push this issue, you will find more and more people fleeing the church. How many women today do you believe would like to come to church when they are told they are gullible and easily deceived and therefore cannot be in any position of leadership? Especially women who run surgery departments and companies? It will not compute. It is a problem and will cause a problem if churches want to be truly “missional.” Oh yeah, and then be told that they will be subordinate to men for eternity but not to worry their pretty little heads over such matters because the men have their best interests at heart.

  88. Randall, I hear you and I feel for you.

    The age thing is huge these days. But we have to remember, this is THE generation that the world has been waiting for!! These are the enlightened ones that the rest of us have been waiting to arrive on the scene. LOL, what a joke.

    First off, the real problem is that the young hipsters lack real wisdom and experience that only comes with age. They’ve learned it from the textbook (well, some of them have. Many haven’t even done that) but they’ve never spent any time in the lab. But secondly, it’s tragic to see the church embrace the secular belief that youth = greatness and age = worthlessness. But I guess when one is promoting an agenda, one realizes that the older, wise people see right through the agenda, and that’s probably why you wouldn’t want them around.

  89. Alan
    When Seeker comes on and asks about all the people hurt at SGM as discussed on the SGM Survivors sites, then I will listen more carefully to what great guys are attending T4G. Does anyone at T4G ever talk about those in pain in their churches, and how they contributed to it or do all the messages have to do with one or more moaning about their trials as leaders of the flock and how unappreciated they are?

  90. Maybe I’m not a normal woman in her mid-20s. I was raised in a church where the older members of the congregation were an incredibly valuable and cherished group. I am trying to find a new church in my new hometown and I will not go to a church where that is also not the case. I learned so much from the older men and women at my former church. More importantly, they had the strength to love me as somewhat of a social outcast. I am a single, disabled woman and quite frankly young children are not my passion in life right now. The older members of the church were able to accept me as I was and love me. I don’t exactly fit in in a complementarian church. I would like to see churches focus less on gender roles and age and more on simply preaching and living the Gospel. When is the last time anybody attended a church where the “motto”/”slogan” was Matthew 22:37-40?

    On another note, is there a Biblical basis for having only men as elders within the church? I have visited the websites of many churches within my city and I cannot find a single church with a woman on the board of elders.

  91. Alan, I get it that stereotypes aren’t always fair. I just recognize that many men and women intertwined in these organizations cannot be charitable to others. I actually think many WANT to be but, they are afraid because they may then become compromising on these issues that most would consider secondary.

    A perfect example is my best friend and her husband are missionaries in the Middle East. They were at my wedding and she and I were picking out scripture to read. I had a NIV bible and the passage was from Ecclesiastes. I can’t remember the whole passage but it was talking about a cord not being broken. It took me a second to figure out what it was saying (it was talking about two who embrace God cannot be broken) at any rate, Calvinista missionary guy says to me the night before my wedding in all seriousness. “Your problem is that you aren’t using an ESV.” I just stared at him not quite sure what he was talking about. My friend told me in private “don’t listen to him.” But, I am sure that she was in the wrong since she told me her husband might be incorrect. (Sarcasm) See, it is things like this example that happen over and over and over again in these circles. I am left at the end of the day thinking okay clearly the whole lot is being taught this. It is like the Wizard Oz being found out and he still is saying “don’t look at the man behind the curtain.” I keep seeing person after person behind the curtain but, I am told not to pay attention to him or her.

    I do agree with Seeker that not all are like that. He is right. T4G is a random group of men. Therefore, it isn’t fair for me to lump everyone there with the Mahaney’s of the world.

  92. “Just wanted to add that there are some good people who go to these events, and give some examples of some that I think are there.”

    We have a young T4G attendee staying with us now. A friend called and asked us to put him up. He is 23, broke and drove 10 hrs to get here but after the conference fee had no money for hotel. We said of course. And we will feed him well. He is totally besotted by the T4G celebs.

    He is a typical young man who looks to the celebrity leaders for direction and doctrine.

    My biggest concern is keeping my 90 year old step dad away from him. :o) As the young man left this morning he told him to say hi to the pope of the SBC. Poor guy! He was also told that the church would not exist without the women. (My step dad is big on that one and cannot stand the way Mohler treated women at SBTS back in the 90′s). You tell em I said that, he told him. (sigh)

    The poor guy is probably wondering what on earth he got himself into. He is still not back.

  93. RE: david on Tue, Apr 10 2012 at 07:27 pm:

    You pretty much describe where I’m at so far as the Christian faith goes. I no longer subscribe to much of what the Medievals (Calvin & Luther) promulgated, and after a decade of research, I just don’t see it that way anymore. Same with the Augustinian approach, it just has no more resonance for me.

    “…All of this “Calvinista gospel stuff” has absolutely nothing to do with the actual good news that Jesus proclaimed. The simple message that every man, woman, and child that has ever lived can understand and experience…”

    Agreed, and Jesus himself had this to say on the subject:

    “…But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in…”

  94. Anonymous, You should read John Immel’s book, Blight in the Vineyard. He traces the serious logical problems with Reformation theology that go back to Plato and Plutonious and how that thinking is played out today in places like SGM, etc.

    He is saying a lot of what I have thought for a long time. And part of it is that Calvin was political and his “systematic theology” brought some balance out of Reformation chaos: which is nothing but dressed up Authoritarianism masquerading as Christianity.

    http://spiritualtyranny.com/clamping-down/

    You can link to it from the right side of his great blog

  95. elastigirl at 02:52 pm I got it — my favorite misnomer of the hour:
    “As your pastor, I have asked you…. to come in to meet,…motivated by a desire to care for you and your family.”
    (I’ll never get over this one — still)
    Can anyone spot the scathing misnomer?
    ***********
    My favorite as well!

    Also, elastigirl at 03:43 pm
    Another scathingly glaring misnomer:
    “We desire to love and see you … restored within the body. I speak these words in love with prayer for your restoration. I need confirmation by Wednesday…”
    **********
    Don’t forget the threat of excommunication which follows….”Work toward ‘reconciliation’ or you will be removed from fellowship”.
    Daffynition: “Reconciliation”: the process of severing all ties.
    Daffynition: “Care”: Very young up-and-coming pastor ordering old washed-up degifted pastor ‘you vill go to “star chamber” and repent of sin of not accepting my request to discuss your grievances— or else!’

  96. I just can’t figure out for the life if me why any of them want to listen to Mahaney at this point. I suppose that most of the 8k don’t know what he is or what is going on in his little serfdom? Then again, if Mohler and Dever have given the thumbs up on CJ, I guess all is good. The lords have spoken! (Not my Lord by any means.)

  97. Alan,

    Just a quick question……

    How do you know the “overwhelming majority” of T4G attendees are as they have been described on here?

    Do you fully know that? Where is your research? Are you attending this conference yourself and talking with the 8,000 plus people to know their character and hearts? Here is a thought too, many of these guys attending are not necessarily in A29 churches, so that doesn’t apply to everyone involved.

    When you say overwhelming majority, I consider 5,000 or so people as that majority…is this what you consider? How certain are you that thousands are destructive as has been labeled on here? Here is the truth….your not certain. (but if you are, please show me the evidence of your certainty)..you have taken a few bad experiences of pastors you know, apparently an A29 church, and a few bad examples of leaders that are involved at T4G (Mahaney) and lump the “overwhelming majority” with them. Sorry, I am not willing to go there.

    But please, go ahead and label all that you want. Sound the alarm loud and clear for this “overwhelming majority” you find to be so destructive.. (although you might find this alarm to be false for many) I could be mistaken, but here is the thing, if you are wrong…and unless you are certain about this overwhelming majority it is entirely probable you are, then you have just labeled, attacked, and stereotyped the character of thousands of people that you don’t even know.

    Dee,

    First of all,

    I never said I fully agree with everything the comp doctrine teaches. I was simply pointing out THEIR perspective of why they find this doctrine important. I am not sure I agree with everything they say, but I don’t buy that they lump this into their teaching of the gospel.

    I am glad you mentioned Platt in your post before, just wanted to point out that there is some good to this conference….thought you might want to know that since you appreciate one of the speakers on the panel there.

    Finally, I want you to know that I DO care about those who have been spiritually abused in churches. I AM concerned with those who have suffered down this road. I have not felt the need to ask about those who have hurt, because you and Deb do a good job of explaining their plight. I don’t stand against you in this, so please don’t misunderstand my intentions. I have not ever been to the SGM survivor website you mentioned, but when I get a chance I will take a look. If you think I don’t care about this problem, then you are sadly mistaken, and labeling me into a category that I don’t belong. And just because spiritual abuse is not the focus of this conference does not mean that these people who are going, or even all the panel speakers could care less about spiritual abuse or the pain that their church members experience. The topics of messages are on the T4G website, and I noticed some messages about Jesus, Missions, didn’t see any about being Pastors being unappreciated…

  98. CJ Mahaney is preaching on “When a Pastor Loses Heart.”

    What about when people lose heart . . . Mr. M?

  99. “It is the worst type of Christian that uses God’s bride to build their own empire with the name of Jesus. Jesus harshest words were for the religious leaders who exalted themselves through the use of the Church. But the temptations of this world are powerful and even a man anchored in his identity to Christ can slowly have that identity eroded away by the desire for fame, wealth and power. It can turn even the best people into monsters.

    “And to the outsider, the unbeliever, the skeptic it appears grotesque and absurd. It ruins the Church’s credibility and does irreparable harm to the Church’s effectiveness. Church in America has been type cast as judgmental and phony. With it’s huckster televangelists, it’s ridiculous stars like Benny Hinn using the Holy Spirit to knock people over like a frickin Jedi Knight and ultimately by its ineffectual culture. Secular society knows very well that Christians are not powerful agents of Christ’s love, they know that Christians are self righteous, judgmental pricks. And they know that Christians don’t behave any different that the rest of society.

    “And the church’s biggest stars are its biggest problem. They have bastardized the Church’s perceived integrity nearly beyond repair.”

    http://twocleareyes.blogspot.com/2012/04/signs-of-age-to-come.html
    /

  100. Wherez da Gospel?

     ”We have top men working on it now…” 

    “Who?” 

    …Top T4G Men…

    hmmm…

    Indiana Sopy – “Raiders of the Lost Gospel”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6-rQ6Jay6w&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    (Lord’s putin’ all dem glory boyz in onez plaze, huh?)

    Makez it easer fer us kind folk ta pray…  :-)

    Sopy ㋡  
    ___
    Inspirational: Handel’s Messiah – “And the Glory of the Lord”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6yIgN54R7k&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  101. Hello, I just wanted to introduce myself and tell you how much I appreciate your blog. I love the fact that you ladies engage so intelligently with Christianity, something I never felt I could do do when I used to attend church. Actually, in my first two churches I was able to ask questions of the ministers and they’d make a great effort to answer no matter how difficult or complicated the question was. They were churches of traditional denominations. Then I started going to a charismatic/evangelical church. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t ask questions there; it was more that intellectual understanding was so undervalued that even if an answer could be found, no one would think it important to find it. We were taught lots of things that now I look back upon and think ‘Why did I believe that? Where is the justification for that belief?’. It’s been eye-opening to think about things for myself, on my own, without the influence of a church culture telling me what to believe.

    I used to go to a church that taught the ‘covering’ doctrine and also used the G12 system. I don’t know if you know of it but it’s basically a discipleship model, originating with Cesar Castellanos in Colombia, that bears a great deal of similarity to shepherding. It emphasises submission, accountability and the need for a ‘covering’ (curiously enough, Castellanos himself didn’t seem to need a ‘covering’ – he was at the very peak of the pyramid, so I suppose he must be the only human who has Christ Himself as a ‘covering’. No one ever explained that to us). I always felt totally out of place there and knowing that I was supposed to be ‘leading the multitudes’ made me feel so under pressure, so inadequate and miserable. There was no room at my church for any other giftings or forms of evangelism than those that would fit into expanding the G12 system in the manner of my leaders’ choosing.

    I live in the UK where this type of church isn’t common – in fact, some of them that were G12 are no longer G12 – so I feel kind of like a lone voice. If anyone here has ever studied G12 or been involved in G12 I would be interested to hear about it. I’d like to know what you think of the system and whether you think, as I do, that it’s authoritarian and goes againt Biblical principles.

  102. Sophie,

    Welcome to TWW! I am so encouraged by your comment. Although I haven’t heard about G12 I am very familiar with the shepherding movement. Praise God it’s not from personal experience! We will continue to shine the light in dark places. I hope you will continue to comment. :)

  103. Seeker
    When you all pay money to see CJMahaney at these conferences and clap politely or vigorously at his “speech,” you, and others, show that his talk and position mean a heckuvalot more than the people who have been hurt by SGM. Every clap, every nod along, every little laugh at his presentation stings those who have been trying to have their voices heard for a long time. And you best look at the title of his talk. Poor CJ, he is being unfairly persecuted as his books get pushed and he is embraced by the SBC in Louisville. Duncan and Mohler rise to his defense and never ONCE mention the hundreds of testimonies of pain caused by this supposed ministry.

  104. Bridget2
    They listen because he is pushed by the idols of the Calvinsta set. They applaud because they REFUSE to investigate the problems in his ministry. Frankly, if this keeps up, all of them will be morally complicit in the pain expressed by those who have been harmed. Shame on all of them.

  105. Dave AA and elastigirl

    I love the deadline “by Wednesday.” God must have revealed to him the time limit on this stuff. I also love the Calvinista speak “desire to love,” “speak these words in love,”motivated by a desire to care for you.” This is such baloney. Once they attempt this stuff on others, their missional stuff will be flushed down the toilet.

  106. Alan: I believe that euthanasia will become common place in the future, as it is already being practiced in some parts of the world. With more elderly and less young people to support them (Social Security, Health Care) cost/benefit analysis is already being practiced by “medical boards.” In Canada if you are over 55 and need a heart transplant, you are told to go home and put your affairs in order. Soon coming to this country, especially if Obamacare is ruled constitutional. His second term will be even worse. (Sorry to sound political, but it goes along with the topic).

  107. Sopy
    “Top” men. Yep that’s how they see it. Push the programs and ignore the pain – collateral damage and all. The cause is far more important than some abused kid ignored by leadership. What’s one kid when you have a bunch of people who might come and give you money?

  108. Sophie
    Well live and learn. I do not know about G12 but it does sound like the same old warmed over nonsense used to abuse people and protect pastors who are far too big for their britches. You see, only in the church can these men actually get the power and money they crave. They would have been laughed out of most organizations on earth. And way too many Christians want someone to tell them “what to do” so they will be sure that God will be pleased with them. Somehow grace seems too easy so they want more. And boy oh boy, do these men give them more. If you would ever like to write about your experience, we would be most interested.

  109. Anonymous

    First of all, thank you for being willing to transparently share your life with us. Welcome! I believe that people who are disabled are a gift to the church. Such difficulties expose the very real sin in today’s churches that only young, beautiful and disposable income matter and preferably as many males as possible. How many churches do you know that have disabled people in leadership? Oh, we might throw them a bone and let them collect the offering but we would never, ever let them do more.

    As for women as elders, most evangelical churches do not believe women can be in positions of leadership. They can run for President of the United States, they can operate on you, et., but the moment they darken the door of the church, they no longer have anything important to offer unless they are willing to staff the toddler room, lead a Beth Moore study or they have a good voice and can draw them in singing. Frankly, you are stuck, in general, within the evangelical set. So, I have decided to blog. It forces some men to deal with a woman, a fact that drives some of them up the wall.

  110. Anon
    I have become convinced that many of these guys, like Driscoll, would never make it in society.They had to find a group of people who are willing to suspend judgment because they are told that God wants them to follow their pastor. Then they must defend the pastor at all costs because, if they don’t, they will be forced to listen to that voice inside of them that knows something is just plain wrong.

    So, they point their fingers at “the culture” and grow a “them vs us” mentality. This then makes them think they are soldiers for the Lord when all they really are is trying to justify what some mini-despot is doing. They do not understand that the world sees quite clearly what is going on and they are not being rejected for following Christ. They are being rejected for following some pretty bizarre people.

  111. Seeker,
    Don’t waste your time. Many of the people here are only interested in ranting on anyone associated with those who have said questionable things or abused their positions of leadership. While I am sure you and I agree that spiritual abuses DO happen, and must be challenged, I think you and I also agree that the over-generalization and association of people does not serve the cause very well.

  112. Dee,

    Fair enough, but to be honest, if I were going to this conference (and I am not) I would not really care to hear from CJ Mahaney.

    Until I stumbled across this blog, I had no idea who he was. I am sure many who are going to this conference are just like me, but many probably are aware who this man is and what he has done.

    In addition to this, many have never heard of the SGM survivor website, and certainly are not “in the know” that you and Deb are as far as these topics. This is not a good thing, and more should be aware…..The point is, many of these pastors may not be aware that they are supporting what Mahaney and others have done, because they are completely ignorant of the facts of what they have done.

    If I were going to this conference, I would be far more interested to hear the likes of Platt. And I can filter what many pastors say. I am not some naive person who is “startstruck” by the Celebrity Calvinistas…and I can filter the good from the bad.

    Just to reinforce what I said earlier. I support, care, and am concerned about those who are Spiritually Abused. MANY who are attending these conferences are in the same boat.

    (Do you think Platt has no concern for the spiritually abused…he is on the speaking panel…is he saying this?)

    I do not buy into the argument that those who attend this conference are automatically saying they care a “heckuvalot” more for Mahaney and his position rather than the abused. And to say that, once again, is encouraging false stereotypes.

    You don’t have to listen to what I am saying, but just trying to point out that there is some good to this whole conference…

  113. Seeker, how do you know that the majority of people at a game at Yankee Stadium are Yankee fans? Well, it just seems like common sense. Should I simply turn a blind eye to the abuse that I and others have endured at the hands of these “pastors” (and I use that term very loosely when referring to these guys)?
    Are you insinuating that the majority of the people at the conf aren’t fanboys/cheerleaders of A29, Mohler, Mahaney, etc.?

  114. Seeker, your last comment (you didn’t see any topic about “pastors” being underappreciated) reveals to me that you haven’t spent too much time in an A29 “church” or one of its kind. I sense that you simply don’t get the undercurrents that are really at work in these places. So, if that’s correct, then I rejoice for you and pray that you will never become indoctrinated to believe that only the important people in the “church” matter. To believe that anyone over the age of 35 doesn’t really matter. To believe that people only matter if they are drinking the kool-aide and are doing the menial tasks to make the “church” function. To believe that you have to be “on mission” (and a whole host of other buzzwords). etc, etc, etc.

  115. Anonymous
    So, what you are saying is that SGM issues and Mars Hill issues don’t matter to you. Those abused are just flotsam in the big picture?

  116. Seeker
    I am not going to let you off the hook so easily. CJ Mahaney’s problems have been outlined by major newspapers in the US. So, are you saying it is not incumbent upon pastors to be aware of this sort of thing? This was not some obscure incident. When these groups allow these guys to speak and actually hold him up as an example, then there is a problem. The guys you respect adore Mahaney and defend him. So, are they all just stupid, never reading a newspaper, never investigating the ministry of those they feature, never asking the hard questions? if so, then they are naive and have no business holding themselves up as the arbiters of good theology.

    All that is necessary for evil and abuse to continue is for good people to say “I didn’t know.” In this day and age of easy access to information, there is absolutely no excuse.

  117. Anonymous

    Over generalization? You sound like a recent commenter who said many of our readers do not know the depths of their own sin and misapply the Bible. Are you that guy?

  118. “Oh yeah, and then be told that they will be subordinate to men for eternity…”

    OK, that just totally startled me to jump off the fence. Now how far from the fence will I be able to venture?

  119. Thanks for responding, Deb and Dee. The truth is, I don’t have a particularly dramatic story to tell, because the pastors of my church aren’t the money and power hungry types; they are genuinely godly and humble, but in some ways misguided and ignorant. I feel rather arrogant saying that, but I’m sorry, it’s the truth. I don’t think they had so much as an internet Bible study course diploma between them. They were discerning enough to refuse to implement most of the G12 system, thankfully.

    They would say “People criticise the G12 because it’s all about numbers – well, of course it’s all about numbers! We want to see as many people saved as possible, don’t we?!”. At the time I agreed with them but looking back, that’s a rather shocking admission that the system was chosen not for its doctrinal soundness or its ability to grow godliness – it was chosen because it was the system used by one of the world’s fastest-growing churches, MCI Bogota.

    G12 promises instant success. IMO, its biggest flaw is the systemisation of the Holy Spirit’s work- we were told, ‘pray for three people for three months, by the end of it they’ll be Christians and can join your cell! That way, you’ll have your Twelve Disciples in a year! Simple!”. And then when people you prayed for didn’t become Christians in three months – well, there could only be one reason for that kind of failure: you. You and your lack of faith. You not witnessing hard enough. You and your fear of man.

  120. Vicki

    Do you know about the “new” doctrine that is being embraced by the Calvinistas that has emerged from SBTS – Al Mohler’s seminary. It is called The Eternal Subordination of the Son. We have written extensively about this. These guys believe in a patriarchal system in which men will rule (of course, benevolently) in eternity just like the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father (so they say – not me).

    So, just like Jesus is subordinate, women will be subordinate. And no, this is not being proposed by the fringe lunatic crowd. These are the “professors” at the flagship SBC seminary.

    We wrote about this nonsense Complementarian or Egalitarian – Are You So Sure?

  121. “(Do you think Platt has no concern for the spiritually abused…he is on the speaking panel…is he saying this?)”

    This has nothing to do with spiritual abuse but just something to ponder as it relates to Platt’s teachings/methods. A couple he highlights in his book, Radical, left the church and tell why. They commented on the this blog’s review of Platt’s book:

    http://jamaljivanjee.com/2011/05/church-member-mentioned-in-david-platts-book-radical-responds-to-my-review-of-radical/

  122. I find two of them – Iceland and Greenland – to be particularly fascinating. Have you ever realized that these two countries have been wrongly named? “Iceland” suggests a place that is icy, which today is known to be untrue, while “Greenland” suggests a place that is mostly green, which today is know to be untrue.

    I heard the reason behind the names was a Viking real-estate scam. Icelanders were trying to keep other Norse settlers from immigrating, so they named their island to sound as inhospitable as possible. And they named Greenland to be more attractive to these unwanted settlers. (Remember the old “Swampland in Florida” and “Investment Real Estate in the middle of the Mojave Desert”?)

  123. Do you know about the “new” doctrine that is being embraced by the Calvinistas that has emerged from SBTS – Al Mohler’s seminary. It is called The Eternal Subordination of the Son. We have written extensively about this. — Dee

    And so even in the Trinity, there is pulling rank and Know Your Place, where one wears the Boot and the other provides the Face.

    In the original Anna and the King of Siam, there’s a throwaway mention that all footpaths in Thailand of the time are just wide enough for one person — so that when two met on a path, the lower-ranked one had to step aside and stand in the mud while His Better walks past.

  124. HUG,

    It seems like I may have heard something along those lines about Iceland and Greenland. That makes perfect sense!

  125. I also love the Calvinista speak “desire to love,” “speak these words in love,”motivated by a desire to care for you.” — Dee

    In 1984, didn’t the Thought Police operate out of the Ministry of Love?

    And remember the archetype of the abusive parent who abuses his kid “It’s All For Your Own Good”?

    “You have a saying: “We Speak These Words In Love, Motivated by a Desire to Care For You.” We too have a saying: “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.” — paraphrase of a line from Babylon-5

  126. dee –
    no, I did not know all this. Thank you for the link. Will hope to start putting distance between me and that fence :) That is truly startling.

  127. Speaking of the gospel…

    Remember, the gospel (good news) is a person (Christ) who expresses Himself. It takes the body to do that. This is not a ministry we ‘do’ as the religious system incorrectly teaches, rather it is a state of being that naturally flows into expression. I challenge you to take a hard look at those whose message is about being ‘Gospel Centered’ or ‘Gospel Focused’. Look at the institutions they lead. Visit their church meetings and ask these questions:

    1. Is Christ the functional head of their local church community, or has a select person or group assumed that function (clergy / elders)?

    2. When the body gathers together, is the whole body allowed to express Christ freely, or is that only reserved for a qualified few from the stage?

    3. When / if the members of the body do express themselves, do they express the person of Christ or something else?

    If Christ is not the acting Head and the body is not functioning and expressing Christ, that community has NOT yet been built around the gospel (Jesus Christ).

    Missional Confusion & The Amway Gospel…an assessment of a movement

    Hope that html works!

  128. “Nonconsensual consent”
    This misnomer is an underlying principle of “CDD”
    http://www.christiandomesticdiscipline.com/nonconsensualconsent.html
    Hubby comes home from work. “Have you been a bad girl today?” Little woman: “I ate too many bon-bons and didn’t clean the fridge like you asked– but please don’t spank me!” Hubby: “Sorrrry– you gave nonconsensual consent when you signed the CDD membership covenant.”

  129. René

    The Missional Confusion & The Amway Gospel article was excellent! Thanks for sharing it.

    I discovered Jamal’s blog last weekend (I assume through a link someone left here), and I am so glad to have found it! I haven’t read much there yet, but that will be changing as I have more time…

  130. Alan,

    You said,

    “Should I simply turn a blind eye to the abuse that I and others have endured at the hands of these “pastors” (and I use that term very loosely when referring to these guys)?
    Are you insinuating that the majority of the people at the conf aren’t fanboys/cheerleaders of A29, Mohler, Mahaney, etc.?”

    No, I don’t think you should turn a blind eye to the abuse of “these pastors.” I am questioning why you are accusing the “overwhelming majority” of people you DO NOT KNOW of being spiritually abusive?

    Nor am I insinuating that they are not fanboys of such people.

    I am insinuating that what you say is “common sense” is nothing more than a stereotype. You DON’T know the hearts of all these men, so it is a rather unhealthy thing to say the overwhelming majority are “fanboys of Mahaney” and “spiritual abusers” or destructive “pastors”. (Yes, I know you use that term loosely).

    Instead of making broad statements and stereotypes that you CAN’T verify, why not call what you know?

    If you have a problem with Mahaney…fine…then declare it. Let’s talk about Mahaney….But there are other speakers on that platform who are not Mahaney and who show quite different fruit.

    If you have a problem with A29, then say what you want to say about it..(Although I am sure MANY are attending this conference who are not part of A29—and I am sure not ALL A29 churches are “evil incarnate” aka Mars Hill)…

    If there are examples of people in your life who have been abusive..then let’s talk about them…I just think it is quite slanderous to accuse people of things when you don’t even know them…and when you can’t verify their hearts.

    I realize I can’t verify that they are not abusive, but I am not about to make a judgment of someone unless there is evidence. I think we should call out those who are abusive, but lumping an entire conference into this “abusive” realm is rather absurd.

    Dee and Anon1,

    I will respond to you all in a few…At work right now and don’t have a lot of time to comment.

    Thanks for all your responses.

  131. If what Wade Burleson says is so… then yes these men are getting really close to the edge of heretical. This scares me. I wish Pr. Burleson was here in Alabama.

  132. Dave A A, I clicked on the link you shared and now I feel sick. I had no idea that something like this exists.

  133. “Gospel Célébration …flushed down de tōilét” ?

    HowDee Ya All,

    These T4G guyz being “…faithful to pastoral ministry” ?!?

    what happen ta faithfulness to Jesus?

    I have suspected for some time that this here ‘missional effort’ is designed to flush the remaining soundness, that doth remain in the SBC, down the proverbial toilet.

    Good job guyz… (who do these proverbial religious bagmen really serve?)

    (sadface)

    Would that these proverbial faux religion ratz, would proverbially flush themselves…

    oh happy day?!?

    hmmm…

    Oh Happy Day! Gospel Célébration? Whatz dat?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a37bBm8pXSk&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Rejoice not over evil, but rejoice when the ‘truth’ is faithfully served, Ya Hear!

    Let me ‘hear’ it!

    Hum, hum, hum…♪ ♫Truth’s on da road again…

    (grin)

    YaHoooooooooooooooooooo!

    hahahahahahahaha

    Sopy ㋡   
    ___
    Comic relief: Willie “…on the road again?”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gdlyi5mckg0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  134. Can you imagine all these guys going out to plant churches and trying to support their wives and growing brood? — Deb

    It’ll be like dot-coms. Even when they weren’t starry-eyed “What If?” fantasies or scams for investor money, you had hundreds of dot-com startups crowding into markets which could support maybe two or three and killing each other off from sheer numbers. (And the ones which survived were usually existing mail-order businesses who just added Internet order and payment capability.)

  135. Sometime ago, I read a book by CJ Mahaney “The Cross-Centered Life” and I was impressed. However, I have discovered to my chagrin that what they (leaders, pastors, authors) write or say do not correspond with what they actually live and practice; it looks like what comes from their intellect is good but what comes from their life falls short, too short…

    Do what I say and do not do what I do?

    Mars Hill church is big on complementarianism, that’s for sure. My observations when we were there: women are second class, older folks do not count because MHC caters only to young men (20′s and 30′s). I do not subscribe to complementarianism, per se; and I am fully convinced one does not have to be “complementarian” to be a deeply committed biblical Christian.

    Human nature craves importance, significance, superiority, these things come from the sinful nature of fallen man. I see this played out in many fronts all round us, in the world and in the church. MHC meets this craving for young and insecure men who are prone to follow those who give them titles like pastors, elders, (even young elders, an oxymoron) deacons, making them feel important, superior to others when they may not be ready for these offices. No wonder power and authority can be misused, overused or abused to the detriment of those “under authority”.

    When do we all learn “to deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow me (Christ)” ? I did not hear that teaching even once when we were at that mega church.

  136. Rene
    I ought to have included a warning — amazing what they can affix “Christian” to. Interestingly, the Xian “Domestic Discipline” folks use lots of “mainstream” patriarchal, comp, and church discipline thinking and take it to its logical extreme. They even use the phrase “He is not a dictator. She is not a doormat.” I believe either Piper or Grudem makes that exact clarification. Plus, the use of modifying adjectives– SAFE and CONSENSUAL “discipline” similar to the strings of happy adjectives used by mainstream folks in front of headship and submission.

  137. RE: Anonymous on Tue, Apr 10 2012 at 09:40 pm:

    You wrote: “…On another note, is there a Biblical basis for having only men as elders within the church? I have visited the websites of many churches within my city and I cannot find a single church with a woman on the board of elders…”

    Do yourself a favor. Study the Bible for yourself and do your own thinking on what’s “Biblical” and what’s not. Let your conscience be your guide, it’s the divine part of you, given to you at birth, it will tell you what’s right and what’s wrong. Put the onus on yourself, don’t let others do your thinking for you.

  138. Dave A A -

    Or, they could easily slap “Biblical” or “Gospel” in front of Discipline . . .

    BTW – How often did Jesus talk about such things??

    I’m trying to figure out who started using the “adjective additives” so profusely. My guess is Piper. He uses them a lot. I know something is wrong when I have to reread a sentence several times to figure out what is actually being said because there are so many adjectives in the sentence.

  139. Numo, any day with a little Mavis Staples in it is a gooooood day.

    Mavis and Aretha at the same time: whoa.

  140. René – I’m a fan of both, though I think Mavis’ voice is one in a million. Glad you enjoyed that!

  141. Deb, thanks for your post on the “Cross-centered life” by CJ Mahaney. I know a Lutheran pastor in my area who talks about brokenness all the time, isn’t this the trend in Christianity today? This pastor, a very nice man, does not believe I can live and do live a victorious Christian life full of joy and peace when I told him. Christ is my LIFE. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, as He said in Scripture.

    It’s unfortunate many Christians are stuck in Romans 7 and have yet to experience the freedom of Romans 8. Your comments?

  142. Student – I am so heartily sick of the word “brokenness.” It’s been in use for over 20 years now (in certain circles, at least – not just SGM either).

    Great post, btw!

  143. “Instead of making broad statements and stereotypes that you CAN’T verify, why not call what you know”

    Seeker, I live in T4G land. I can assure you the attendees are fan boys of Mohler, Mahaney, Dever and Ligon and whoever they have speaking from stage. They hang on every word. If any of the fab four has someone on stage, they have the seal of approval and the attendees fall in line. They won’t admit that but remember, they paid to go there and all the info you could ever want about them is online about spiritual abuse. So they chose not to check out who they are listening to.

    They come from all over with their pennies for gas to get to see them on stage. Will all the attendees become spiritual abusers? Who knows? However, they ARE learning from the masters and certainly revere their every word.

  144. Seeker, in your 2:19 pm comment, do you realize you are doing what many of the authoritarian celebs do? You are trying to set the parameters for what and how things are discussed. That is what they do all the time and call it sin if not done their way.

    It is perfectly natural for some of us to be concerned about all the young (and middleaged!) men at T4G and who they are learning from and might emulate. Just as we should be concerned for those who learn from and emulate Driscoll.

  145. Dee,

    Didn’t realize I was on a “hook”, but you make some valid points.

    But I really don’t know what else to tell you. I wasn’t aware of Mahaney until I got on this blog, and I certainly have never encountered his information in “major US newspapers”.

    Was he on the cover of the New York Times? US Today, etc?

    My point to you was within that 8000 member attendance at T4G, I wonder how many know the truth of Mahaney, and how many are clueless. I find it slightly funny that you hold people accountable to not teaching the word of God because they don’t spend time “reading up” the Internet and major newspapers for the latest info on SGM….Did I miss that requirement for Teachers in Scripture somewhere?

    I will give it to you that many people attending T4G may know about this, and I can’t answer why they are silent. I can’t answer why Chandler, Platt, and others are silent about this issue. It bothers me for sure, and it raises genuine questions that concern me. However, I don’t want to sit back and speculate for hours on a situation that I barely understand. Not saying we should ignore it or not ask questions, But at the same time, I am not willing to write them off, over-generalize, and stereotype them as has been done so often on this blog for not only some of these speakers but now even those who attend these conferences.

    Platt, Chandler, and many people who are attending this event are people who love Jesus, Love His Kingdom, and have brought forth fruit because of this. Fruit that is evident and you can see. I am sure there are also many who have done quite the contrary, but lets not drag the whole group down with them.

    It certainly gives me pause when guys like Chandler and Platt do not publicly speak against Mahaney, Driscoll and others. I guess the main difference between me and many others in this blog is I still have great respect for much of what they teach, what they have done in their life, and the good things their churches are accomplishing for His Kingdom. Their silence does not equal out to me that they are Spiritual Abusers, or even defenders of such. Although their inaction certainly give reason to question why they have not spoken up. It may mean that they have handled privately what we did not see publicly. It may also mean that they are just cowards, not willing to rock the boat.

    It’s a shame either way, but I am not willing to write them off for the actions of Mahaney an their lack of public disapproval of him.. I am not able to see the full picture, and God will judge them for the hidden things you or I can’t see. If they are in sin with this matter, then maybe we should take it upon ourselves to pray for their conviction by the Holy Spirit to lead them to do the courageous and hard thing. After all, are we willing to deny the Spirit is within them? That might be more effective than stereotyping an entire conference as destructive pastors who defend and support those that spiritually abuse people.

    It definitely raises caution and questions, but at this point, I have no reason to write off Platt, Chadler, T4G, and the many who attend. I believe, unlike many on here, that God will work through this conference. I believe there will be shades of beauty that will come out, even though sin has reared it’s ugly head with the likes of Mahaney and possibly the hearts of many other men there.

    Anon1,

    Don’t have much more time to respond fully to you. I have read the article, and it was very interesting. Platt’s teaching on Radical is pretty extreme. He is asking the American church to serve and sacrifice for the plight of others in way that no Megachurch pastor has done for some time. Platt taught this in the context of keeping Jesus first in life, not our works. It seems to me the couple got burned out because they lost perspective along the way. I don’t see Platt’s fault in this, because in his sermons and his book he includes our love with Jesus quite frequently.

    You can see in his podcast he taught a series on “Radical” in his church for some time, but this is by no means all he has taught. I applaud him for encouraging a very clear message in Scripture of having concern for the poor, missions, sacrifice, etc for an American culture that takes an opposite route.

  146. Student, the trend of focusing on “brokenness” invaded my church while in college for a short time. The pastor finally had enough and told everybody to stop bragging about their sins and “brokenness” and what was wrong with them. He reminded everyone to rejoice in their salvation and the fact that God had already forgiven their sins. It was so refreshing to have that trend soundly kicked out of the church.

    Dee and Rene, thank you for the encouragement. I think I have found a church home but am waiting for them to finish renovations to make the church more handicapped accessible. I had the privilege of meeting the new pastor at my former job before he even preached his first sermon. I mentioned that the church really was not built with the disabled in mind and that really got his attention. He made it his mission to have the church accessible to all people. So just a couple more months of floating around at other churches. There is no shame in how God created me, only in how others choose to treat people like me.

  147. Anon1,

    Not all the speakers are Spirtual Abusers. Some of the speakers carry a lot of good fruit with them.. Not all the attendees will emulate the speakers every move! Hopefully they will emulate Jesus, worship Jesus, follow Jesus. Hopefully most of the Speakers there will point people to Jesus. Hopefully they will return to their churches with a heart for Jesus.

    How am I trying to set the parameters of the discussion?

    Why? Because I called someone out for stereotyping a group they don’t know. Some in that group that I know personally who don’t fit that stereotype or even the description you have called above..This blog certainly has no problem for calling attention to things, thought I had that right too as a participant of this blog.

    The truth is….I don’t particularly find stereotyping and attacking people’s character of those we don’t know personally to be a very appealing thing. So I spoke up. Will it matter? No, because I foresee the latter to continue regardless. So dont mind my opinion…Carry on with however you like the conversation to go.

  148. Seeker
    I have not stereotyped the whole conference. I tend to focus on the leaders who have implied that they have a responsibility to watch their doctrine and to guard against wolves who consume the innocent and uninformed. I once asked a well known pastor, who will probably be there, to address the terrible issues that have been raised by the SGM situation. He told me I was slandering said person; this was about 4 months before CJ stepped down due to the revelations. I slandered? Hmmm, so the man who was involved in terrible practices that hurt a large number of people gets a pass and I am the one who slandered. Even the Washington Post and the Louisville Courier covered the story.

    I guess I am different than you. I always google the person I am reading or going to see. The bible is quite explicit that there are those who roam around seeking to devour the naive. I decided a number of years ago, that I will no longer take people on face value. I will do some reading. I don’t trust just because someone writes a good book or is a charismatic speaker. I want to go deeper to understand better. One of the reasons that we have so many links in our posts is to show what is being said outside of this blog. Frankly, everyone who reads out blog should check out what we say.

  149. Anonymous said:

    “Student, the trend of focusing on “brokenness” invaded my church while in college for a short time. The pastor finally had enough and told everybody to stop bragging about their sins and “brokenness” and what was wrong with them. He reminded everyone to rejoice in their salvation and the fact that God had already forgiven their sins. It was so refreshing to have that trend soundly kicked out of the church.”

    It’s funny you mentioned this because I wrote a post about this last evening: Wallowing in Sin. I think it is a big problem in some parts of the church and not just SGM-type churches. My post was directed more at bloggers.

    http://sallieborrink.com/wallowing-in-sin/

  150. “Platt, Chandler, and many people who are attending this event are people who love Jesus, Love His Kingdom, and have brought forth fruit because of this. Fruit that is evident and you can see. I am sure there are also many who have done quite the contrary, but lets not drag the whole group down with them.”

    Now you are making assumptions you cannot prove. You are basing these assusmptions on stage personas and performances. You have no idea if they are torturing kittens in their basement or not unless you know them personally and spend time with them and their family (which is the main problem with celebrity Christianity). And I would love to see your defintion of “fruit”. Are you suggesting that being the pastor of a mega church is fruit? Are you suggesting that large numbers who come to hear them speak are fruit? If so, then how do you explain Osteen?

  151. “He is asking the American church to serve and sacrifice for the plight of others in way that no Megachurch pastor has done for some time. Platt taught this in the context of keeping Jesus first in life, not our works. It seems to me the couple got burned out because they lost perspective along the way. I don’t see Platt’s fault in this, because in his sermons and his book he includes our love with Jesus quite frequently. ”

    Seeker, I get it. It is always the fault of the pew sitter never the one teaching them because they “say the right words” that you hear or read. If you hve not been in a mega setting where programs like these are implemented you might not understand the peer pressure to perform. People do get caught up in it and many times it is because they revere the leader and that is the biggest sin of all in the church….following man and HIS words.

  152. “The truth is….I don’t particularly find stereotyping and attacking people’s character of those we don’t know personally to be a very appealing thing.”

    I wish people felt that way about promoting and hanging on the word of the celebrities they do not know personally. Would cut a lot of this celebrity worship out. However, we do have a lot of information and first person accounts of spiritual abuse and those who coddle and affirm those who abuse. So, ignorance of this is an excuse when it is easily found? It does not work that way in court when it comes to the law but it sure works in the world of celebrity Christianity.

  153. Anon1, Deb, Dee and all,

    Revival is far away from the church because there are too many problems; however, I believe in personal revival. After all, revival usually begins with a few people or a small group. I love and treasure the book of Romans, all chapters from 1-16.

    I have read many posts and I know I am not a cynic. I think cynicism is a form of carnality and comes from pride. There are good people doing good things in the church, I am sure there is godly leadership in some quarters although I do not personally experience it in recent days. Many Christians still love Jesus and long-standing barriers are breaking down in their lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. In other word, there is lots of hope. I remember a verse from James:

    “Wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruit, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”

    Mercy triumphs over judgment. Your feedback?

  154. “How am I trying to set the parameters of the discussion?”

    See your comment below:

    “The truth is….I don’t particularly find stereotyping and attacking people’s character of those we don’t know personally to be a very appealing thing.”

    That is your opinion and you are using redefintion and rebuke to try and shame people for giving their opinion. I think it is perfectly natural to be very concerned about all the guys going to hear the teaching of a well known spiritual abuser and those who coddled him in his abuse. You do realize that Mahaney taught his pastors to tell parents of sexually abused children (by fathers and other church members) to forgive instantly and not call the authorities? And that teaching is systemic in SGM. There is more, but i doubt you are really that interested. But it does concern me that 7000 men think CJ and what he teaches and models is ok. Ignorance is not excuse. They could easily google CJ and find this out. In fact, my guess is quite a few know and think CJ is right. Because these guys are taught by these celebrities that authority over others is important in the church. It is what they are about. Even Chandler. Perhaps you do not recognize it in their teaching.

  155. “There are good people doing good things in the church, I am sure there is godly leadership in some quarters although I do not personally experience it in recent days. Many Christians still love Jesus and long-standing barriers are breaking down in their lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. In other word, there is lots of hope. \”

    I agree with you. What I am seeing around the meta and in groups I meet with are people who are in the church because they do not know where else to go. It is what they have always done. But they are stifled there. Some have matured past the pastor!They think they have to attend a local church “building” and are trying to do the will of God there. And I think many do well with that. If they do not become too popular or influential.

    But if they happen to be in an authoritarian church where this NC is taught or even a seeker mega that is more concerned with image, they find it very hard and come against barriers all the time. Wehave a lot of hirlings, wolves and charlatans in ministry positions. In fact, narcissist are attracted to it because it is a ready made stage and rarely are you questioned if the authoritarian doctrine of “obey your leaders” is believed by the congregation and they only see you a few times per week. It is perfect venue for such people.

    And there are those toiling away in inner city or the hinterlands and no one knows who they are except God adn those close to them. Praise God for them!

    If there is revival, I think it will happen outside the institutional church. My opinion only. I am not a prophet or son of a prophet. It is just what I am starting to see falling into place in many quarters. People are waking up to what is a lot of vaucity in the institutional church.

    Student, both you and I can be a “pastor” if we are called to that gift because pastoring is a function of the Body. We could also “preach” or “teach” if called. And we don’t hve to be paid for it to function in the true body.

  156. Seeker, Dee has already addressed the issue that you responded to me about. You basically agreed with me about CJM. Then you said that the other guys are fine (loosely paraphrasing here). I see why you say that, but as Dee pointed out, these other celebrity “pastors” are the only people who could stand up to CJM and ask him to do the right thing. But, they simply refuse to do anything about it. In effect, they are fully endorsing CJM and all that he has done. It’s really quite sad and sickening to see these people go into “protect the brand at all costs” mode. Then people wonder why many today are disillusioned by the church at large.

    On a related or similar note. I just don’t get why people spend thousands of dollars to travel and attend conferences like these. Why not just get plugged into a local church and grow there, learn there, serve there? Why the need to spend the dough to travel to listen to celebrity guys? Not saying it’s wrong, just saying that I don’t get it.

  157. Seeker, you’re doing the exact same thing though. You’re sterotyping everyone else on this blog. You’re sterotyping Chandler and Platt as great guys, even though you don’t know them.

    Bottom line, you’re skirting the real issue here. Why do we have “national pastors” in the first place? Are there people who love God and who are involved in a local church, whose lives are totally transformed by what they hear at these conferences? For some reason, I hihgly doubt that’s the case. The Evangelical church these days is highly gnostic and conferences like these are part of the problem.

  158. Dee, your post from 7:01 is a masterpiece! Frankly, it reveals the differnce in the people on this blog and why they (we) are in a huge minority in the church today (I mean that in a good way). I love what you wrote about how we won’t follow a guy, hook, line, and sinker because he’s witty and funny or wrote a good book. Following after guys like that is one of the major reasons the church is in the mess it’s in today. Hmmm…when reading over the requirements in the NT for elders, I recall a lot of character qualifications being mentioned, but I don’t seem to recall anything about public speaking ability or celebrity status.

  159. Anon1, your post from 7:14 is pure gold!

    Regarding your 7:19 post, what you have accurately described is a consultant, not a pastor. Too many “churches” these day have what they call a pastor, but the guy is really a consultant. What’s a consultant? A person who is paid to deliver a message. Whether anyone does what they say doesn’t matter one bit to the consultant. A pastor on the other hand loves and cares for people and is often left broken hearted when he sees people making poor choices and turning away from God.

  160. Alan, You know what one of the biggest shockers was for me when I started deeply studying? There is very few examples of “preaching” as we know it today, in the NT ekklesia. We are simply doing what was replaced by sacraments during the Reformation. It was a step in the right direction but we were NEVER meant to sit and listen to one guy week after week. In fact it stunts our spiritual growth! We have ONE example of Paul renting the Hall of Tyrannus to teach because they made him get off the street. So, where are the buildings? Where is the “preaching” done in the NT? Out on the street, down by the river and outside the synagogues.

    There is a model described in 1 Corin 14 by Paul. Can you imagine the celebrities submitting themselves to that model week after week…? And we wonder why Christianity has become the cult of personality in America in many quarters.

  161. Student: “Mercy triumphs over judgement?”
    Re: stuck in Romans 7 and cross-centered-ness and brokenness– the “deficient gospel” post reminded me of this well- done, well- meaning, heartbreaking, gospel-deficient version of John Griffith Bridge Operator.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oZYi1j_Z8g&feature=youtube_gdata_player
    It seems to be illustrating the Good News, but, like CJ’s book, stops short of the resurrection, ascension, and Pentecost. No Romans 8! No mercy! It ends with the father grieving over his crushed son while ignorant, rescued people go on their way unchanged.

  162. HowDee YaAll,

    Seeker: “I am not willing to write them off, over-generalize, and stereotype them as has been done so often on this blog for not only some of these speakers but now even those who attend these conferences.”

    hmmm…

    8000 member attendance at T4G?

    and…

    it is ?

    business as usual…

    Thatz what sticks in my craw…

    Is it business as usual with certain T4G religious representatives?

    How is that even possible with all that has happened this year alone?

    How many more need suffer injury before notice is taken?

    …and my Father’s house shall be a house of prayer?

    I’m sorry, I just don’t see it…

    Anyone else feel that way also?

    (sadface)

    Generalizations?

    Possibly…

    Doesn’t negate that there is certainly something that smells in the proverbial Shakespearian Denmark.

    Folks, there is something very wrong with this here picture.

    Like my dear ole Mum useta say…

    If the shoe fitz…

    Sopy

  163. Sopy
    You said it better than me. “Folks, there is something very wrong with this here picture.”

  164. Meanwhile, back at the T4G ranch, Mahaney was giving examples of pastors (him?) being slandered for the sake of the Gospel. And HE and the other T4G biggies get to decide what is slander because if they say it is, then it is? The party being accused of slander didn’t get an opportunity to respond because CJ and SGM would not let him. But we all “get to” believe that CJ was slandered because CJ said so. WAIT – isn’t Seeker accusing people on this blog of saying things that might not be true? CJ gets to do that and get paid for it.

    I need to write CJ a letter and remind him that it is “more humble” to suffer in silence. Do you think he might suffer in silence for a change? — Please! It’s really hard to see how he has been whining over the last six weeks in all his sermons while there are abused people, suffering because of no fault of their own, that can’t be heard over the din of CJ’s bemoaning.

    It’s not right, just not right.

  165. Bridget2
    It has been a long time since things have been right. And CJ is being backed up by his buddies. But what about the people who have been hurt and are in pain?

  166. Wow,

    Quite a few responses…Thanks and I will try to get to them all the best I can.

    Dee,

    “I once asked a well known pastor, who will probably be there, to address the terrible issues that have been raised by the SGM situation. He told me I was slandering said person; this was about 4 months before CJ stepped down due to the revelations. I slandered? Hmmm, so the man who was involved in terrible practices that hurt a large number of people gets a pass and I am the one who slandered. Even the Washington Post and the Louisville Courier covered the story.”

    I don’t disagree with you on this. I don’t think you slandered against Mahaney. I think you are addressing what was known. I didn’t mean to imply that you stereotyped the entire conference, but I meant to imply that on this blog that has happened with several of the comments made. That is why I responded in the first place.

    By the way, are those the two major newspapers that covered the story? No wonder I never heard of Mahaney until I stumbled onto Wartburg..I live pretty far away from those areas.

    “I guess I am different than you. I always google the person I am reading or going to see. The bible is quite explicit that there are those who roam around seeking to devour the naive. I decided a number of years ago, that I will no longer take people on face value. I will do some reading. I don’t trust just because someone writes a good book or is a charismatic speaker. I want to go deeper to understand better. One of the reasons that we have so many links in our posts is to show what is being said outside of this blog. Frankly, everyone who reads out blog should check out what we say.”

    Again…I am not going to the conference. If I was, I would probablly research who was speaking a bit more. I am not going to lie…I don’t know much about the Mahaney situation outside of some things that have been said on here. (Yes, I get it, no excuse for my ignorance). I have picked up enough to know I don’t like it. However, with 2 jobs, my family, and many other things going on, I find it hard enough to just comment on here..not to mention following all the outside links on this blog. I have followed the Driscoll saga a lot more than Mahaney, but I promise I will take a closer look.

    I can’t speak for those who are attending this conference though…Maybe they have researched, and they have chosen to go in spite of Mahaney. Maybe they are completely clueless. Both are within the realm of possibilities. Regardless of their reasons, I am not willing to concede that the overwhelming majority of attendees are “defending and supporting” spiritual abuse and all the other things that were said about them earlier today from different commentors.

    Like I said, the Pastors that I know personally that are going have a genuine love for Christ, genuine servants heart, and should not be characterized as what was said earlier today. They are going because they love Jesus and they love the teaching of Scripture. I am not sure if they know about the Mahaney situation. Will have to ask them what they think about him when they get back.

    I appreciate your willingness to not take things at face value. You might not believe this, but I DO enjoy this blog. I have read many articles on here, and have been concerned about many of the same things you have been concerned about..especially spiritual abuse.

    I have protested on how some things have been presented, (mainly today on the stereotyping that was floating around in some comments), and I have been willing to voice my respect for Chandler and Platt, but I am not at all in opposition with you.

    Once again,

    Thanks

  167. Mark Dever said “Thousands, if not millions, of church members sitting in America’s pews aren’t really born-again Christians, a Washington, D.C., pastor said April 10 to a pastors’ conference in Louisville, Ky.”

    How does he know this?

  168. mot
    I think Dever would say that some of us are not Christians because we disagree with some of his conclusions. I think Calvinistas use a fancier word: “unregenerate.” Andy Davis used this against some people that I know to be Christians. Not only do they not know, they know sometimes and still say it.

  169. Dee:

    Folks that talk like Dever sound like they are playing God as only he knows who the believers are.

    To me it it also sounds like red meat for those that will go wild over such a comment.

  170. “An Inability To Render Assistance?”

    Mot: “Sopwith, Me thinks Seeker protests too much!”

    hahahahahahaha (wink)

    “…Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself…” n’est-ce pas? (grin)

    *
    Is this possibly a clear case of “the bystander effect”or “Genovese syndrome”and especially “diffusion of responsibility”?

    What?

    “Fishes live in the sea, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones…”

    How many “Spiritual Kitty’s” are going to meet the same malaise before a remedy is persuaded?

    Denial of culpability, and responsibility? Me thinks the fault doth worsen by the excuse…

    Sopy
    ___
    James Gang – “Walk Away”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KK9cVZvg0M&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  171. Anon1,

    “Now you are making assumptions you cannot prove. You are basing these assusmptions on stage personas and performances. You have no idea if they are torturing kittens in their basement or not unless you know them personally and spend time with them and their family (which is the main problem with celebrity Christianity). And I would love to see your defintion of “fruit”. Are you suggesting that being the pastor of a mega church is fruit? Are you suggesting that large numbers who come to hear them speak are fruit? If so, then how do you explain Osteen?”

    You are half right. I am assuming some things I cannot prove, but I feel pretty good I have decent evidence that gives me a good idea of fruit from some of these speakers and the lives of some of the people who are attending.

    First off, my definition of fruit.

    NO, being a pastor of a megachurch is not fruit. Being a pastor of a megachurch who downgrades his larger home to move into a smaller one in another part of town for the sake of the Gospel is. Being a pastor of a megachurch who is willing to adopt needy children overseas because of our adoptions as sons and daughters of God is fruit.

    Being a pastor of a megachurch who travels across the world into persecuted countries to teach men and women who are hungry for the word of God is fruit.

    Being a pastor of a megachurch who decides to encourage his church to care for the least of these (while doing so himself) is fruit.

    Being a pastor of a megachurch who suffers from severe Brain Cancer and in turn shares his vulnerability with others—but all the while speaking on how God is carrying him through, how God sustains him, how God is enough, and encouraging those who are suffering likewise…well that was fruit for me that God used to help ME when my OWN father suffered from severe Esophogeal cancer earlier last year.

    Being a pastor of a megachurch who leads his congregation to pursue Christ, love Christ, follow Christ, and enjoy the Good News of the Gospel is pretty decent fruit when you look at so many who encourage their congregations to pursue health, wealth, and prosperity.

    But I get it Anon1, you only see the “celebrity” in them. You don’t see much else. But if you open your eyes..you might find much more than celebrity.

    The pastors I am talking about are Platt and Chandler, and there are many more things that I have heard them describe over the years that lead me to believe they are bearing good fruit. Your right, I don’t know them personally, but I believe their actions speak for themselves. Are they perfect? No. Do some things bother me about them? Yes.

    I do know a few people personally who are in the 8000 crowd at T4G. And they have borne fruit in their lives.

    As far as the rest…I will admit…you got me there…But here is the difference between you and me…it is called the benefit of the doubt.

    I don’t mind making an assumption that they could be bearing good fruit..that they could have a good heart. What I DO MIND is attacking their character and stereotyping them when I have no evidence. Isn’t that called slander after all when we attack people when we don’t know them or have any evidence of their wrongdoing?

  172. Anon1,

    “Seeker, I get it. It is always the fault of the pew sitter never the one teaching them because they “say the right words” that you hear or read. If you hve not been in a mega setting where programs like these are implemented you might not understand the peer pressure to perform. People do get caught up in it and many times it is because they revere the leader and that is the biggest sin of all in the church….following man and HIS words”

    Your right I don’t understand the peer pressure. I am not in a mega setting.

    Maybe I am missing something. Did Platt force them to do what they did? I think this came by their own decision.

    So what exactly are we saying Platt is guilty for here? Encouraging people to serve, help, provide for the least of these?

    Isn’t that a GOOD thing?

    Bottom line is this. Platt made it very clear that these things come from a heart that loves Christ. He is not advocating works over our relationship with Christ. He is advocating a relationship with Christ that is motivated to work. He is advocating for church members to examine their heart and see why we ignore the “least of these.”

    This couple got burned out and left the church. So what was Platt supposed to do? Stop preaching this message? Stop advocating for Christians to love and serve others? I don’t get it Anon1, I really don’t?

    The couple did the right thing. They lost sight of Christ in the Radical Expirment…and they pulled themselves out to rediscover Christ. How is this Platt’s fault?

    Christ was never “out of the picture” at Brook Hills. Platt keeps Him in the picture quite often..It is his responsibility to do so.

    But your right though…when people “revere” the leader..that is a big sin. Just a thought though, I don’t think Platt is advocating for people to revere him over Jesus.

  173. Anon1

    “I wish people felt that way about promoting and hanging on the word of the celebrities they do not know personally. Would cut a lot of this celebrity worship out. However, we do have a lot of information and first person accounts of spiritual abuse and those who coddle and affirm those who abuse. So, ignorance of this is an excuse when it is easily found? It does not work that way in court when it comes to the law but it sure works in the world of celebrity Christianity.”

    Let me get something clear. I don’t worship Platt or Chandler. I If that is what you are implying, you are wrong. I respect them. I worship Christ. I read the Word of God for myself, and hang onto HIS word only. I have a pastor I know personally and am very close to him. I am in a church community that is far from a megachurch and I am very happy there.

    I choose to listen to Platt and Chandler for many reasons, but it is not worship. You see that for so many people, and for many, that may be true, but I bet like me, many can listen to Platt and Chandler without idolizing them and worshiping them.

    Can’t verify that though…so at least you know where I stand, whether you choose to believe it or not.

  174. “That is your opinion and you are using redefintion and rebuke to try and shame people for giving their opinion. I think it is perfectly natural to be very concerned about all the guys going to hear the teaching of a well known spiritual abuser and those who coddled him in his abuse. You do realize that Mahaney taught his pastors to tell parents of sexually abused children (by fathers and other church members) to forgive instantly and not call the authorities? And that teaching is systemic in SGM. There is more, but i doubt you are really that interested.”

    How is it “redefinition” when the words “rabid”, “destructive”, “these guys”, “these “pastors”", “defenders of abuse”, etc, etc, were used constantly throughout the comments today?

    When “overwhelming majority” and “these pastors” were used along with “destructive”…How is that not a stereotype? Am I really redifining this?

    If it was just a genuine concern, I might not have jumped in the conversation. But when overgeneralizations were being used in regards to “rabid” “destructive” etc on some guys that I know personally, and the majority of guys that this blogging community don’t even know….Those words used take it over the next level than “concerned” and “cautious”. Those words are accusatory and slanderous when you can’t verify that their hearts are such.

    Sorry…Not going to stand by and watch that one go down. Anonymous may have been right from what he said earlier. Maybe I am wasting my breath, but I will speak as long as I am allowed too. You may disagree, but I will speak regardless.

    Way to generalize me too Anon1. I am interested, I have already mentioned I would look more into the Mahaney situation.

    Yes, there is a spiritual abuser on the stage. Obviously not well known to me, but I am blind and ignorant I guess. Not sure how EVERY speaker there coddled him in his abuse, but certainly am bothered by the silence of these said speakers, even the ones I respect.

    But regardless of all that, I still choose to believe that many are going to this conference because they love Jesus and His good news, not because they want to participate in celebrity worship and support spiritual abusers.

    But maybe you have a gift that I don’t. Maybe you can see the “overwhelming majority” of those thousand of hearts who have attended this conference. Maybe you can see their motives. Maybe you can see their ministries and fruit.

    Please, tell me how I can aquire this gift so I can be as enlightened as you.

    Seriously though, if caution and concern is all that is being proposed, then I see nothing wrong with that. But when caution and concern transitions into slanderous words about people you don’t know, then I see a problem.

  175. Alan,

    “On a related or similar note. I just don’t get why people spend thousands of dollars to travel and attend conferences like these. Why not just get plugged into a local church and grow there, learn there, serve there? Why the need to spend the dough to travel to listen to celebrity guys? Not saying it’s wrong, just saying that I don’t get it.”

    Alan, thanks for your response.

    I understand you don’t get it. Conferences like these are not for everyone. I have not been to many, but I have been to a few in my life. I have seen some good in them. I have gained some value out of them. The truth is though, most of the people attending these conferences ARE in a community of believers where they are plugging in, growing, etc.

    Many spend the dough to hear their favorite celebrity pastor.

    Many spend the dough to listen to the teaching of God’s word, to worship with other believers, to be encouraged, and to “get away” sometimes from their local context to join in with another context.

    Everyone needs to get away from their jobs sometimes, even pastors. I think many pastors go to these conferences to be refreshed and to have someone “teach them,” instead of teaching everyone else all the time. There is some value in that, although you may not see that for yourself.

    Again, to each his own I suppose.

  176. Seeker @ 10:39. You know what I find so sad about your list of fruit from the celebs? Is that you don’t know any unknown, everyday Christians who struggle financially and are still doing those things. They get not public praise from thousands, write books about it or adulation for it. They just do it.

    You know what is the saddest thing ever? The people who have gone to a mega church for years, become terminally ill and their “beloved pastor” whom they have revered and supported financially for years, does not even know their name. They settled for celebrity when they could have had relationship.

  177. How is it “redefinition” when the words “rabid”, “destructive”, “these guys”, “these “pastors””, “defenders of abuse”, etc, etc, were used constantly throughout the comments today?

    When “overwhelming majority” and “these pastors” were used along with “destructive”…How is that not a stereotype? Am I really redefining this?”

    Well, perhaps it is because we know names. We know about Noel and what her and her husband were told about their 3 year old being molested by a fellow church member. We know about ex-clc’er’s mom being told to make her teen daughter leave home so her dad would not be tempted to rape her again and he could continue to be “head” of the house. The stories are endless.

    So, just things like that. The one who taught these things is on the stage at T4G teaching thousands of young and middle aged men who will clap and think he is wonderful. And he is affirmed by the other celebrities.

    That is why. I stand with the victims of the authoritarian false teaching that ruins lives and throws victims of it under the bus. Chandler also teaches “godly authority” and affirmed Driscoll for years. So, we must watch closely because of who he has decided to hang with.

    I have to stand with the victims of authoritarianism that is rampant in our churches. It is a sin trap and those who teach it are false teachers. We are all “priests” in the Holy Priesthood.

  178. Alan,

    “Seeker, you’re doing the exact same thing though. You’re sterotyping everyone else on this blog. You’re sterotyping Chandler and Platt as great guys, even though you don’t know them.

    Bottom line, you’re skirting the real issue here. Why do we have “national pastors” in the first place? Are there people who love God and who are involved in a local church, whose lives are totally transformed by what they hear at these conferences? For some reason, I hihgly doubt that’s the case. The Evangelical church these days is highly gnostic and conferences like these are part of the problem.”

    Your right, I don’t know them, but I don’t think I am stereotyping.

    I have respect for them as pastors. I respect much (not all) of their teaching. I respect the fruit that is evident (that I have seen) in their lives.

    I respect their churches, and what their churches have done for the Kingdom of God.

    I have not inteded to stereotype everyone else on this blog as well. I just find that many (not all) on this blog have been willing to overgeneralize this whole T4G conference. Which I have talked about in full already.

    Chandler and Platt do not intend to be “national pastors”. They are pastors of their own local churches. They have been thrusted into the national spotlight for various reasons (books, conferences, podcasts)..They choose to do this, but they are STILL pastors of their local church. They do not consider themselves national pastors. They are not my pastor (I am a podcast listener) and they fully know this.

    I can’t share whose hearts have been transformed at T4G.

    But let me share with you my own personal story.

    Years ago, I went to a conference in Atlanta. In one of the smaller “break out speaking sessions”….I heard from a guy named Matt Chandler for the first time.

    I don’t remember everything he said that night, but I DO remember him describing whether or not we value Christ above all.

    He described a lot about when “life falls a part”….when we lose our job, when our family members become sick, when a family member dies, when our dreams don’t quite turn out the way we want, etc..

    He then described passionately, that if we value Jesus most, then we can make it through. We can survive. We can keep going. If we lose everything…Jesus is enough. (The way I am describing this does not give it justice)…

    I didn’t know about everyone around me…but I was deeply convicted. At the time, I was not valuing Christ. I valued many other “things” and “people”. I was losing my “first love” with Jesus.

    The Holy Spirit convicted me that night through Matt’s teaching of God’s word. That night the Holy Spirit helped me to transform much of what I valued, and it led me closer to Jesus, and little did I know then, but the Holy Spirit was preparing me for what would occur a few years later.

    I am really, REALLY close to my father. I have an excellent relationship with him, and I am blessed to say that I have that. But last year, my father was diagnosed with Stage 4 Esophogeal Cancer.

    The doctors gave him little to no chance of survival. My family was crushed. I was shocked. It came out of no where. The problem with all this was my father had already suffered from a severe heart attack a year earlier. That was hard enough, but now this.

    And during that whole trial, I “got” for the first time what Matt was talking to us about that night. My life was falling apart around me. My father, my friend, was suffering-hurting from a disease that by all accounts—would kill him. We found out the news the week of Christmas to make it even harder on us. Fortunately, I valued Jesus a lot more then than I had years before…So I leaned on Him moreso than I ever had in those dark days of chemo and watching my father’s health deteriorate.

    I asked a lot of “why” questions to God, but the Holy Spirit reminded me that I had a great High Priest who was sympathetic to me. He was there. He was listening. He loved me, and the good news was, if my father succumbed to Cancer, he would live because Christ lives. Jesus was enough.

    Matt wasn’t behind all this. God was. But Matt was faithful to preach God’s word at that conference that night…and God used that sermon to help wake me up…thus preparing me for what was to come. (Ironic, that Matt would be diagnosed with brain cancer a year later. I remembered his message when I heared he was diagnosed, and he never swayed from what he preached. Jesus was enough for Matt too. That was encouraging for me to see when my family got our news a few years later).

    This may not be what you are looking for, but my point is, conferences have some value. God works in them. I believe God will work at T4G as well.

    Thanks for your response.

  179. Mot,

    Sorry if I protest too much. Is it ok to disagree around here? If not, then I will politely leave.

    As I mentioned to Dee, I am not far from where many of you stand. Just disagree on some things, and see some things differently than many of you on here.

    Sopwith,

    You certainly are a creative blogger.

    If the shoe fit’s, wear it?

    What if the shoe doesn’t fit for all those people at the conference. What if some don’t fit very well into this “stereotypical shoe” at all?

    Should we keep accusing and forcing this shoe to fit on people? or should we take a step back, and maybe realize not all is bad and evil in the world of T4G?

    You see something wrong with the picture.

    This is true. There is definitely some blemishes in this picture. There is some things that need to be addressed, some questions that have been left unanswered, even some ugly characteristics that make me question some things in this picture.

    But I also see some beauty in the picture. I see some value. I see some fruit that could come out of it.

    Maybe I am naive. Maybe not.

  180.  ”Questionable Public Pastorial Behavior Without Identifiable Accountability”

    HowDee YaAll,

       There have been much impugning of motives and much heated controversy as to the proper means and best mode of advancing the cause of identifying questionable public pastorial behavior without identifiable accountability.

    Seeker to Anon1:  ”What I DO MIND is attacking their character and stereotyping them when I have no evidence.”

    and:

    Seeker to Anon1: “Isn’t that called slander after all when we attack people when we don’t know them or have any evidence of their wrongdoing?”

    Yes, the issue here presented is referring to: “questionable public pastorial behavior without identifiable accountability”. 

    Yes, we are suggesting that some of these pastors cannot be trusted. 

    Yes, we are entitled to our questions. 

    Yes, those who have suffered abuse from the very ones entrusted with public trust are entitled to have their concerns addressed.

    Yes, we are in entitled to our doubts concerning a certain viability of specific uses of public trust, the office of Pastor being one of them. 

    Yes, we are entitled to debate these questions in a public forum with these public folk who have been entrusted with a certain spiritual well-being of those entrusted to their care. 

    Can we not expect these individuals to give an accounting of that public trust?

    When did we loose the privilege of disputing those in positions of public trust who identifiably mis-use their sacred office?

    Sopy

  181. The more I’ve thought about it, I’ve come to the theory that complementarianism is simply the result of trying to maintain a male only clergy system after divorcing it from the sacramental system. I mean, if you look at why Rome has only male priests, is for a completely different set of reasons. When low-church evangelicals who don’t believe that God works through bread and water, word and wine, try to maintain that tradition, they have to resort to some pretty impressive hermeneutical gymnastics in order to support it. But then, given that they are non-sacramental already, they’ve long since developed the dexterity. :P

  182. Sopy,

    “There have been much impugning of motives and much heated controversy as to the proper means and best mode of advancing the cause of identifying questionable public pastorial behavior without identifiable accountability.”

    Seriously. I don’t mind you questioning, having concerns, etc, etc. In fact, everything you have just said is correct. You should question, your concerns should be addressed, and you are most certainly entitled to debate these questions.

    I just don’t like the labels. I don’t like seeing things like “overwhelming majority” along with “destructive and rabid” labels in reference to the attendess. I think that is rather accusatory, and I feel I have a right to share my opinion that I don’t like it, espeically when those labels are attached to certain friends of mine when I know they don’t apply.

    If you and others feel the need to use labels to further your point…Go right ahead.

    Just don’t understand how you can perceive “questionable pastorial behavior” for 8000 pastors you don’t even know.

    Why? Because they went to T4G? Yeah, I guess that is why you question their pastoral behavior.

    “When did we loose the privilege of disputing those in positions of public trust who identifiably mis-use their sacred office?”

    Ok. When you identify the overwhelming majority of pastors at the conference who have mis-used their sacred office..I would love to talk. Then we can apply the labels.

    But aside from Mahaney and a few others….who do you have?

  183. HowDee YaAll,

    Seeker,

    Hey,

    Thank you for your participation in the discussion here.  

      I have read many of your coments. 

    I share your concern for your friends, the use of descriptive language, and  for innocent associations contained within (for example) “Together For The Gospel”, Acts 29, Mark 9, or SGM. 

    (And yes, guilt assigned by association has certainly had it’s advocates, over time immortal.)

       I share your concern over labels. You demonstrated concern for those involved with Together For The Gospel is also commendable, as is your loyalty to your friends. They must feel no small measure of comfort knowing you are there for them.  With the abundance of your concern for your dear friends, please continue to pray for them that God’s good measure would come to abundant fruition for the Gospel’s sake, -the fields being abundantly white with harvest as they are today.

    [Note: If a cord meant for a money changer has struck you or anyone you hold dear, by accident, may your heart be enlarged, as injustice is injustice regardless of the kindest intentions.]

      God has surely placed a fervor to see T4G come to an abundant fruition, within you!  May the abundance of God’s grace be available to you to dispense freely among those you know in attendance there at T4G this week.

    I hope you will continue to read and comment here at TWW. It is a remarkable environment. Faith and belief although encouraged, are not prerequisite. However I am reminded that courtesy, empathy and compassion for those who have severely endured abuse (many without a shred of advocacy) are not optional.

    Shoe size matters not for the abused of Jesus’ flock who come here for solis. 

    I hope you will understand.

    May the Gentle wind of God’s grace tickle your path…

    May the reflection of His dear sweet face increase as the distance in the race set before us shortens.

    With Kindness, 

    Sopy ㋡  
    ___
    (John 10:10)

    Doyle Dykes – “Me and Jesus and My Old Guitar”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_pX2iwsYWw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Intermission: MERLE TRAVIS “Cannonball Rag”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8vOTKMqzw4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  184. Seeker:

    You said to me:

    “Mot,

    Sorry if I protest too much. Is it ok to disagree around here? If not, then I will politely leave.

    As I mentioned to Dee, I am not far from where many of you stand. Just disagree on some things, and see some things differently than many of you on here.”

    IMHO you are far away from where many of us stand on this blog. You are certainly entitled to your views and so are we.

    BTW, I have not seen anybody ask you to leave.

  185. OT: I’ve been following the high-profile case that was mentioned, and Angela Corey will definitely need prayers in the months to come.

  186. mot
    The whole Andy Davis thing flabbergasted me because I know two of the people involved.They are very involved in ministry-prisons, medical, pregnancy support, church, etc. When I read his statements, I realized what a bunch of arrogant Pharisees are running the show in some churches. And he had the unmitigated gall to write about gossip and slander?

  187. Dee-

    You wrote-

    “Bridget2
    It has been a long time since things have been right. And CJ is being backed up by his buddies. But what about the people who have been hurt and are in pain?”

    We have our instructions. Did you forget? Ligon will remind you…

    “I would then encourage you to ignore the assaults of wounded people on attack websites and blogs, and that you discount the opinings of those who have no real knowledge of these matters or relation to SGM or authority to comment upon them, and that you refrain from assuming that you (or they) are in a position to render judgment on these things.”

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2011/07/a-word-about-cj-mahaney-and-so.php

    Ignore, discount, refrain…got it…pastor? Duncan.

    That sentence send shivers down my spine. I like to remind myself and others of it-right from the pen of one of our C.J. Mahaney supporting, highly esteemed, T4G Christian leaders. Jesus says,

    “”Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.” Matt 23:10 nasb

  188. Seeker
    As you know, I have written that I respect David Platt. Francis Chan is another guy I like as well. I do like it when people make radical life changes to follow God’s calling in their lives. Also, my daughter attended Platt’s church when she lived there and now my son does as well. I feel sorry for the couple that got burned out, following a works oriented type of gospel. I certainly hope that Platt and others have reached out to them and clarified their views on this sort of sacrifice.

    These situations can be very disheartening. I have known missionaries who have experienced such difficulties. Here is what i hope Platt does. I hope he writes a book and clarifies his teaching in this area. Since the couple has chosen to talk about this publicly he has some freedom to do so. It is just like Joshua Harris who is also involved in T4G and a protege of Mahaney. He has been the advocate of “courtship”, extolling the virtues of doing things this way. According to SGM Survivors, in one of his books, I believe it was “Boy Meets Girl” he talks about a few couples, in depth, who followed his plan for a successful start to the marriage. Unfortunately I believe 2 or 3 of the couples are now divorced. He is rereleasing his book which deeply concerns me. One man, who was written about, has posted extensively on that blog. Harris should take this opportunity to let people know that his method is no better than any other methods for approaching dating and marriage.Frankly, he should pull the book.

    I think, whenever new groups get going, there is this “rah rah” chorus of “we’ve got it all figured out.” And unsuspecting people jump on the bandwagon assuming that this is the correct way to approach the faith and all the old ways of doing it were obviously wrong. What many forget is that we have not overcome the issues of a fallen world and that our “methods” are flawed as well.

    That is why i believe we must emphasize grace and freedom in our “methods.” We must be very, very careful in our proclamations that we have it together and that our leaders are somehow anointed a bit more than the rest of us. They are not, sadly, and CJs vaunted appearances at T4G and the accolades afforded him are causing pain in those wounded by SGM. I challenge everyone attending T4G to spend some time in prayer for the wounded at SGM, for the children abused and for the people who were sin sniffed to within an inch of their lives. CJ has gotten all the compassion. It must now be given to the others or this conference ends up being viewed as a “bless pastors and forget about the others” club.

    Seeker, could you please define for me what you mean by slander? That has become one of the buzz words of some of the leaders who don’t like the fact that the non-pastor types are raising questions.

  189. Seeker
    Be careful about Anonymous (the one from yesterday, not today), there are some issues there.

  190. Dee:

    You said:”I think, whenever new groups get going, there is this “rah rah” chorus of “we’ve got it all figured out.” And unsuspecting people jump on the bandwagon assuming that this is the correct way to approach the faith and all the old ways of doing it were obviously wrong. What many forget is that we have not overcome the issues of a fallen world and that our “methods” are flawed as well.”

    I often wonder what happens to ministers or others in the faith when their world falls apart.

    There is no one down here who has it all figured out.

  191. Sopy
    Well done! You have said some important things. let me build on them.

    I no longer “trust” anyone at face value. I used to believe that all leaders were worthy of respect and for years, I was blessed to know many great leaders. But, then I saw the underbelly and my false assumptions were challenged. I now understand that pastors and elders can be capable of great sin. I no longer believer that people should join a church and submit to elders and pastors via a membership covenant unless they have know these folks for YEARS which effectively means that I shall not submit myself in the short run.

    Until i have lived in community with some of these folks and watched them in their service and interactions with others,I will no longer “trust” them just because they are “pastors”, “elders” etc. Have I met leaders I can trust? Absolutely, I have named these on this blog. If they asked me to trust them on a matter, I most likely would do so. They have stood the test of time and exhibit vulnerability.

    In the meantime, I post my thoughts and feelings on this blog. And I get feedback and refinement.The marketplace of ideas provides accountability.Many night, I lie in bed and think about the pros and cons in the comments. I think more pastors and leaders should provide a forum for critique of their ideas. Instead, they throw out their ideas and often do not allow comments, or, if they do, they delete critical comments. What are they afraid of?

  192. Diane
    Hmmm, Duncan may have said more than he intended to say. Why should we ignore the “wounded” people on these sites? So, he is admitting that wounding occurred? Now, they are hurt and we need to ignore them? Sounds really godly to me!

  193. That is right Dee…that is what sends the shivers. That’s why I put a ? after pastor.

    There are wounded, but ignore them because whatever these wounded are saying (on the blogs) are assaults against one of us (leaders).

    And who has the “authority to comment upon them” and “render judgment on these things?” My goodness…one cannot even open one’s mouth to voice an opinion, I guess. It is an incredible sentence.

  194. “There are wounded, but ignore them because whatever these wounded are saying (on the blogs) are assaults against one of us (leaders).

    And who has the “authority to comment upon them” and “render judgment on these things?” My goodness…one cannot even open one’s mouth to voice an opinion, I guess. It is an incredible sentence.”

    There is a reason they believe only a few have “authority to speak” to these things. And what is interesting is that John Immel covers this very thing in depth in his book, Blight in the Vineyard. And uses SGM as an example.

  195. “The marketplace of ideas provides accountability”

    Dee, this is IT. And why they cannot ignore it and must call it gossip and divisiveness. They must make the marketplace of ideas a sinful place. They must convince folks they cannot think and come to the right conclusions or understand the bible without them.

    Their self anointing game cannot stand when entered into the marketplace of ideas, discussed, and analyzed. And this includes their twisted interpretations of the bible to give themselves power over people.

  196. Seeker, regarding the attending of conferences, here’s the danger though. It’s much easier to attend a conf, stand next to people that you don’t know, sing some nice songs, feel good about yourself, feel good about God, and go home. That’s why these things are so popular. On a quick side note, I’m not opposed to a Pastor’s conf. Those guys need to be refreshed and encouraged. Those are different that one like T4G. But it comes down to this question: what is real Christianity? To far too many in our country, real Christianity is defined as hearing the best public speakers and giving mental ascent to the proper set of beliefs. Now, they would never admit this, but if you observe behavior, that’s precisely what they live out. That’s why these confs are so popular. It also speaks to how highly gnostic today’s Evangelical church really is. The more knowledge we possess, the more we know ABOUT God, the better Christians we are. Again, that’s why these confs are so popular. I would suggest that real Christianity, on a horizontal level, is about being involved in each other’s lives. Genuinely caring for others. Hurting when they hurt. Crying when they cry. It’s often dirty and quite messy, but that’s real life, and it’s also why so many avoid it. It’s much easier to just listen to a great public speaker and it’s better to just attend a conf where you can just fit in with the crowd. It’s also why the mega “churches” are so wildly popular.

  197. Anon1, love your post from 8:58 last night.

    That’s a big reason why in recent times, I find myself incredibly drawn to the liturgical churches. Say what you will about them, but know this: In their services, it is SOOOOO NOT about the pastor.

  198. Dee, I sort of cringe, laugh, and roll my eyes, all at the same time, whenever I hear the cry of “slander, gossip!”

    Experience has taught me that whenever “church” “leaders” issue that cry, they are playing their last card. They know they have wronged people and they simply have nothing else to say.

  199. Sopy,

    You said,

    “I hope you will continue to read and comment here at TWW. It is a remarkable environment. Faith and belief although encouraged, are not prerequisite. However I am reminded that courtesy, empathy and compassion for those who have severely endured abuse (many without a shred of advocacy) are not optional.

    Shoe size matters not for the abused of Jesus’ flock who come here for solis.

    I hope you will understand”

    Thanks for your gracious response. I will continue to read and comment on this blog, as long as I am allowed, and I do find it a remarkable place of varied opinions. If I didn’t, I would not participate in the conversation.

    I want to apologize to everyone if I have come across as not compassionate or showing empathy for those who are spiritually abused. This was never my intention, and I certainly have empathy and compassion for those who suffer that plight.

    I realize many on here have suffered at the hands of pastors and leaders in the church in many ways that I could never fathom or fully understand.

    I also realize that because of this, many may pause, question, or become concerned about any leader in a church. I completely understand why you all are questioning those that attend T4G, with Mahaney on stage, I think questions should be asked.

    I have no problem with concerns, questions, etc….

    I responded the way I did because I saw comments that went beyond concerns and questions. They were labels that (to me) assassinated the character of a broad spectrum of people that we don’t know.

    When questions/concerns become assumptions based on little to no evidence, it just doesn’t seem right. And although I myself cannot verify what character these pastors have, I don’t want to assume the worst in them. Certainly, I would not fully trust them, but I would not label and attack their character unless there was good reason.

    I can verify however, with those that are attending that I personally know, that they are far from some of the labels mentioned on here. You are right Sopwith, I do have loyalty to these guys that I care for and have seen their fruit in pasotral ministry. I responded the way I did in a lot of ways because of them, because I know that there are some good pastors out there in spite of the bad that exists, and many of those good pastor are in attendance at T4G.

    With all that said, I should have toned it down a bit. I know people on here respond and comment because of a lot of pain that has happened in their past. Sometimes that pain transcends beyond questions/concerns into stereotypes/labels. If I were in your shoes, I am not so certain I would not do the same thing. I don’t want to diminish the pain that they suffered at the hands of these pastors, nor discount their concern over anyone in leadership.

    My goal was simply to say that not all is bad in the world of T4G. There is some beauty to it. I believe God will work through many of the pastors in attendance at this conference and has already worked through many of their lives. As I said before, there is also some blemishes.

    I would love nothing more than to see Matt Chandler, David Platt, and others to speak up against the likes of Mahaney and Driscoll. (By the way, I have started looking at the Mahaney documentation on wikileaks…It is a tremendous amount of information, but I am trying to understand it all better.)

    Hopefully this will happen sooner than later.

  200. Dee,

    You said,

    “These situations can be very disheartening. I have known missionaries who have experienced such difficulties. Here is what i hope Platt does. I hope he writes a book and clarifies his teaching in this area”

    Dee, I hope Platt reached out to this couple as well. I really, from my take on the sermons I have listened too and Radical/Radical Together, do not see him advocating a works based/performance based theology.

    He has emphasized and clarified time and time again that Jesus is the primary focus that leads us to “good works.” I don’t know much more how he could clarify this, as I found that to be the case when I read/listened to his sermons from the beginning. However, if he writes another book, I hope he will bring further clarity to the dangerous temptation to “perform” for Jesus rather than fall in love with Jesus and respond to that love with good works.

    Dee, you also said,

    “Seeker, could you please define for me what you mean by slander? That has become one of the buzz words of some of the leaders who don’t like the fact that the non-pastor types are raising questions.”

    I will try my best to define it.

    For me, I find that we slander when we attack someone, accuse someone, and make false assumptions or bring false information against someone when there is no evidence to allow for such attacks, accusations, assumptions, and false information.

    For example,

    I see no problem with this blog attacking Mahaney or Driscoll. There is ample evidence to bring attacks against them.

    I don’t even see a problem for attacking guys that I respect like Chandler and Platt because of their silence on these issues—I myself am bothered by this.

    I don’t see a problem having concerns about those that are in attendance at T4G or even asking questions about their heart or motivation…

    All of the above is not slander.

    To me, slander comes into play when we call those in attendance that we do not know “destructive”, “rabid”, “defenders of spiritual abuse”, “bad pastors”, “young people who don’t care about the elderly”, “arrogant”, etc, etc…

    If we know people who fall into this, then by all means, the labels apply. But if we don’t know these people, then I find it unwise to bring these accusatory labels into play.

    You may find slander to be something different…but this is my take on it.

    And just a note…slander can come from anyone…pastor’s included.

  201. Seeker – it’s interesting to me that you say that TWW “attacks” people.

    Because I don’t see that happening – what I *do* see is forthright critique, which isn’t the same thing as attack.

    Not sure why these things seem to devolve into 2 sides – one “right,” the other “wrong,” when in fact there can be (and are) multiple perspectives out here.

  202. Mot,

    You said,

    “IMHO you are far away from where many of us stand on this blog. You are certainly entitled to your views and so are we.

    BTW, I have not seen anybody ask you to leave.”

    That is your opinion of course. Still wondering why you think that. It is true I find respect for some guys that you most likely do not (Chandler and Platt) although I don’t agree with everything they stand on.

    It is true that I don’t want to make broad generalizations and label people when I see no evidence to do so..although many on here call the latter “critique”/”concerns”.

    I am sympathetic and care for the Spiritually Abused..as do you. It breaks my heart to see things like this happen.

    I am not completely sold out on a Comp viewpoint..or Egalitarian for that matter…I am still seeking where I stand on those issues…So I can’t really stand against you there.

    I am apalled at Driscoll, Mahaney, some elements within A29, the attitudes of many Calvinistas (if not all leaders of various types)…although I am not throwing out the good I see with the bad. There are still some good elements, (I believe) in A29, T4G, Calvinistas, etc..etc..

    I am not a big fan of megachurches, I am part of a small church community with a Pastor I trust fully. I choose to listen to some mega pastors like Platt and Chandler because I respect much of what they say (not all). I will say that I think some mega’s are doing the best they can in their situation, but I still don’t think it is the “ideal” setting.

    You might be surprised that I stand with a lot of things said on Wartburg, I just have a different take on some of your opinions.

    I know no one has asked me to leave, but if you think my disagreements and “protests” are somehow disrupting this conversation…I can leave. I am here to participate, but if my participation annoys you, I by no means want to annoy or offend anyone..

    Thanks for your response!

  203. Numo,

    You said,

    “Seeker – it’s interesting to me that you say that TWW “attacks” people.

    Because I don’t see that happening – what I *do* see is forthright critique, which isn’t the same thing as attack.”

    If you think calling someone “destructive”, “rabid”, etc, etc is just a forthright critique..especially considering said person you are critiquing is someone you don’t even know…then I honestly don’t understand. Calling someone “destructive” is very much an attack of their character. If there is evidence of their destruction, then by all means say it.

    If you want to call Mahaney as such, then I can see that..but these labels went towards the “overwhelming majority” of attendees at this conference.

    I just don’t get it..That is all.

    That would be like me saying I find all Muslims to be “rabid” and “destructive” because of 9/11.

    Tell me, is that fair? I don’t see the difference in that and saying the “overwhelming majority” of Pastors at T4G are destructive because one of T4G’s speakers has been destructive.

  204. Numo,

    You said,

    “Seeker – it’s interesting to me that you say that TWW “attacks” people.

    Because I don’t see that happening – what I *do* see is forthright critique, which isn’t the same thing as attack.”

    If you think calling someone “destructive”, “rabid”, etc, etc is just a forthright critique..especially considering said person you are critiquing is someone you don’t even know…then I honestly don’t understand. Calling someone “destructive” is very much an attack of their character. If there is evidence of their destruction, then by all means say it.

    If you want to call Mahaney as such, then I can see that..but these labels went towards the “overwhelming majority” of attendees at this conference.

    I just don’t get it..That is all.

    That would be like me saying I find all Muslims to be “rabid” and “destructive” because of 9/11.

    Tell me, is that fair? I don’t see the difference in that and saying the “overwhelming majority” of Pastors at T4G are destructive and rabid because one of T4G’s speakers has had inappropriate behavior as a leader or because of X Calvinista.

  205. Alan,

    You said,

    “I would suggest that real Christianity, on a horizontal level, is about being involved in each other’s lives. Genuinely caring for others. Hurting when they hurt. Crying when they cry. It’s often dirty and quite messy, but that’s real life, and it’s also why so many avoid it. It’s much easier to just listen to a great public speaker and it’s better to just attend a conf where you can just fit in with the crowd. It’s also why the mega “churches” are so wildly popular.

    I don’t disagree with this. I am not saying “real Christianity” is found in the conference scene. Real Christianity is most definitely found in your local church community (if in a megachurch, hopefully found in a small group community you have plugged into–whether that be a home group or something else), in the streets, in the impoverished countries, in an among the least of these.

    I have said this before, and I will say this again. The Conference scene is a bonus. It is far from “real Christianity”, but I still believe God works among it, as my story I shared with you above mentioned.

    I can filter “the Real” from the conference. It is indeed sad that many cannot, and I cannot disagree with the danger that can be found in “megas” and “big conferences”…;

    Let me say this though, the same danger of missing out of “real Christianity” can happen in all churches of all sizes..Not just the big ones.

    I am in a community where all the churches are small. No megas here. But let me tell you, there are many churches here who are nothing more than a “country club”. There is none of what you mentioned above…It is just “something to go to” like a Friday night football game. Real community is absent. Real love is absent. I have seen this frequently in small churches in my area, so it is not about conferences or Megachurches. It can happen in every situation in Christendom.

  206. “To far too many in our country, real Christianity is defined as hearing the best public speakers and giving mental ascent to the proper set of beliefs.”

    Alan, you have nailed it. In cult parlance this is called “doctrine over people” and it is rampent in Christianity today. Does that mean doctrine is not important? No. What it means is that really correct doctrine in our hearts causes us to truly care about people and long for relationship. And it causes us to seek justice for those who have been oppressed, victimized, etc by the church systems. Doing such things in the Name of Jesus makes it worse. We expect bad treatment from the unbelievers. Not from those who make their living supposedly modeling Christ.

    “Now, they would never admit this, but if you observe behavior, that’s precisely what they live out. That’s why these confs are so popular. It also speaks to how highly gnostic today’s Evangelical church really is. The more knowledge we possess, the more we know ABOUT God, the better Christians we are. Again, that’s why these confs are so popular. I would suggest that real Christianity, on a horizontal level, is about being involved in each other’s lives. Genuinely caring for others. Hurting when they hurt. Crying when they cry. It’s often dirty and quite messy, but that’s real life, and it’s also why so many avoid it. It’s much easier to just listen to a great public speaker and it’s better to just attend a conf where you can just fit in with the crowd. It’s also why the mega “churches” are so wildly popular.”

    Ok, you are touching on something I have been really concerned about. This gnosticism that has permeated evangelical Christianity ESP in the Reformed movement. The way human authoritarianism works in these groups and churches is the belief that the leaders have “special knowledge” by designation of a title or the ability to draw many followers. People do not even know they are doing this. It is cult of personality. People ‘think’ they really know the guy on stage or the one who wrote that great book.

    You are right. The “Body of Christ” is about relationships. Period. And most people are hanging on the word of people they only know as a ‘talking head’ on a stage or by podcast.

  207. Seeker, I think the frustration of some of us is that people get so caught up in “how” something is said or the “tone” that they miss the glaring horror of what had been done to people in the Name of Jesus. And why others in a position to say something just stay silent or even help protect the bad guys.

    It gets old. This “you must say everything properly as I think it is proper” or I refuse to listen to the “content” and will spend my time rebuking people for “how” they say things. Why not ignore the “tone” or “how” it is said and deal with the content? It is as if the ones who are concerned about those spiritually abused are worst sinners for “how” they say something than those mocking Christ by spiritually abusing!

    I see it so much that I think it is really a tactic to keep the focus off their idols that are falling. If we can make those who mention the problems, the bad guys, then we don’t have to think about the situations concerning these guys we follow or like. People get very attached to talking heads. It is amazing.

  208. Seeker said, “But regardless of all that, I still choose to believe that many are going to this conference because they love Jesus and His good news, not because they want to participate in celebrity worship and support spiritual abusers.”

    If those “many” would have left their seats and walked out en masse when the “spiritual abusers” take the stage, you would find a much more sympathetic audience here. But the reality is they did not. They applaud. They remain silent. And by their silence they send the message that they are in solidarity with the abusers – as someone once said, “If you don’t say it’s wrong then that says it’s right.”

    “But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.” — John 12:42-43

  209. HowDee YaAll,

    Seeker,

    Hey,

    Thank-You for your very thoughtful response in your (12th, 12:57 pm) comment.

    I understand.

    I can’t possibly expect you to get right the first time. Itz a lot to take in.  I mean we are really talking eye opening burnt toast here, the likes of which many have never seen before, so an Ah! Ha! moment is expected!  It is certainly not for the vision impaired…know what I mean, Vern?

    But…

    wait for it…wait for it… Ah yeah…wait for it…

    here it comes…

    “Bam 97x, da future of rock n’ roll…”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw-xUPSm8tc&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    “Brother,  I knowz your in dar somewhere…”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if8dDNhaea0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Yes, Seeker -the injury runs deep, and yes! it can be very messy. This is not about changing dippers, this is about doing an exploritory only to find the patent suffering the debilitating effects of slow moving spiritually life threatening church borne cancer, laden with previous attempts of profoundly incompetent pastors to mask the cause.

    I will pray for you as you make your attempt to examine the SGM wiki material (and yes it is a lot of ground to cover). Please prayerfully pace yourself, as this wikileaks material, and the numerous testimonies over at SGM refuge & SGM survivors are not for the faint of heart. 

    Truly, the rabbit hole runs deep!

    Be safe Brother,

    (I have an extra Teddy Bear, if you need it…He’s the one with da pretty ‘blue’ bow-tie on!)

    Present!: This one is for you! :  Third Day, singing: “I’ve Always Loved You + I Will Always Be True”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfXhWoBUi-k&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    With Kindness,

    Sopy ㋡  

  210. Anon1,

    “It gets old. This “you must say everything properly as I think it is proper” or I refuse to listen to the “content” and will spend my time rebuking people for “how” they say things. Why not ignore the “tone” or “how” it is said and deal with the content? It is as if the ones who are concerned about those spiritually abused are worst sinners for “how” they say something than those mocking Christ by spiritually abusing!

    I see it so much that I think it is really a tactic to keep the focus off their idols that are falling. If we can make those who mention the problems, the bad guys, then we don’t have to think about the situations concerning these guys we follow or like. People get very attached to talking heads. It is amazing.”

    Ok. I get your frustration. Let me try to explain some things. I have spent a lot of time over the past few days trying to explain where I am coming from. I just don’t think I am coming across very well. I will try once again.

    First off,

    I AM listening to the content that has been presented. I hear you. I really do. In the case of Mahaney, Driscoll, or any other spiritual leader that has committed abuse—it is an atrocity. It needs to stop. Please, in the case of those who are guilty of these atrocities, please do not let them off the hook. I will join with you in that.

    That is one reason why I follow this blog…to be informed of what is going on. I may have different opinions on some levels, but I am not here to “bash” and “protest” for the sake of it. I read most of what Dee and Deb writes on here and agree with most of their sentiments. I am also (as of late) trying to follow the outside links that Dee and Deb have placed on here…(I am presently trying to scroll through the endless documentation of Mahaney to learn more about the whole situation)

    Please hear me say this. I really do hear you. I really do understand.

    Let me ask you a question. Please answer this for me. Do you honestly think it is right and ok to describe people you don’t know at all as destructive, rabid, and any other accusatory label when you have no idea what their true heart or their motive is?

    Sure, you can “assume” all day long they are [insert label, stereotype] because they are at T4G…but unless you know them personally, you really have no clue. Truth be told, I barely know the people there as well, I only know my friends who have attended.

    I hope the best for the Pastors there. I hope they are sincere, genuine followers of Christ, but I am certainly not guaranteed the latter. However, just because I am not certain they are decent pastors, does not mean I should go off on a tangent and label them. Until I have good reason, it is best to keep the tongue at bay in my opinion.

    So again, do you honestly think it is ok to label as I have stated above for those you don’t know?

    Now let me answer your concerns. I am not trying to perform a magic trick here or some tactic to make the issue of spiritual abusers disappear. Nor am I trying to say that the sin of applying labels/stereotyping people is worse off than the sin of Spiritual Abuse. Obviously they both have different consequences. Obviously (it should be at least)…they are both wrong.

    (And how you say things is important and speaking negative things over people when there is no ground for such is no “small sin” btw…Doesn’t the book of James address the tongue?)

    Here is the crazy thing—I originally posted on this article in response to a commentor who used some pretty abrasive labels for those who attend this conference. I wasn’t looking for an apology, I just wanted to mention that I knew some people who was going to this conference that didn’t “fit the label”..My goal was simply to say that there is some good within the bad at T4G. That there was some beauty along with the blemishes.

    This commentor responded graciously and agreed with me about the stereotyping. I am glad someone “got” where I was coming from. I am thankful for this commentor.

    I just don’t understand really. Am I missing something. Is it really okay to stereotype people when you have no evidence? This blog is filled with labels—(Most of the time, those labels are used appropriately)—-but in my time here, long before I have ever commented, I have seen these labels stretch into broad generalizations/stereotypes on people that they should not belong.

    Just an opinion here, but I think this community as a whole could make more of an impact against Spiritual Abuse by not resorting to labeling/stereotyping people they don’t know. I think making assumptions and accusations is the wrong way to go when the latter is not based on any evidence. I think it will add more credibility and add more to the intelligent forum that is already in place.

    Isn’t stereotyping/labeling a tactic used by many of these leaders who are guilty of abusing people? Wasn’t that a fatal flaw of Mahaney? He made bad judgments of people did he not?

    Copied directly from Brent’s documentation regarding Mahaney—

    “Can judge or prematurely come to conclusions about others based on limited or incomplete information.”

    Hmmm…Is this not the same trait that is happening in regards to the stereotypes on here in various comments?

    Is this ok? It should be wrong on all accounts, no matter who it comes from.

    I am not saying concerns, questions, doubt, suspicions, should not be raised by those attending T4G because of the associations or your prior experience.

    I am not saying people should ignore the likes of Mahaney and others.

    I am most certainly not saying one should not “think” about the circumstances that have taken place.

    I hope this clears some things up. I hope you understand a little more the point I have been trying to make all along. I hope this eases some of your frustration.

    Thanks once again Anon1 for engaging with me in this conversation.

  211. “Let me ask you a question. Please answer this for me. Do you honestly think it is right and ok to describe people you don’t know at all as destructive, rabid, and any other accusatory label when you have no idea what their true heart or their motive is?’

    Thanks Seeker. I really do appreciate your irenic attempts to be understood. But let’s really take a deeper look. First of all I cannot know anyone’s true heart or motive. So, that is a misnomer that is misapplied in these situations all the time. All I can do is look at words and actions. So, I cannot go there with “true heart” or motives. In fact, this is used all the time in abusive systems (I know you did not mean it that way but you have probably picked this up from some of these leaders) in phrases such as: Believe the best or trust positive intentions. Sounds good. But is really stupid. We have actions and words to see. A good tree does not produce rotten fruit. That is our standard. We just have to define fruit.

    “I just wanted to mention that I knew some people who was going to this conference that didn’t “fit the label”..My goal was simply to say that there is some good within the bad at T4G. That there was some beauty along with the blemishes.”

    I have one staying at my house. Very curteous young man who is besotted by these guys. He is young and I do fear what he will become under their mentoring. These guys are so impressionable thinking being involved with these leaders is holy! For shame!

    So, why are 7000 guys supporting these guys who are either guilty of spiritual abuse or protecting abusers? Are they ignorant? Did they just not bother to check on those teaching? Did they just believe what the celebrities said about each other and did no checking on their own? Or, perhaps they think that whatever these guys do is godly. The last one is the one I think fits best knowing what I know. Most of these guys do not think for themselves.

    You see, there really is no excuse. I can excuse one commenter using such language you found offensive and overlook it even ignore it. What I cannot overlook are SGM pastors who were taught to NOT call authorities when a father in the church is raping his daughter and counseling the mother to send the girl away so he could be “head” of the house. Sorry, but that is just me. And that is ONE of the horror stories. And believe me, Mohler has thrown his share of people under the bus in his “career”, too.

    And I wish I had the name of every single participant of T4G so we could warn their churches. I am that strongly opposed to spiritual abuse in the Name of Jesus.

  212. Seeker –

    Your point that you will not stop pressing “feels” very much like the “you better shut up” tactics that people experience during emotional, verbal and spiritual abuse. If you will not understand that, you will not understand why you are not making very much headway here.

    I have a piece of advice for you. Next time, talk about the victims of abuse for 20 or so paragraphs. And I mean talk about them – you say that you will join the people here in not letting the abusers off the hook. Please do so. Try to show as much passion for that as you do for correcting the commenters here for generalizing about T4G.

    Then make your point in 4 paragraphs. Yes, I counted the paragraphs of your last comment to Anon1. It is an example of why you are not making much headway here. We can hear you, but we’re just not feeling that you are on our side as much as you say you are. (Which isn’t much – 4 paragraphs compared to the 20 you spend taking us to task and explaining why you feel you need to.)

    Yes, I hear you – I was in an Acts 29 plant. It was a horrible experience. I can tell you that one of our pastors is a wonderful guy that I would never paint with the same brush that I would paint the lead pastor with. But singing his (the worship pastor’s) praises does nothing to fix any problems, of which there were many.

  213. Anon,

    You said,

    “If those “many” would have left their seats and walked out en masse when the “spiritual abusers” take the stage, you would find a much more sympathetic audience here. But the reality is they did not. They applaud. They remain silent. And by their silence they send the message that they are in solidarity with the abusers – as someone once said, “If you don’t say it’s wrong then that says it’s right.”

    “But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.” — John 12:42-43

    Anon,

    I understand what you are saying. I don’t necessarily disagree with you. I know it has been said before, but I think many of these pastors simply don’t know about Mahaney…or they have not researched the situation fully on their own.

    Maybe they listened to these other leaders who rose to his defenese, and left it at that. They didn’t take their research to the level this blog has taken.

    I know this displays a bit of ignorance on their part, and probablly a lack of wisdom. I don’t think this should disqualify them from the pastorate or a teacher of God’s word..as has been suggested..Nor do I think you should write them off because of their ignorance.

    For those that simply have no clue—Well, I sympathise with them. Outside of this blog, I had never heard the name Mahaney. And only in the last few days have I begun to start pouring over the documentation.

    I think many pastors fall into this category, obviously the ones outside of the SGM camp. They are busy at their churches, visiting, serving, counseling, teaching, involved in missions within their local community. Preparing for Sundays….

    Then they hear about a Pastors conference–T4G. They desire to get away with a fellow pastor friend, or on their own to “refresh” and “step outside” of their local context for a few days. They look forward to the teaching of guys like David Platt (at least I would)… They see the names of guys speaking that have written books they may have read. These books often give no indication of the author’s sins..so this is not a red flag for them.

    So they go. They applaud. All the while not knowing the person they are applauding has done some really shady, messed up stuff.

    And here is something—Many of these pastors in that category will go to enjoy fellowship with fellow Pastors. They will worship Christ while they are there and probablly find time to gain some intimacy with Him. They have no ill motive in going to this, and they have no desire to worship a man.

    They will gain a lot from some of the teaching…(Haven’t listened to the messages yet so not sure what they will actually gain)…and God will most likely use his word to convict these Pastors where needed. The Holy Spirit is fully capable of that.

    They go and they truly are ignorant of the whole situation.

    Now…It is most definitely a certainty that many at this conference are fully aware of Mahaney’s actions. They go, because:

    1. They are likeminded with Mahaney. Believe in the “authority” he has. Do not consider his “abuse” as “abuse”. (regardless of the documentation)

    2. They know. They don’t care for Mahaney, but want to attend the conference regardless. They in essence choose to ignore him. So they treat it like a buffet—(Picking and Choosing who they care to listen too–filtering out the others).

    The latter is not right, but I would not go as far as saying they are defenders of abuse. They are misguided, but I don’t think they would intend to support an abuser.

    3. They know, it bothers them, they even go as far to engage others around them about the problems that Mahaney has done, but they still choose to attend the conference for other reasons. (Heck, maybe even some brave pastor might ask Mahaney some questions regarding his accusations if Mahaney would humble himself enough to talk with them)

    The last is a bit more farfetched than the last two, I know.

    Anon, Please understand. The silence thing bothers me. I don’t understand the full complexity of this situation..but I find it difficult that Pastors (Chandler, Platt) that I respect for reasons I have already stated earlier are not willing to speak out against Driscoll/Mahaney/and others.

    It certainly affirms what I already knew—no man is above sin. I respect Chandler and Platt for so many reasons–but their silence shows their unwillingness to “rock the boat”. I really don’t want to assume WHY they are not speaking, I just knows it bothers me. I just know it is wrong, and they would bring so much more respect from my way if they would speak up and say something.

    But again, I am by no means “writing them off”. It has certainly given me something to pray about for them. I belive God could gain so much glory, I believe a lot of these spiritual abuse problems could end, if only some of these men who have borne so much fruit in so many other ways could just have courage and speak out.

    I think it could bring some changes and “wake up” some of these problems that have fallen into the reformed groups, and possibly, all Christian groups who suffer from these problems.

    Thanks for your response!

  214. Dana,

    Thanks for your advice.

    A few things:

    I am hoping that someone connected to the abusers will call these abusers out. I also am heartbroken over those abused by the hands of Mahaney and Driscoll. Please understand though, I don’t understand all the complexities about Mahaney yet and these cases of abuse.

    I haven’t spent a lot of time on the SGM survivor site. This is the only blog I ever read. I have followed the stories represented on here at times about various forms of abuse, and I by no means have ignored that.

    The thing is, I hardly know anything about SGM or the abused in that situation. I honestly don’t feel qualified to discuss this until I research the whole thing entirely…which takes time…the documentation itself is hundreds of pages long. It is a book.

    I have stated time and time again that I don’t agree with this abuse. I think it is an atrocity. My heart breaks for the people involved. I am not as connected to this as many on here, but I can certainly sympathize with you, will pray for the healing that the abused need, will hope and pray some justice will come to Mahaney and Driscoll. I hope this type of abuse will be purged from the church.

    Dana, I never intended this conversation to go as far as it did. I disagreed with one commentor about how some things were presented in a comment. This person agreed….Then everyone seemed to have a lot to say towards me all of a sudden.

    So I responded back to their points giving them my take. Wouldn’t you do the same? I felt strongly that I need to speak out against labeling/stereotyping…I still do..whether people here see it that way or not.

    But I am truly sorry Dana, for not discussing the abused in 20 paragraphs, and not meeting your expectations to prove that I am with you.

    You honestly don’t have to believe a word I say. It is not my goal to “prove” myself or “make headway” with anyone on this board. It would make this conversation a bit more constructive I am sure if everyone did not feel that I am the “enemy” or “against” you.

    It is my intention to be informed. Share my thoughts on that information. Share my agreements/disagreements when I can.

    Again, You don’t have to believe me when I say I am with you and on your side, but I AM with you, whether you believe it or not.

  215. “I know this displays a bit of ignorance on their part, and probablly a lack of wisdom. I don’t think this should disqualify them from the pastorate or a teacher of God’s word..as has been suggested..Nor do I think you should write them off because of their ignorance.”

    It is interesting that ignorance of a law will not be accepted by our system of justice as an excuse not to be charged if you break that law. Yet we accept that as an excuse for the many who attend T4G and do not know about the spiritual abuse charges and protection from the men who ARE T4G? It is so easy to find. All you have to do is google. But we are to accept ignorance as a good reason for educated men?

  216. Anon1,

    Thanks for responding and answering the question.

    You said,

    “You see, there really is no excuse. I can excuse one commenter using such language you found offensive and overlook it even ignore it. What I cannot overlook are SGM pastors who were taught to NOT call authorities when a father in the church is raping his daughter and counseling the mother to send the girl away so he could be “head” of the house. Sorry, but that is just me. And that is ONE of the horror stories. And believe me, Mohler has thrown his share of people under the bus in his “career”, too.

    And I wish I had the name of every single participant of T4G so we could warn their churches. I am that strongly opposed to spiritual abuse in the Name of Jesus.”

    I guess I would disagree with you on why you would excuse labeling/stereotyping BUT…

    I understand why you are passionate to not excuse the things you stated. That is beyond a horror story..that is plain sick. I really am lost for words why any church leader would endorse such things.

    Can you link where you have read this story before, or point me to the website that has it? I am trying to read the documentation, but I have not seen anything like this story on there yet. Just curious where I can read some of these stories…. trying to educate myself a bit more on all of this.

    Just curious—have you asked the guy staying with you about the whole Mahaney situation? Have you talked to him about this? Does he know what Mahaney has done?

    I know he is your guest and that may not be the wisest time to discuss these matters…just wondering what his reaction would be.

    The more I learn…the more I will join in with you to warn other church leaders about Mahaney to watch out. The more I learn, the more I continue to question why someone like David Platt–who has exhibited fruit in many other ways—would choose to remain silent.

    Thanks Anon1

  217. But we are to accept ignorance as a good reason for educated men?

    Valid points. It is a curious question.

    If I were attending the conference, I would probablly google most if not all the leaders to learn a bit more about them.

    However, Sometimes people just accept the description given on the conference website about the panel speakers. That is enough for them.

    Sometimes people read a book from these authors, and that is enough for them.

    Maybe they stumble across a blog such as this, and dismiss it before even giving it a chance because the accusations sound so “out there” compared to what they think they know.

    Again, I am not saying this is a “good” thing.

    It shows lack of wisdom, and as you said, shows a lack of deep thought on their part. I still think many of these people are genuine, educated, and all around good people who love Jesus despite their ignorance and their inability to look deeper.

    I have a lot more to learn myself, so it is hard for me to understand why so many people could be blind to what you say is so easy to find.

  218. Seeker, What makes it particularly egregious they do not do their homework is that many of the attendees are PASTORS or wannabe pastors. And they go back to their churches and quote these guys. So more of the same blindness.

    “Can you link where you have read this story before, or point me to the website that has it? I am trying to read the documentation, but I have not seen anything like this story on there yet. Just curious where I can read some of these stories…. trying to educate myself a bit more on all of this.”

    4-5 years worth of stuff on sgmsurvivors

    “Just curious—have you asked the guy staying with you about the whole Mahaney situation? Have you talked to him about this? Does he know what Mahaney has done?”

    He leaves early and comes home about 11 pm worn out. I have enough trouble keeping Grandpa from wearing him out about the “pope of the SBC” in the morning over coffee. I did tell him about sgmsurivors and say sweetly the victims of Mahaney’s abuse deserved some of his attention, too. But he is besotted with them. Poor guy. It must be hard to come back to a place he knows is not besotted with them at all after being on his Amway convention high. And that is what I think it really is. My goal is to keep him well fed with a good night sleep so he is less brainwashed. I send him off with a nice big lunch packed. The poor guy is broke and literally used last money for gas. And food down there is expensive!

  219. Anon!,

    The “Convention High” is absolutely right! What happens at these kinds of events (been there, done that) is that you feel such euphoria during the event and for the first day or so when you go home. Then when you settle back down in the days following the event (no more stimulating music, speakers, or a throng of people), you almost get depressed and want to go back!

    It’s a form of mind control. I will do some research on this phenomenon and hopefully write a post. It’s real because I’ve experienced it numerous times myself.

  220. Seeker, Anon 1, and everybody else –

    Just following this conversation between all of you is making me break out in sweat. :) This must be a very difficult thing to discuss, but you are all trying hard to be clear and intelligent and kind. Thank you. I am learning with Seeker and have been praying alongside all of you today.

  221. René,

    I’ve been so preoccupied writing the posts that I haven’t had time to read all the comments. :-( I will try to catch up tomorrow.

    Dee and I have been following SGM Survivors for almost as long as Anon1. SGM Refuge has also been a great resource! We have never been involved in SGM, but we have learned so much from those who have. That’s why we are passionate about getting the truth out.

    For those of you who find this information beyond belief, just give it some time. It’s hard to process all of this in a short amount of time. Some of us have been discussing it for YEARS!

    Our primary goal here at TWW is to educate our brothers and sisters in Christ to make informed decisions. Ignorance is NOT bliss!

  222. Anon1,

    I appreciate the kindness that you are showing him, and I hope he remembers what you said to him about the sgmsurvivors.

    I sincerely hope this blindness will not continue as it has been.

    This is why I hope someone like Platt or Chandler, will be willing to at least say “something” in regards to these issues. If they continue to remain silent, then it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    Platt and Chandler both have children of their own. Would they agree with the stance that Mahaney took in regards to the child abuse? I just find it hard to believe they would agree…

    If they don’t agree, then I find it hard to believe they would remain silent. Do they mistrust the information that is out there that accuses Mahaney? Or are they just avoiding a confrontation?

    Anyway, in my opinion, It will be far more effective for someone like that to speak up for the blindness to fall away for many people. So many ignore the truth, fail to search for it, or are sceptical or confused as those on that pyro blog mentioned in another post here…Truly, if it wasn’t for Wartburg, it probablly would not have been long before I would have stumbled across Mahaneys name whether in a book or something else.

    And to be honest, I would probablly have missed his true self in all of this as well.

    Rene,

    Thank you for your kind words and your prayers. Glad I am not the only one around here who has some things to learn about all of this.

    By the way,

    Sopwith,

    Thanks for your encouraging words as well from earlier…(and your prayers)

  223. Seeker-

    Like everyone says, there are years of blogs posts to go through on the SGM mess. Here are a few:

    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/?p=2623&cp=all#comments

    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/?p=2658&cp=all#comments

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2011/08/24/sinfully-craving-truth-families-of-sgm-abused-children-respond/

    I wish I could find the stories that preceded the apology (or whatever it was) found in that last link. It’s late and I need to get on to some work.

  224. Dana,

    Thank you so much for the links. I was able to read all of them and some additional comments.

    Initial response:

    I feel sick. I am a bit nauseated to think that anyone, especially pastors, would tell a parent of an abused child to “not call the police, let the church handle it.”

    I don’t get it. In any other place in society, it is common sense to call upon the law in abusive situations like this. The pastors should have immediatley advised to call the police, and support the victims fully. Then they should have supported the police, investigators, etc by any possible way.

    It is amazing some leaders of the church had to be essentially forced to testify at court on behalf of the victims.

    I know the abuser was an underage teenager..but they should have definitely spoken with and warned some of the families in the church that was associated with this teenager.

    The fear that they would be sued is just beyond cowardice. I know it is a delicate situation, but it seems they were more concerned about an organizations safety than the people within the organization.

    I know my thoughts are random right now…just going to take a while to process all this.

    I do have some questions though..

    How exaclty does SGM work? Was Mahaney a Pastor of all the other Pastors and SGM churches? Was he accountable to every church…or was this an isolated event at this particular SGM church (Fairfax I think)….In other words, Is Mahaney the guy behind the stage pulling all these strings, not saying pastors mentioned are not accountable to their own actions. Has Mahaney had other instances where he himself has acted this way in response to abuse? (I have still yet to finish looking through all the documentation by the Brent guy, but I am assuming this is similar to the Driscoll saga with his Elders he wanted to punch in the face).

    Honestly, I find it appalling that they would go to such lengths for “damage control” when hurting children were involved. A “peacemaker model” was mentioned. I couldn’t fathom being a parent of a hurting child having to deal with that…It is obvious reconciliation would be needed between those two families, but trying to “force” this in a time when the wounds are very raw is not the way to go in my opinion.

    Compassion and Grace needed to extend to both victim and victim’s family and perpetrator and perpertrator’s family…but not calling the authorities, not getting proper help for this teenager who obviously needs it, not counselling and pouring love onto the victims, not willing to be supportive of the court in regards to the victim, becoming paranoid because of a lawsuit, the deception…all the latter does nothing to extend compassion and grace in this situation.

    I understand the passion a little more from all of you now. This far exceeds, imo, what took place with Driscoll and his saga. This involves hurting children, and the response of the church was an Epic Fail.

    It is sad.

    I have so many questions. So many thoughts on this. I honestly can’t figure it out really. I knew Mahaney was an abusive leader ala Driscoll, but in light of all this I have just read, I can’t figure out why Mahaney is on the T4G panel in light of all that happened under his watch..If I were him, I would not want to speak to anyone.

    The only thing I can think of is that he has convinced himself that he has repented fully when he “stepped down” before and his time of repentance is over…Has he really repented though?

    Has he made any effort to reconcile with these families recently since he stepped down? I may have missed that, but it seemed after the outside mediator detailed the family as sinfully craving answers (weird)—he dropped it all together.

    I have said this before: It bothers me that guys like Platt and Chandler, who have borne some good fruit that can be observed, have not spoken out on this…I really don’t get it..

    Is it because many of the SGM Pastor’s and Mahaney have “apologized” and that apology was sufficient for them..or is it because many have defendeded the SGM Pastor’s by saying they have done nothing wrong in the first place.

    I just don’t get it..but I am certainly trying too.

    Still processing all this. It is getting late..and I need to get ready for work tomorrow.

    I will be praying though. I will be praying that guys like Chandler, Platt, and any other leader will be convicted by the Holy Spirit to make an effort to confront this problem within their associates and the within the church as a whole. I am also praying that they are not responsible for their own elements of spiritual abuse in their own churches, and if they are, they need to make it right.

    I will be praying that God will open the eyes of the pastors at T4G on some of the Mahaney issues, as he has mine even within some of the links I just read…

    I still believe there is good in that conference. I still believe that God can and most likely will work through that conference and the lives of many pastors there. I just hope people will not continue to walk in blindness. I hope Mahaney himself will become sincerely burdened, if he has not, and will make every effort to reconcile what has been wronged under his watch.

    It just saddens me that so much of this has happened. It saddens me that this scenario could “go down” in any place in society, especially the church.

    Good night Wartburg,

    and thanks for helping me see a little better. Thanks for being patient as well on my differing opinions with you.

  225. “You said:”I think, whenever new groups get going, there is this “rah rah” chorus of “we’ve got it all figured out.” And unsuspecting people jump on the bandwagon assuming that this is the correct way to approach the faith and all the old ways of doing it were obviously wrong. What many forget is that we have not overcome the issues of a fallen world and that our “methods” are flawed as well.”

    I often wonder what happens to ministers or others in the faith when their world falls apart.”

    I can tell you what happened to many in the Crossroads/ICOC movement: they left and don’t believe in God anymore. Or they might still believe in God but don’t worship with any church because they have been burned so badly by fellow Christians, especially those in leadership.

  226. Seeker –

    I think that Dee or Deb could sum it up better for you, but Mahaney founded the group and established the authoritarian control that made these tragedies happen. When they did happen, nobody in leadership stepped forward to make anything right. I’m not sure, but I do think that you are right – Mahaney can only get pinned with the blackmailing of Tomczak and the Detweiler accusations. Sad, sad stuff. Part of the problem was that anyone who spoke up was suppressed by being told that they are also sinners and needed to examine the plank in their own eye and stop sinning. This is a good way to deflect criticism and allow those in authority to continue being destructive ignorant jackasses.

  227. As far as Chandler and Platt go – I don’t know, but my feeling is this: These guys are into authority and behave like pack animals (I’m not being derogatory here, just descriptive. I have four dogs and we deal with pack behavior at my house every day.) My experience with these guys (at the Acts 29 church where I was a member)is that they are very authoritative with anyone that they deemed “below” them in the pack. They are very submissive, to the point of almost cringing to anyone they perceive to be above them.

    Chandler and Platt do not consider themselves to be in authority over Mahaney. They are in different packs. They don’t want their authority questioned within their own pack, so they don’t questions the leader of another. Not their business to do so, since it does not fall under their authority. They may very well disapprove, but…..not their place to comment.

  228. Dana,

    “Mahaney can only get pinned with the blackmailing of Tomczak and the Detweiler accusations. Sad, sad stuff. Part of the problem was that anyone who spoke up was suppressed by being told that they are also sinners and needed to examine the plank in their own eye and stop sinning. This is a good way to deflect criticism and allow those in authority to continue being destructive ignorant jackasses.”

    I found the latter to be very disturbing…It really seemed they were trying to suppress this whole situation in the sake of their own image as a church rather than to protect the families involved.

    I still have a lot of reading to do in the Detweiler accusations, but I am expecting the shadiness to be quite similar to the Driscoll situation.

    “Chandler and Platt do not consider themselves to be in authority over Mahaney. They are in different packs. They don’t want their authority questioned within their own pack, so they don’t questions the leader of another. Not their business to do so, since it does not fall under their authority. They may very well disapprove, but…..not their place to comment.”

    I have suspicions this is the case. I certainly don’t know all the details or why they remain silent, but it seems they either feel the matter has been taken care of via the “family meetings” at SGM or Mahaney stepping down earlier or they feel it is “not their place to comment because they are not his authority”

    Honestly, regardless of why, it bothers me. Even if they don’t want to call Mahaney or Driscoll out on the carpet by name in a public venue like T4G, it seems to me they could at least explain to their churches in full how they handle authority in their own context, explain their disapproval of things that has happened in regards to other pastors (Mahaney and Driscoll) handling authority, and at least come out with a little transparancey.

    The problem is I am not associated in their local context, so maybe I have missed where they have addressed this. Maybe they have done this at some point.

    I really hope that they have privately confronted Mahaney as well and asked him some hard questions about the whole situation, but that may not be the case either.

    I personally feel the more that this stuff comes out…(It seems the chapter on the SGM thing has not closed yet…and more recenlty the Driscoll situation)…the more people will start asking questions in regards to pastors like Platt, Chandler, and others…

    At that point, they will have a good opportunity to speak with what is right, and not just dismiss these stories as gossip, etc…

    I just hope they will do this sooner rather than later.

  229. Bridget2

    Agreed..He is most definitely under Christ’s authority, as Christ is ALL authority.

  230. Seeker -

    Besides Christ being Mahaney’s authority, which should bring about good works in all areas of his life, he has never been “under authority” to anyone. He left his local church and fled to Dever’s church when all this happened. (You see the hypocrisy with Dever now? He has books out about church discipline, yet harbors his buddy.) Mahaney would not let his local church counsel or help him in any way. Not only that, he took a 6 month break during the time that much of this broke and another of the apostles (Dave Harvey – who has his own issues to face in all of this) was dealing with all the PR and plain ole “c…p” that CJ allowed on his watch. When CJ returned as president of SGM, Harvey had to step aside (family and exhaustion) or it was planned that way. Who knows? You would think that these men can look at what is going on from afar and see that something is amiss.

    BTW – I am in an SGM church. I don’t know how long that will continue. The elders in my church didn’t go to T4G. Do you think any of the leaders at T4G looked to see how many of the SGM churches had elders (or anyone) in attendance? CJ apparently wanted to have a meeting to discuss the AoR report with the elders in SGM churches before T4G. The pastors at my local didn’t think that was an appropriate venue for such a discussion and didn’t attend even though asked.

    They are all turning a blind eye to what they see. Maybe they are afraid that if they “see” they might need to examine themselves a bit more intently. It’s beyond me!

  231. Bridget2,

    Thanks for this. So CJ is now president, but is he part of a local SGM church now, or is he still at Dever’s church?

    And what about this AoR report—Was this report supposed to look into all the investigations? Has it come out to the public yet? Is this organization truly a trustworthy source? I would love to look at this report.

    I need to look into Dever, Mohler and others at T4G. Never have payed much attention to them, but now is the time I suppose.

    I just don’t understand how someone could just claim that the testimonies on SGM Refuge are “gossip” and “slander”.

    Slander is accusing with false information or no information…these people sharing their testimonies are doing nothing of the sort.

    Gossip is similar to Slander, and I don’t see Gossip here.

    So why call it “conspiracy theories, gossip, etc”.

    Turning a blind eye. Fear. I think those go hand in hand here for many who are aware of this situation. Not feeling it is there responsibility, not wanting to rock the boat (or sink the ship for that matter)…Many good, genuine guys who love Christ fall into this trap for whatever reason.

    The temptation to turn away or remain silent is immense when the right path that many should follow is laden with difficulties or ridicule.

    I wish more would follow the path anyway, especially guys who have resembled Christ-like characteristics in so many other ways.

  232. Seeker
    Slander involves intent to use information that you know to be false. You can draw conclusions from information that you believe to be true. But you can’t make up information. For example, I could say that Pastor X is living an excessive lifestyle on too much money from his ministry. However, I could not say something I know to be false like “Pastor X is a transvestite” if I know it is not true.

    Some of these pastors believe that any conclusion drawn on available information is slander and/or gossip. It means, “I don’t like it and it must stop.”

  233. Seeker – People have been warned away from Survivors, REfuge and similar blogs – from the pulpit – since day 1.

    It’s *very* unfortunate.

    However, I feel like it’s important to note that SGM (formerly PDI -People of Destiny; plus several other names prior to PDI) has its roots in the shepherding/discipleship movement and that Larry Tomczaks’s [sp?] time there was problematic as well. It is *not* just CJ’s fault; there were serious problems from the get-go.

  234. Dee,

    I totally agree. I just think we need to be careful when drawing conclusions sometimes on information.

    If it is a known fact that a pastor makes 200,000 dollars a year and that is verifiable information—then yeah, I think it is safe to say the pastor most likely lives in excess..(Even though hey may give 150,000 dollars of it away..not likely…but possible).

    However, just because someone is a pastor of a big church or even a mega church (available information)—doesn’t mean he is living an extravagant lifestyle. Take Platt for example..He is a mega pastor, but it can be verifiable that he is intentionally trying to NOT live in extravagance.. Sometimes I think people see some information…and they take that information a bit too far and draw conclusions that are false.

    Those false conclusions or assumptions are the things we need to be careful about..This is not to say we should not ask questions, but maybe we might need to see how verifiable that info is a little bit more before we speak…This is what I tried to convey earlier on here about stereotyping, labeling, etc.

    In my opinion though..Survivors, Refuge, The documentation….That is accumalated amount of information that can be verifiable in many ways..

    That is available information that we can draw many conclusions from…none of which will be false.

    Numo,

    It is very unfortunate.

  235. Seeker
    That is why I wrote a good post on Platt. I amy disagree with some of his theology but I know sacrifice when I see it. That speaks volumes to me. Francis Chan and he are the only two of the Calvinista “leadership” whom I know of,that have been so self-sacrificing. I am most tired of the leaders who live large and still lecture the rest of us on sacrifice.Then there are the ones who cry “poor me” ala Mahaney. They live very, very well, make sure their families get jobs within their system, get perks for being the leader and still whine about the ones who have supported them all these years. Blechh. In my opinion, there are many who use the ministry as their own “bless me” club.

  236. Seeker –

    Thanks for taking the time to read the links.

    I think the authority problem is somehow lodged in the “independent” part of independent churches. They won’t necessarily abuse authority, but if they do, there is no appeal.

    Miguel (who comments on this blog) points this out regularly and I agree with him. Denominational churches tend to be organized so that everyone answers to somebody else.

    Just seems to be something wrong with people submitting themselves to a self-appointed leader of an independent church. When it goes bad, it really goes bad.

  237. Dee,

    I hear you, and agree with your opinion. So many simply need to follow what they preach..and that would go a long way.

    You used the word “bless me club”.

    In my area, there are many (not all) churches (not any megas mind you) who have teaching, singing, and fellowship together…but it seems so many times that it functions as nothing more than a club to “hear a good sermon, sing a few songs, and beat the crowd to lunch”….

    There are so many elements in our community that begs for something more than a club—Poverty, Racism, Drug Abuse, Broken Families, Low Education, Teen Pregnancy—Thousands of “unchurched”–potentially who do not know Christ—the list goes on and on.

    But there are few churches who are *actually* involved in self sacrifice towards these issues..(This is verifiable just by observing the lack of action. I have been connected with–and people that I know have been connected with—hearing actual pastors from these churches actually say “let someone else take care of that” or “that is not our place”…when it comes to the things I mentioned above.)

    They have no concern for the hurting, painful, often ugly things in our community that I believe the Good News of Jesus can bring healing and peace too. They simply turn away and focus on the “Sunday Service” and this weird inward focus in their own church.

    It is sickening really…and my community is hurting because of so much apathy from our local churches. It certainly sounds like a “bless me club” and sometimes I think the Pastors not only are drawn into this, but members as well. Apathy abounds in all those involved. The “Bless Me Clubs” come in all different backgrounds and contexts..sometimes with situations like Mahaney, sometimes in something different.

    This is why I have respect for Platt. He went into Brook Hills and was willing to confront this apathy in his own life and church in a similar type of culture that our community has. He not only confronted it with words, but with actions.

    This is why it bothers me SO MUCH that he would choose to remain silent in regards to Mahaney…I am trying to figure out a justifiable reason why he or Chandler is silent, but it’s hard to connect to one.

    Should be interesting to see this AoR report, and the reaction from the various pastors who are aware of it.

  238. Seeker
    Well, you have found a sympathetic soul in me. I believe that we are losing many people from our churches because we ignore Christ’s call to service. To reach out to those who are poor, both in material wealth and in spirit because they are locked into a poverty of spirit. That is why I became upset when Andy Davis alluded to a conflict in his church and said that the people involved were unregenerate. these people love the Lord and spend their days in service in prisons and in helping with crisis pregnancies.

    So few people are willing to go outside of themselves to reach into a world that is outside of their comfort zone. Yet, that is precisely what Jesus did. He left His glorious home to hang out with us in a world that has so much pain.Yet, we seem to do everything we can to avoid that pain. May all of us find a place to bring Christ’s love, someplace which stretches us.

  239. “May all of us find a place to bring Christ’s love, someplace which stretches us”

    Amen!

  240. Seeker said:

    Honestly, regardless of why, it bothers me. Even if they don’t want to call Mahaney or Driscoll out on the carpet by name in a public venue like T4G, it seems to me they could at least explain to their churches in full how they handle authority in their own context, explain their disapproval of things that has happened in regards to other pastors (Mahaney and Driscoll) handling authority, and at least come out with a little transparancey.

    The problem is I am not associated in their local context, so maybe I have missed where they have addressed this. Maybe they have done this at some point.

    Given the large platform these men have, and that their sermons are recorded and made available online, wouldn’t we already know about it if they had done so with any clarity whatsoever? I am sure that bloggers would be all over that. At this point, any kind of real stance they might make in solidarity with victims of abuse in the churches of their friends and colleagues would make huge waves. There’s not a lot of room for half measures at this point.

    It would take a huge amount of courage to do this.

  241. Rene,

    It would create a Tsunami of waves…

    It would hurt tremendously for them to speak up, but I think it might wash away a lot of this abusive undercurrent that has flown in some of these churches and leaders.

    If one guy like Platt were to speak up and just say “something is wrong, we can’t ignore this anymore”… It would bring a lot of attention to what has happened if people are still unaware, it would give many pastors pause on how they handle leadership in their own churches, it would also say to all those who have been hurt that justice will happen, and not even friends or associates will turn a blind eye when sin is happening.

    It would make drastic changes I believe. I have tried to see why Platt would remain silent, to find some reason that could be justifiable. It’s just not there.

    Here is what I think though. When the AoR report comes out…it might be rather hard to ignore the evidence then. If this report further proves what has already been stated, then it is going to be rather hard for people to keep calling “conspiracy”, “gossip”, “slander”, or whatever.

    And it will cause many leaders to take a hard look at these blogs and testifies and documents. It will hopefully wake a lot of people up, and cause them not to say silent.

  242. It would be a huge mistake to put a lot of trust in the AoR report. These folks make their living by churches calling them in to mediate. No church leader is going to have them brought in if it could mean his ruin. AoR is a derivative of Ken Sande and his group.

    If there was not a problem, Ken Sande’s group would have done it but there is a lot of bad blood there and people are on to them. But the dots connected to AoR which sounds like a different group but the dots are there for anyone who wants to connect them. sgmsurvivors connected a ton of them a while back when they were called in.

    The leaders (and other within) of the Reformed movement have already announced Mahaney fit to lead/preach/teach. This is from Mohler, Dever, DeYoung, Truman, etc, etc. Does anyone expect the AoR report to say differently in a real way? It might have some negatives in it to throw some bones to the victims, but I would not expect it to tell SGM to dismantle and Mahaney to get out of ministry because he is not qualified according to scripture. Which is really what needs to happen to have any spiritual cred.

  243. Seeker -

    I wasn’t clear in my last post. The “they” in the last paragraph refers to the T4G leaders, who are turning a blind eye.

    CJ is now at an SGM church called Solid Rock. He sent a letter withdrawing his membership from his home church, and within a week was preaching at Solid Rock. I don’t think he will be at that location long as he has stated that he wants to “get back to pastoring.”

    The AoR report is only covering “one” aspect of the whole. SGM leadership conveniently split up ALL the issues into different parts to be handled. The AoR report is addressing the past and/or present members that did an interview with AoR or sent in feedback via an internet link.

    There were three panels, each made up of 2 SGM pastors and one SGM temporary board member, that each covered ONE question that was given to them by Dave Harvey, the interim SGM President. Dave Harvey is also the person (possibly with help?) who came up with this system of dealing with the issues regarding CJ. Dave Harvey came up with the process, the actual questions, and he selected the members who were to be on each panel. If you were familiar with SGM you would know, as I do, that he chose men who were in total agreement with SGM, loved CJ, and had already expressed by letter that they were on board with how Dave Harvey was handling the situation.

    How does that sound to you, Seeker? It sounds totally biased, unfair, and stacked.

    Oh, I should also add that when dealing with the Brent Detwiler allegations, everything that Brent felt needed to be shared and dealt with was boiled down to ONE question, CJ didn’t meet with Brent, SGM and CJ wanted everything on their terms (their way), Brent could bring no witnesses, he was questioned and that was it. Brent was the one injured and bringing grievances to SGM and CJ, but SGM wanted everything on their terms. CJ felt that Brent had slandered him when all the documents went public. Brent has always denied that he is the one that put the documents out publicly. He did send them to all SGM pastors when he was unable to get any resolve through CJ and the SGM board.

    Disclaimer – Brent became a victim in this situation, but he was part of the movement and part of developing their doctrines from almost the beginning. He bears responsibility for the mess, as well. He did go public when he found himself on the outside looking in. He was also actively trying to engage CJ, CLC (CJ’s home church) and the SGM Board for 8 or 9 years, regarding isues with CJ, from within. This was before he became a victim himself. CJ has essentially removed any person who became a threat to what he wanted to do. It didn’t matter if they were one notch under him or a pastor of a small SGM church somewhere.

  244. Bridget,

    It does sound a bit biased and unfair.

    I had some hopes for the AoR report, but it probablly won’t change much after I have heard you and Anon1 describe all this.

    CJ and Mark Driscoll seem to have a lot in common here to remove the people who became a threat to them.

  245. FYI -

    The link to the “innerrancy” clip no longer works.

    I’m glad I learned how to do a Screen Shot! :P