Archbishop – A Christian ecclesiastic of a rank superior to that attained by Christ. H. L. Mencken
Did Ambassadors of Reconcilaition wound the wounded?
Today, I am deeply irritated by the Ambassadors of Reconciliation report. I always knew that the report would “exonerate” CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries so that business would continue as usual. Bit I never imagined, in so doing, that AOR would utilize the emotional communication with hurting people as an assessment tool. To relay that those who have been hurt are communicating with “clenched fists” is despicable. To this sinful blogger(The most sinful blogger on the planet) it seems as if the pastors were portrayed as so nice and pleasant. The wounded, can you believe it, were portrayed as, get ready for this, still upset! And that is very sinful and bad, I think.
Were these supposed “professionals” being cruel, were they naïve, or were they untrained in the art of helping the hurting? Good going, boys. From my view in the moderately priced seats, you appear to have heaped more condemnation on the heads of those already wounded.
As you all probably know, SGM and CJ are exiting stage left and hightailing it to Louisville where they will be under the protection of Al Mohler and SBTS. This comes as no surprise to TWW. We have been documenting the growing “relationship” between the Reformed Baptist leaders and CJ Mahaney. We predict that this relationship will continue to be close unless Mahaney attempts to degift Mohler.
Did Mark Driscoll insult the Non-Reformed members of the SBC?
There appears to be a growing closeness between the Reformed crowd in the SBC and other Reformed groups such as Acts 29 and Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill network. In fact there seems to be some movement to give money to the Acts 29 network for church planting. But there is one itty bitty problem. The non-Reformed group, which is quite large in the SBC, have no love for Mark Driscoll. Did our readers know that there has been some attempt at SBC gatherings to censure Mark Driscoll?
That is why we find a comment made by Mark Driscoll on his blog most interesting. He wrote, what he most likely perceived to be an amusing post here, about the conflict brewing over his appearance at Liberty University. Why do I perceive that Driscoll's attempts at humor come across as thinly veiled anger? I have highlighted the phrase in question.
"The trouble started with a Southern Baptist blogger . . . yes, you should have seen that one coming. Now, to be fair, the blogger quoted an anonymous “source.” And, we all know that almost everything bloggers say is true. But, when they have something as solid as an anonymous “source,” then you can rest assured that when Jesus talked about the truth over and over in John, this is precisely what he was referring to. I have a degree from Washington State’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication and worked professionally as a journalist, and I can assure you that The Kerfuffle is a very serious matter to be taken with the utmost sobriety and propriety. In fact, one anonymous “source” I spoke to said that Watergate pales in comparison."
Driscoll is referring to blogger Peter Lumpkins. Lumpkins, and this is important, is a non-Reformed Southern Baptist pastor who has a well known blog called SBC Tomorrow. He has written a number of posts opposing Mark Driscoll’s apparent popularity with the SBC Reformers. For example, he wrote disparagingly of Danny Akin’s (SEBTS president) endorsement of Mark Driscoll’s latest sex book. On April 4, Lumpkins wrote a scathing post here on the decision by Liberty University to invite Driscoll to speak on campus in which he revealed that an anonymous source said the LU trustees were not thrilled with Driscoll’s invitation.
The SBC has been deeply divided over Driscoll and his Acts 29 network. We wonder if the recent transfer of the Acts 29 network presidency to Matt Chandler may have been due, in some small part, to controversy within the SBC over Driscoll. In other words, this might ensure more funding from the SBC for Acts 29 plants. Her are a couple of blogs to read. Link and Link.
That is why we find the above comment of interest. Driscoll claims to have a degree in Communications and also worked as a journalist. For a guy who is so educated, he seems to consistently stick his foot in his mouth. He could use some remedial training. But, assuming he is saying what he means to say, I believe Driscoll may have just dissed the non-Reformed Baptists in the SBC by his statement.
“The trouble started with a Southern Baptist blogger . . . yes, you should have seen that one coming.”
At first blush, one might think that he is only referring to bloggers in general who have been thorns in Driscoll’s side. But, since Driscoll is blogging, he isn’t talking about all bloggers, just specific types of bloggers.
Do you note that he refers to Lumpkins as an SBC blogger? Driscoll is most likely well aware the Lumpkins is not Reformed in his perspective and is probably cognizant that Lumpkins has written a fair number of hard hitting posts aimed at Driscoll. In Driscollspeak, Reformed bloggers are truthful and non-Reformed bloggers are not truthful.
Here is my assessment: It is possible that Driscoll is irritated by those in the SBC who do not fall all over themselves to hold him up as a man’s man pastor. Therefore, it appears to me that the side of the SBC of which Lumpkins is a part, probably just got insulted by a miffed off Driscoll.
Code Red: Avoid Redemption Groups
Deb and I are pretty well read about trends in the faith. So, it came as a surprise to us that we knew little of a process at Mars Hill known as Redemption Groups until some readers informed us of their existence. We also believe that they possibly could be found at other churches in the Acts 29 network.
We will write more on the subject in the future but we are concerned about the possible damage that such groups might inflict on unsuspecting individuals so we have included this here as a sort of early warning system.
We have received confirmation that these groups at Mars Hill used to be called “Grace Groups.” They have now morphed into “redemption groups.” From what we have read, these groups appear to be a gussied up version of the abusive “sensitivity groups” of the 1970s. The idea of this process is to get at the “root” of you sin. And you’d better be prepared to share some really personal, uncomfortable stuff or you will be leaned on until you do.
Here is the fatal flaw of these groups. It is based in some sort of strange theology that, if you confess your deepest, darkest sin to some people who have read the right book, you can, with the “help” of the group and leader, overcome that sin. Not only that, you can find all of your sin with careful introspection. There is supposedly training involved for the "lead sin sniffer" but we will let you see for yourself if that training is sufficient to handle serious issues.
We want you to remember what happened to Andrew of Mars Hill when he confessed his sin. Once the group leader knows about your specific sin, you are at risk of being disciplined. And that, in the Mars Hill system, is deeply disturbing to us. Imagine if your sin got posted on the internet for your small group to see. Heck, you might even get shunned. Oh, if you don’t confess enough juicy sin, you may be poked and prodded relentlessly until you do. If you weren’t hurting before this process, you most likely will be once they get through with you.Here are two links to get you going. Link and Link
We have included three comments found at our blog on this issue. We have also received communication from impeccable sources that this is an ongoing process at Mars Hill. Oh, by the way I wonder if I can get in trouble with using the words, Redemption Groups. It appears that Mars Hill may have trademarked Redemption, which you might notice if you go to the links. Do you think Mars Hill lawyers would have sued Jesus and Paul for using that word?
Once again, this post is only a cursory look at the issue. Get informed. Be careful. If you are already involved and are uncomfortable, leave the group. If you have participated in such a group and are having difficulty in dealing with the aftermath, we highly recommend a good counselor. Bent Myer is linked on our blog and we feel he might be particularly helpful in this regard.
1. "Who wants to play a game? I dusted off my copy of Redemption…the handbook for redemption groups by Mike Wilkerson. What’s wrong with this quote for Mark Driscoll (besides being a run on sentence)? “This good news is far superior to despising others for sin, excusing sin hiding sin, partially confessing sin, denying sin, becoming defined by sin, minimizing sin, giving in to sin, being ruled by sin, accepting sin, or ignoring sin, because /this good news actually redeems from sin when accompanied by a lifestyle of humble and biblical faith and repentance.”
2. "To add a few more things to what David already wrote about “redemption groups”:
1)”Redemption groups” look good paper only, the way they practice is harmful. I physically got sick and threw up when I got home after some intense sessions.
2)If the person resists revealing things about himself for whatever reason, the group would shame him, gang up to attack, denounce him as prideful, hypocritical, out of touch, in a rather brutal manner. Accusations, judgments, shaming are leveled against those who do not play their game.
2)The ugliest Christians are those whom I met in a redemption group at Mars Hill. I had never met anyone of them before walking into the first session; yet, they seemed to know all about my sins and wanted God to break my heart because of my sin. It felt like I was taken captive by the enemy and tortured so that they could get a confession out of me. Cruelty was the word. Is it reasonable to demand vulnerability from strangers? or is it sheer madness?
3)The devil likes to hide himself behind religion and church groups to wreak havoc in the church and the people who run these groups do not see the spiritual warfare aspect of it. “Lord, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing.”
Vulnerability is a key word.
Sin-seeking, Redemption Group, Mars Hill small group
Another term might be: “Vulnerability Group”.
Strategy: Get people to let go of their natural hesitance to expose themselves and become vulnerable.
Goal: For some I’m sure it’s predatory – a way to control people through veiled fear and intimidation. For others who have been trained to be a leader of a Vulnerability Group they are told that getting people to become vulnerable and share their stuff will lead to healing and group cohesiveness / closeness and therefore good."
3.I went through the Mars Hill small group leader training although not as part of Mars Hill. The person leading the training for our church was something like a “Divisional Coach” at Mars Hill and came out to “help” us.
Anyway, here’s how it’s supposed to work.
Leader: Make yourself vulnerable to your group by sharing something about yourself that would make everyone in the group uncomfortable if they were to have to share it. This will create awkwardness and the group will naturally try to cover it up to make you feel less vulnerable. Don’t let them. Tell them they instead need to probe deeper, to get at the heart of the issue. Tell them they must press through the extreme uncomfort in order to reach true release and healing. Tell them deep underlying sin is what keeps people from letting it all out and that ultimately they will never be free until they do let it all out.
Group Member: Starts to feel all kinds of internal pressure. Maybe there is something really wrong with me for not wanting to become exposed and vulnerable. Maybe I do have deep “sin” issues. If I don’t share or leave the group everyone will think I’m some sort of evil perverted monster. If I do share people will always think of me as a ______.
The result of this is people become pressured into exposing themselves and then after a few weeks, a person’s natural resistance becomes less and less. Then in a sick way it becomes normal behavior to share stuff about you that basically is just plain inappropriate to share in a group setting let alone a group where people may barely know each other.
I have found that the long term result of this (while maybe not during the time period of the meetings but later down the road) is shame that you went against that little voice in your head telling you something is really wrong with this. It doesn’t free you from whatever your revealed “sin issue” was it just creates more issues. It also causes one to feel “labeled” with whatever thing it is they share – becoming even more bound up by it.
It’s pure darkness. True openness and vulnerability happen in the context of a respectful, PROVEN, loving and caring relationship. In this type of relationship there can be true release resulting in the exact opposite of “labeling”. I believe there is a time and place for openness and vulnerability and that it can be healing but it is certainly NOT in a Vulnerability Group setting."