If Your Church Sins Against You…

"The religiously-wounded must have somewhere to go, some place where they will be safe from attack, where they can heal through the gospel and live again."

Ray Ortlund (All I Want post)

European Church – Taken by Deb

Dee and I enjoy getting e-mails from our readers, who are scattered around the world.  We have been stunned to discover that our blog is having a global impact.

Earlier this week we heard from one of our blogging friends who lives in Romania.  She has been encouraged by our website and by our EChurch services, which she communicated to us several months ago.  Here is an excerpt from her most recent e-mail:

"I've read Ray Ortlund's blog for years (not daily, but from time to time) and there was much there that truly blessed and encouraged me and made me appreciate God's grace more. So it really bothered me when I read his 'All I Want' post (which sounds so good), while having in mind how he deleted twice the comment of 'A. Amos Love'. How in the world can you say you wish the abused would come to have a place where they're safe and then not allow someone to say that the abused should learn to hold everything up to Scripture… In Romanian, we call that shoving  your fist in someone's mouth (to translate it literally)! It's getting truly depressing for me how one by one, it seems that all the people I used to respect (I mean authors, preachers and such)… I'm now losing respect for.

Anyway, I went ahead and posted this on his blog and am very curious if he will let it stand…

Here's what I posted (and yes, I included in my comment the twice-deleted post of A. Amos Love):

Mr. Ortlund,

I’ve read many things on your blog (and only commented a couple of times before, I think). Many times I appreciated quotes you offered, which ministered to my soul and really blessed me. I’ve read books by your parents and loved any stories you shared about how you knew them to be… their passion for Christ and their joy.

I’m greatly puzzled now. I’ve read this comment below which I learned that you removed twice from this post. There is nothing in it that I can see which is unbiblical. There certainly is no personal attack against anyone. Why would you remove it? An era of shalom would start when people are not afraid of telling and being told the truth. *Then* they can heal. Your removing the post makes it look as it the very idea of holding church leaders accountable to the what the Scriptures say would be a threat to you, or to the system you are part of. Why would it?

I would *very* much appreciate it you would post this, instead of deleting it. Thank you very much!

M _ _ _ _ _



Much agreement when you say…

“Or at least, the beginning of the end. A new era of shalom must start somewhere. The religiously-wounded must have somewhere to go, some place where they will be safe from attack, where they can heal through the gospel and live again.”

I would like to see that in my life time. There is NO excuse for Abuse.

I’ve had the privilege of ministering to many who have been…
Burnt – Burntout – Kicked out – and – Crawled out – of Todays “Abusive Religious System.”

One recommendation for those looking to heal…

Is – To check out those – who say they are – God Ordained Authority.

“Pastors that Abuse” want you to “obey” – And speak a lot about Heb 13:17
But don’t spend a lot of time with, or ignore, or twist, other verses.

Every believer has this right – to check out the Pastor and the Elders.

And we beseech you, brethren, **to know them**
which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord,
and admonish you;
1 Thess 5:12 KJV

Every believer is responsible *to know* –

If your Pastors/Leaders/Elders – Qualify…. To be an “Elder/Overseer.”

I had to learn this the hard way. Many years and many tears.
Before trusting a “Mere Fallible Human”

I now recommend the wounded folks to observe, and to ask…

1 – Are they living examples of – NOT lording it over “God’s heritage?” 1 Pet 5:3 KJV
2 – Are they living examples of – lowliness of mind? Phil 2:3 KJV
3 – Are they living examples of – esteeming others “better” than themselves? Phil 2:3 KJV
4 – Are they living examples of – submitting “One to Another?” Eph 5:21 KJV, 1 Pet 5:5 KJV
5 – Are they living examples of – prefering others before themselves? Rom 12:10 KJV
6 – Are they living examples of – being clothed with humility? 1 Pet 5:5 KJV
7 – Are they living examples of – NOT “exercising authority” over “Disciples of Christ?” Mark 10:42-43.

If they don’t like you asking – Run, Run for your life."


I'll be interested to see what comes of it! Even if he deletes it, maybe someone gets to read it before it disappears…"

On the heels of this e-mail came the dismissal of the lawsuit against Julie Anne Smith, et al.  For those who would like to read further about Beaverton Grace Bible Church v. Smith, I strongly recommend this link – Citizen Media Law Project.

Since Ray Ortlund's blog (featured on The Gospel Coalition website) came to my attention this week, I have been following some of the posts.  Perhaps you remember that Ortlund was on the three-man panel (along with Kevin DeYoung and Carl Trueman) that concluded C.J. Mahaney was fit for ministry.  Not long after that decision was rendered, Ray Ortlund spoke at SGM's Worship God conference.  So much for impartiality…

Ortlund's post All I Want, concludes with the following:

"Here in the Bible Belt, there must be an end to the religiously-inflicted pain.  Or at least, the beginning of the end.  A new era of shalom must start somewhere.  The religiously-wounded must have somewhere to go, some place where they will be safe from attack, where they can heal through the gospel and live again.  I grew up in such a church.  I experienced it.  I have a living memory of it.  By God’s grace, there will be more, not less, of such beauty in the future."

One of our loyal TWW readers was able to get her comment published under the All I Want post, and we hope and pray that it does not get deleted… 

Two days later, Ray Ortlund wrote a blog post called Comments.  In it, he explained what kind of comments get deleted, specifically:

"Your comments are an important part of this blog.  Thank you for them.  Well, most of them.  I will delete all comments like these:

1.  Blasphemy.

2.  Unfairmindedness

3.  Hijacking

By “hijacking” I mean a comment that would take a post off in a direction I did not intend or that would set a tone I cannot approve of.  The purpose of a comment thread is to interact with the post, not to use the post as a platform for advertising something of your own choosing.  You are free to do that on your own blog."

That same day (July 26) Ortlund posted a commentary called The Peace of Christ, which I encourage you to read.  He also tweeted the following (which links to this post):  If you have been wronged by a church's sins, read this.

This is the portion of Ortlund's post that stood out to me: 

"Never mount a campaign to correct those who wronged you.  The Bible says, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God” (Romans 12:19).  The wrath of God is all the wrath this world needs.  It would be nice if unjust people finally owned up.  But they don’t have the self-awareness to do that, which is what makes them unjust in the first place.  They will never see it, until God opens their blind eyes.  But he will.  And only he can.  If you appoint yourself the one to open their eyes, you are putting yourself in the place of God – which is what your abuser did to you.  Don’t let your abuser make you an abuser.  Sit tight, and trust in the Lord.  This is extremely difficult.  But your own moral fervor will inevitably make things worse.  So, the extremely difficult choice you are left with is this: a bad situation (of their making) versus a worse situation (of their and your making).  That really stinks, doesn’t it?"

"Don't let your abuser make you an abuser?"  Written like a true Calvinista!  The leaders have all the authority, which they claim is given to them from on high, and the rest of us are just supposed to sit tight and trust the Lord?  Is that what Julie Anne Smith should have done?  

Finally, keep in mind that Ray Ortlund is involved with the Acts 29 network.  His son Dane is employed by Crossway. See bio on the Resurgence website. 

The main reason for the Calvinistas' popularity (in my opinion) is the visibility they have garnered through their self-promotion on the internet.  Now that victims who have suffered under hyper-authoritarian dictatorships are coming forward, Calvinstas like Ortlund tell them to "sit tight and just trust the Lord".  Well, I've got news for them.  I do trust the Lord, and I believe I am compelled by Almighty God to investigate the abuses taking place by those who claim to represent Him.  I have had it with power-mongering leaders who act more like dictators than servants.  We will continue to provide a forum for the wounded to tell their stories so that others will hopefully be spared from similar pain.  Thank God that the Calvinistas do not control the internet like they do their little kingdoms.  Let's continue to get the word out!

I want to leave you with an excellent comment by brad/futuristguy, who chimed in about the ruling in the Beaverton vs. Smith lawsuit.  He makes some excellent points which Calvinista leaders need to take to heart:

"Thanks for posting this summary of the ruling and links, Deb. You’ve provided yet another point of evidence to one of the things that has struck me most about Julie Anne’s story. And that’s how much important information is now being “crowd-sourced.”

On my reading stack is a book entitled, *Digitally Enabled Social Change* – and I believe that’s exactly what we’ve been seeing at work the last 9 months or so with a series of episodes that adds up to epic change. To me, what’s gone on seems astounding! When I suffered pretty much alone and in silence through a horrific church split 35 years ago, there were NO books yet on surviving the trauma of spiritual abuse. There was NO internet for me to search for answers or connect with those with similar experiences. There were NO specialist organizations or ministries out there that I could find to help. But now … wow!

There are many books and online lists with indicators of malignant ministers, and healthy versus toxic ministries. They include perspectives drawn from biblical and theological studies, psychology and mental health, sociological and cultural research on cults, etc.

We all have access via the internet to much more detail about relevant legal issues and their ramifications if we choose to publicly bring into the light what authoritarians want to keep in the dark. (Shout outs here go to “Arce” and “An Attorney” and others for contributing from their professional specialities!)

We’ve seen in Julie Anne’s story and other recent situations how quickly links to the original documents and news reports and Scriptures and other relevant materials become available through a network of “survivor and watchdog blogs.” It’s far easier and faster to verify facts and do a “multi-person MRI” on the evidence that is emerging of ministerial malpractice, organizational toxicity, etc. That lets us counter innuendo and incendiary comments with details and source links – for those with ears to hear.

Survivors are coming forward with the stories and being heard, and sharing practical help that give real hope to those emerging from victim status, that they, too, can overcome what has happened to them. People can come up with solid sets of questions about probable situations of spiritual abuse they’ve faced, and others will share accurate answers that really help those who want to think critically about their situations and discern what to do.

We who doubt can hear the truth that we’re not responsible for what abusive leaders or their henchmen did to us. We who hurt can be validated that God still loves and cares about us, and that He didn’t create these devastating situations in order to teach us some perverse kind of lesson. We who feel isolated can find a new friend or two willing to weep with those who weep and, as we do now with Julie Anne, rejoice with those who rejoice!

Bullies no longer get a “virtual pass.” And authoritarian organizations cannot keep promoting themselves on the web and advertising their celebrity leaders – and then get away with “scrub” posts and emails and other digital details that later prove embarrassing. These days, too many people are taking screenshots of tirades and trolling, and getting downloads of relevant documentation from the internet. And the “Wayback Machine” doesn’t cache everything, but I think we’re finding that digital activists are catching key data quickly enough to get things covered.

We’re no longer living in the same world as even a year ago. It’s not merely been a “tipping point” reached, but something more, I believe. It’s this new paradigm of digital activism on behalf of spiritual abuse survivors that is being progressively explored and tested and consolidated – corporately, not just individually. And the systems won’t be going back to an era of having to suffer without protection … because I don’t think WE will let it go back to the way it was, where bullies got away with gagging our voices, and their enablers trolled our blogs unfettered, and their excusers sat on the sidelines in silence.

All this isn’t meant to intimidate the bullies … “do unto them what they’ve done unto others” … but simply to suggest that we, the Body of Christ, have needed to be better stewards in holding accountable in the virtual realm those Christian celebrities and organizations that have presented a persona to cover the toxic realities underneath. It’s happening. Documenting, questioning, challenging those individuals and organizations that inflict harm. Protecting and supporting those who’ve been victimized. And it even appears from how Julie Anne’s story unfolded, maybe we’re seeing a new kind of Christian unity evolving – integrated around seeking help and hope to get the Church on track to be a safe place for all and an abusive place for none.

I’m thankful for Julie Anne’s courage in staying the course, and for the many people who’ve been encouraging along the way. If this kind of support can happen across traditional lines in the Church, maybe it’s more likely to happen in a lot more churches on the frontlines. I hope so – I pray so! And if nothing else, victims of spiritual abuse who find their way to online support networks will find they do not have to suffer alone, in silence, with no resources.

Truly, that new day is here …"

Lydia's Corner:  Genesis 3:1-4:26   Matthew 2:13-3:6   Psalm 2:1-12   Proverbs 1:7-9





If Your Church Sins Against You… — 78 Comments

  1. I find is fascinating that Mr. Ortlund equates DOING ANYTHING AT ALL when you are victimized by men who name the name of Jesus Christ with “taking vengeance.”

    This is not only contrary to both example and instruction in the New Testament, it is silly. That people read this sort of nonsense and regard it as Biblical teaching makes me want to give myself an icepick lobotomy to stop the pain.

    Apparently if you are an important person who writes for TGC, you don’t have to trouble yourself with exegesis. If you just use a random Bible verse, that’s enough.

    Also ,presumably Mr. Ortland has heard of the Protestant Reformation, which would not have occurred if his dictates had been followed.

  2. I absolutely agree That Bad Dog…in what way does speaking out against injustice and wrong practices in the church make you an abuser? What, exactly, would you be abusing? Those articles sound so good and then that clanger comes along…it reads like an ever more subtle way of silencing the oppressed.

  3. Well…

    Jared Wilson agrees with Ray. Even posted on the same day of Ortlund’s The Peace of Christ. What a coincidence. I guess it’s a sign that I should just Let. It. Go.

    “When we become eager to enact God’s wrath through personal vengeance, it’s often because we distrust God’s ability to deal with injustice Himself. Or we distrust Him to do it in a way that satisfies us. When we lash out, fight back, take up zealous causes, angrily pontificate, feud on Facebook, tsk-tsk on Twitter, and berate on blogs, aren’t we, in essence, saying God needs us to set people straight? All too often what we’re really protecting isn’t God’s honor, but our reputation or influence.”


  4. I think quoting Cindy Kunsman would be appropriate here:

    “Of the 210 verses in Scripture concerning false teachers, false prophets and Pharisees, 47% concern behavior, 31% concern fruit, and 12% concern motive. Only 10% of these verses discuss doctrine.”

    So if 90% of the marks of a false teacher are fruit-based, and one of the ways we can judge someone’s fruit is by the way they treat us (esp. professing Christian-to-professing Christian), how can Ortlund say that seeking to correct someone who has wronged you is “abusive”? Wouldn’t one of the primary ways to spot a false teacher, Scripturally, be to look for the trail of bad fruit and human carnage? We’re also told many times in Scripture to correct those who are straying (as Neo-Cals are very fond of pointing out). It’s hardly “returning evil for evil” or taking vengeance when you point out someone’s sin, or else Paul would have been a world-class vengeance-taker.

  5. “Rosemary has compiled official, primary-source documents that can be verified for their truth and analyzed for those who doubt — as well as providing a stark and horrific reminder that Wilson’s refusal to re-tool his language, refine his grotesquely sexist views, and respond with decency to legitimately grieved Christian sisters and brothers comes against a backdrop of almost unimaginably bad sexual conduct by men of his close acquaintance against females. He is absolutely not accountable for their behavior; he is accountable for his responses to the examples above and for his continued insistence that critics just get over it, and he is damnably accountable for encouraging, arranging for, and officiating at the wedding of a convicted pedophile and a trembling-in-love young girl — a sin for which he has, predictably, never repented. Far from it.”


    There’s that phrase again…get over it. OK–so far Jared, Doug, and Ray all think we should get over it. But–remembering all the nasty post infamous quote posts Doug wrote–was he getting over it? Was he defending himself instead of letting God fight his battles for him? Even taking out a bit of revenge against all the “slandering” enemies? Maybe Doug should read his bff Jared’s post from the 26th.

    Which is it–do we Get. Over. It., or can we do battle ala Doug Wilson?
    Surely that is ok to do, isn’t it?…since he is so well promoted by TGC…I am so confused.

  6. That Bad Dog

    The Calvinistas now do what the Catholic church does. They recognize both the Bible and church tradition. Calvinistas recognize the Bible and their latest minipopes. If the mini-pope says it, it is true.

  7. Diane

    Gee, I wonder what would happen if a burglar broke into one of the guys houses and stole all sorts of stuff and roughed them up a bit. Why bother to press charges? Maybe, they should just wait for God to deal with it in the world to come. Heck, why shouldn’t he  give the burglar even more of his stuff? You know, if he takes your cloak give him (fill in the blank.)

  8. Diane


    However,on their par,t they get to tsk tsk on Twitter and berate on blogs.Heck I just saw a local Calvinista do both of these in the past week. I guess we need them to set us straight instaed of God? As for reputation, who more than them plays the reputation game? Their logic is silly and they know it.

  9. Diane

    you are not confused, they are. And over the years, people will tire of their silliness. So far, the rise of their cause has not translated into more people flocking to church. In fact, if the past deacde is any indication, the church continues to hemorrhage

  10. I like to show their confusion, Dee. It is my hope and prayer that God will use many, many people to show their hypoc–er, I mean confusion.
    I will go repent now.


  11. Ray Ortlund doesn’t get that many comments to begin with, unless he’s deleting a bunch of them that do not fit his narrow guidelines.

  12. I do think the sentence, “Don’t let your abuser make you an abuser” has some validity. I think it is possible to sink into bitterness when wronged and to lash out sinfully (for example, flat-out lying) against abusers.

    But having said that, I do NOT think that people like Julie Anne and others who have blogged about their experiences fall into that category. There is a BIG difference between “becoming an abuser” and seeking to expose wrongdoing. Most of the Calvinistas seem to be bent on cover up, rather than acknowledging wrongs.

  13. I should clarify: I mean “sink into *permanent* bitterness when wronged”. I struggle very hard with being bitter about my own experiences in an abusive church, but that’s not a place I want to stay. I want to get to the point where I can honestly forgive. But honestly forgiving doesn’t mean that what they did was right. I hope I am making sense.

  14. Tina –

    I agree. That phrase has “some” validity. But it is wong to use it to silence people. It is wrong to assume that people who are exposing abusive pastors and/or systems are “mainly” seeking vengeance. It is wrong to be quiet when the religious leaders of the day want to have authority over believers, but don’t want to post scripture that declare how leaders should conduct themselves.

    Jesus did speak about abuse, and Jesus came for all sinners, including the abused and religious sinners. Jesus spoke out against the religious system of his day that he was actually born into as a Jew. This was the very same system that God had initiated, but was now corrupt. Jesus was pretty radical!

    If TGC wants to have public blogs to TEACH WHAT THEY WANT PEOPLE TO BELIEVE, then they should want to interact with people. They seem to want to declare their truth, get affirmation, but silence any questioning or disagreement. If they don’t want to interact with people, then they should have “church” blogs that are only available to their congregations. Then they can keep everything under control (as they seem to want so desperately).

    The TGC blogs seem geared to getting their specific doctrines in the public forum and not so much are they concerned about the lost or abused. This may actually be stated in their “purpose.”

  15. Don’t let your abuser make you an abuser

    Warning others after the ‘leader’ refuses to hear does not make you an abuser. It may in their eyes, but that is because they wish you to hush. I see motive written all over what he said.

    When my grandparents were removed from their house due to old age and Alzheimer? We hired a company to sell what was left in their home that was not needed anymore. We marked certain items not to be sold as well. We lived 1,000 miles away, and was given their company as a recommendation from the state. When we returned to the house some of the items were sold that were not to be sold, and they also removed refrigerator but didn’t turn off the water from the ice maker. It ruined the walls and wood floors.

    We called to try to work things out, and they basically hung up on us. They refused any contact from that time on.

    If we use the same principal that this gentleman speaks about? How we shouldn’t say anything, and allow the Lord to deal with him? How many others would get burned by that company?

    How strange it is that organizations and pastors like this love to chant about what is wrong with the world – and the people within it. They do not like being rebuked when they are in error. They write articles like this to make others feel bad about warning others so they are not hurt as well. Its manipulation.

    Many times in the bible people are warned against false teachers – are they abusers also?

    Their lack of humility that is also called for in the bible is clearly showing. Not everyone is vengeful, bitter, etc when they point out wrong teachings, etc.

    If they can’t handle things outside their bubble? They have a choice to stay inside where it is safe. They aren’t going to, and telling people to leave them alone isn’t going to work. They should know this.

    It seems they are too afraid of others, and this seems to be the real truth. I feel sorry for them.

  16. I don’t know Ray Ortlund, but I know a little bit about him.

    He was called to pastor the largest and most prominent CPA church in our town a few years ago. That church was founded by Cortes Cooper in 1980 or so when he stood in the pulpit of First Presbyterian and said he could no longer pastor in the USPC because of the continued doctrinal slide of that denomination.

    Cooper and a group of people started Christ Presbyterian Church. Cooper pastored that church for many years, and the church grew incredibly. It has had a great impact on the city, and has birthed 3 daughter churches that are equally influential and evangelistic – Christ Community Church, Covenant Presbyterian Church, and West End Community Church.

    After Cooper left, Christ Pres was pastored by Charles McGowan for many years. When McGowan retired, Christ Pres called Ortlund to be the pastor.

    That pastorate did not go well. I have heard that the people at Christ Pres had high expectations about preaching talent and other things, and apparently Ortlund did not meet their expectations. Some of the elders I know at Christ Pres thought that people were being picky and too hard on Ortlund, and that he really received unfair treatment.

    Nashville is the kind of place where stardom in the pulpit is a BIG deal. There are lots of Christian celebrities. EMI Christian music is headquartered here. The SBC is, too. The United Methodist Publishing is located here.

    Crowds in Nashville often move from church to church, following the next fad or newest, coolest preacher in town.

    Ortlund just didn’t make things happen, and he was out.

    I have no idea why Ortlund would delete a post like that. And I disagree with the blanket advice of not trying to address people who have abused you.

    But I will say this for Ortlund. From all I know, he did not mount a campaign or fight at Christ Pres., and to my knowledge, he hasn’t looked back and doesn’t spend his time taking potshots at Christ Pres.

    He found a small group of people and started Emanuel Church. They meet in an old Church of Christ Buidling (the old Otter Creek Church of Christ Building) that is old and run down, and is actually for sale.

    He went from the most prestigious pulpit in town, and when he left, he did not try to split the church, but started a new, small congregation. A lot of big guys are not capable of that.

    So, while I think his advice about not addressing abusers is horribly wrong, and it made no sense for him to delete the post, and I do NOT agree with his fitness evaluation of Mahaney, at least he has followed his own advice.

    I am not trying to rehabilitate Ortlund in anyone’s eyes here, and I don’t agree with his opinions and actions (as I have stated), but I hope that everyone might find this information interesting.

  17. “. . . aren’t we, in essence, saying God needs us to set people straight?” Yes!! But maybe not how ‘he’ thinks.

    How, then, does the Body of Christ function? Isn’t this the role of brotherly love in the Family of God–that God needs/uses caring brothers and sisters, who could speak the truth in love, so that the unity is continually worked at because there is genuine and authentic concern?

  18. Argo – you're finally coming around! My spouse is never right about anything if he delivers it the wrong way 🙂 Truth only comes by way of a whisper and with much fear and trembling – right?

  19. These posts come from men tied to Acts 29, an organization founded by a pastor who claimed he "wanted to go Old Testament" and punch people in the face.

    These guys act tough when it suits their purpose, and they justify their actions with Paul's aggressive language in Galatians. Ironically, when they want the sheep to take it, it suits their purpose to quote elsewhere. And, I can be a conspiracy guy from time to time – frequently it's misguided and more fun than anything else.

    But, I do wonder why Ortlund and Jared both posted on this topic at the same time and in conjunction with the results from the Beaverton case. It's becoming more and more common for TGC guys to canvas the same topic and, for whatever reason, they don't link to one another.

  20. I see a few things askew in the quote from Ortlund's post. First, "Never mount a campaign to correct those who wronged you." Huh? Correction is very biblical. Isn't Matthew 18 – confronting leaders, bringing witnesses, telling the entire church, and treating them like heathen – the path the neo-Calvinist naysayers have proposed the bloggers should have taken first? What is Matthew 18 if it isn't a campaign to correct?

    Next – and I think the artificial chapter division placed at Romans 13 is one of the most detrimental in Scripture – his quote of Romans 12:9 about not taking revenge is the context that leads into discussion about the civil magistrate. If somebody commits an evil deed against you (i.e. crime) the civil magistrate is there to punish for you. And although not taking revenge is a greater spiritual truth than the passage itself, how does correction amount to revenge? And how does it relate to the civil magistrate? Haven't we already learned that we can't sue in secular court?

  21. Hmm …


    Sometimes people overreach in this way because they claim they have been hurt. But no one, however wounded, has the right to disrupt the blood-bought peace of a church. The sacred wounds of Christ overrule all others. Moreover, in today’s climate of victimization, hurt can, in fact, be hate. Elders are responsible to discern this and confront it, even if the person offending is a long-standing member and a personal friend.

  22. Scot

    They claim that they do not consult one another but I think there are themes. I bet they sit around and drink coffee and decide the next cool topic.

  23. Steve Scott

    When they do it, it is biblical and gospel correction. When we do it, it is bitter, vengeful and most likely arising from an unregenrate heart. It is getting rather amusing. They are not all that clever.

  24. @ Steve Scott,

    Here’s an easy work-around they may employ:

    Even though reformed thought tends to be non-dispensational when it suits them, eg., the Church has replaced Israel in all the promises the Almighty bestowed on them as a people, they still might turn around and claim that Matthew 18 was written for the Jews of the old Covenant, and therefore does not apply to the Church. Only St. Paul’s instructions for Church polity can apply.

  25. Muff,

    “they still might turn around and claim that Matthew 18 was written for the Jews of the old Covenant”

    I’ve never heard anybody with a covenant theology outlook claim something like this. Not that it couldn’t happen.

  26. Steve Scott

    That is why this sheep will continue to bleat at TWW. Drives them absolutely insane to have women actually standing up to this stuff. They really are not used to this as evidenced with the Wilson/Wilson kerfuffle last week.

  27. Steve

    I just visited your blog and liked it. Would you like for us to link to it here? I like it when the voices come from the regular folks like us.

  28. Paul advises that charges against elders should be not be admitted unless there are 2-3 witnesses. In the ancient world of course there were no photographs or E-mails, and very much less paperwork, that could be counted as incriminating evidence. (Just a thought – I would welcome others’ thoughts on this).

    He also suggests (in Timothy, is it?) that some sins at least should be rebuked publicly. Again I wonder how that works out today. However Matt 18 is probably the blueprint for dealing with a personal grievance. The Book of Proverbs also has some good advice on dealing with personal issues.

    However I think more serious sustained stuff enters a different level. Anonymous’s comments on Ray Ortlund’s career were interesting, and if this is true he obviously has at least taken his own advice. Perhaps some of the other high-profile ministers who have appeared controversially on here are not of that ilk.

    Presumably Luther felt it was a matter of principle, rather than personal grievance, when he nailed the 95 theses to the door.

  29. Wow, what a way to twist scripture and taking it out of context… for your own agenda. That’s funny how he says to wait for God to show the spiritual abusers(not us) what they are doing. Ha, like that will ever happen anyway. The ones who are abusing don’t care.

  30. Sounds like Ray has AFS – Animal Farm Syndrome.

    As in: all Christians are equal, but some Christians (mainly those who are patriarchal males, and especially those who are celebrity Calvinist pastors) are more equal than others.

  31. “Don’t let your abuser make you an abuser?”

    Since when is it abusive to tell the truth? Good grief. It’s been interesting following the hits on my blog back to the original website and find discussion about my case. There are so many who vehemently believe I am out of line. They spend an exorbitant amount of time focusing on how wrong I am and completely miss the obvious . . . hmm . . . a pastor suing? Weird logic going on.

  32. Julie Anne

     Cognitive dissonance. They cannot believe that you won. The pastor sued you and they overlook that. 

  33. Julie Anne,

    I am grateful for the courageous example you have set.

    Godly shepherds are to emulate Jesus Christ. They are to be servants, not dictators.

  34. This sort of 'advice' reminds me of an analogy I once heard:

    A man is swimming at the beach, he starts to struggle and drown. A surfer nearby comes over and says "quick, get on my surfboard, I'll take you in to shore". The man replies "No, God will save me", so the surfer leaves. Then someone on a jetski comes past and says "quick, climb on my jetski, I'll take you to shore", the man replies "No, God will save me", so the jetskier leaves. Then a surf rescue boat comes up to the man and they tell him "quick, get in our boat, we'll get you to the shore". Again the man replies "No, God will save me". Finally, a rescue helicopter flies out, throws a rope down, and the pilot shouts "quick, grab the rope, we'll fly you to the shore". Once more, the man replies "No, God will save me", so the helicopter leaves, and a little later the man drowns. He gets up to heaven and he says to God, "God, why didn't you save me from drowning?".

    God replies, "I sent a surfer, a jetskier, a rescue boat, and a helicopter – what more did you want?" God doesn't call people to passivity. Taking action, talking about hurt and abuse, standing up for things (within and outside the church) isn't questioning God – it's just being a person.

  35. Comment by Jimmy removed by editor. — Dee

    Jimmy’s back to his old tricks again?

  36. “they still might turn around and claim that Matthew 18 was written for the Jews of the old Covenant”

    Off-topic a bit. I don’t know about Matthew 18, but I know Gary North claims that the Beatitudes don’t apply after Christians have “taken dominion” over everyone else. Apparently then if someone wrongs you (as a member of the Christian ruling class), you punch him in the face instead of turning the other cheek…

  37. Dee –

    I saw that comment by our friend Jimmy. It reminded of something a 17 year-old smart aleck would say.

  38. Steve,

    I have been pondering your comment for awhile now:

    “And although not taking revenge is a greater spiritual truth than the passage itself, how does correction amount to revenge?”

    Yes, HOW does correction amount to revenge??!!

    Good one!!!

  39. "Tina – I agree. That phrase has “some” validity. But it is wrong to use it to silence people. It is wrong to assume that people who are exposing abusive pastors and/or systems are “mainly” seeking vengeance. It is wrong to be quiet when the religious leaders of the day want to have authority over believers, but don’t want to post scripture that declare how leaders should conduct themselves." That's precisely it! I agree with you.

  40. The problem with comments like Mr. Ortlund’s is that you can find so many examples that seem to counter his advice, even within the church. For example, would he say that the Civil Rights movement was bad simply because African American citizens were publicly questioning the institution and so “taking vengeance” on the people that were oppressing them? Or was the Civil Rights movement an example of healthy public accountability? Would it be wrong to publicly discuss all the ways that racism still plays out in subtle ways in today’s culture, in order to change people’s minds, or is that taking “vengeance” against the people who were doing it?

    What about Christians standing up and saying very publicly that abortion is wrong, and trying to change the attitudes of our country regarding what life is? Is that “taking vengeance” against people who have different beliefs about when life starts? No, it’s not taking vengeance, it’s asking them to reconsider their position in light of the consequences being so dire.

    If someone wants to rant and rave and call a religious leader the spawn of Satan, then sure, I can see how that approach would be unhealthy. But being firm, public, and holding people accountable does not qualify as that.

  41. @ Jimmy, each time I see your name in the Recent Comments list, my stomach starts churning. And if I happen to read your comment – and sometimes it’s just unavoidable in the flow of things – I usually either feel sad for you or agitated at what you’ve said. I wish you would be constructive and build people up, but it seems like you’re usually finding a way to stick in a knife and give it a quick twist. It hurts. Please stop …

  42. One common aspect of spiritual abuse is isolation using various rules (no-talk rule, shunning, etc). Deb referenced an earlier comment of Brad’s in her post and Brad’s last paragraph is really important – it talks about the importance of support. Isolation can really destroy a person. To go through spiritual abuse and be left standing on two feet with a voice is an accomplishment. Spiritual abuse is devastating and usually the last thing someone wants to do is fight because there is such a state of confusion. My story illustrates this a bit. It took me about a year before I posted my first Google review about my experience. I researched like crazy and slowly, but surely, the truth became apparent. But in that process, I was keeping in touch with those who had left. They were my support. When it got to the big league with the lawsuit, I reached out for assistance on the internet and gained new support. When I mean support, I mean exchanging e-mails and even phone numbers. These people were key to me.

    I just realized something. Last night is the first time I had uninterrupted sleep since receiving the subpoena on March 1 – nearly 5 months ago. It’s also the first time I have had more than 6 hours of sleep. Lawsuits can mess you up. I literally survived on 4-5 hours of interrupted sleep nightly. You also must know that normally I cannot survive very well with less than 7 hours of sleep. How did I survive? It is my firm belief that it is the prayers of my supporters. The support gave me courage to continue blogging, to tell the difficult stories. It would have been quite easy to just shut the blog down. Brad is so right. Also what Dee and Deb do here is so helpful in exposing the stories. Stories are so important – not just to shine the light on that particular church/situation, but also because that story will resonate with someone else with a similar experience. Reading similar stories helps people to identify abuse because when you’re in the abuse, it’s not always easy to recognize it. My blog has been shifting to spiritual abuse in general and will continue that path. I’m glad to be part of this blogging “movement” of identifying abuse. We have the same passion. Not everyone is called to blog, but the supporters, commenters, prayer warriors, ones who connect via e-mai behind the scenes are so, so, important. In fact, I would say that my supporters were the fuel that kept me going. So here’s a public thanks to you and an encouragement to keep doing what you’re doing.

  43. Julie Anne

    And a public – thank you – for your courage to stay the course and trust in Jesus.
    A tremendous example. And you’re correct about – Isolation vs having support.

    I experienced it in a small way with Monica backing me up at Ray Ortlands blog.
    And we Ray deleted her comment – She reposted again. Hmmm? a spunky Romanian. 😉
    I couldn’t say – Thank You Jesus – enough. Most of the time it’s a lonely battle at TGC.

    I rejoice with you that you had a good nites sleep… 😉

    Jesus loves us this I know…

  44. Ray does say some things tha make sense – And puts his silence into practice. And…

    There are certainly many benefits for those who have been “Religiously Wounded” …
    “Never mount a campaign to correct those who wronged you. The Bible says, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God” – AND…

    “There is no danger in trusting the Lord. If you’re going to err, err toward waiting on him *to vindicate you.* When he does – not if he does, but when he does – it will be much more satisfying.”

    I have seen the Lord – a few times – *vindicate me* – by sending someone I didn’t even know – to take up the unjust abuse – and correct, rebuke, and chastise – those who had this “Power to Abuse”- “Power to Control” – and were “Exercising Authority” like the gentiles.

    The first time, I wanted justice, revenge. But when I tried to explain, defend myself, I was cut short.

    The Lord dealt with my anger and sadness the first time with – Love your enemies – Bless those who curse you – and pray for those who despitfully use you. Mat 5:44.

    When someone came to me with what others were saying about me…
    I would find something to say that would be a blessing and trusted God for the out come. 😉
    But – I was in “Leadership.” I had a measure of Power and Position that most do NOT.

    And then – A guest speaker comes – who I never met – and speaks directly to what was going on.
    And – without knowing it – this stranger – corrects, rebukes, and chastises – The Elders who Abuse.

    Thank you Jesus – I, and the questions I was asking – were – Vindicated.
    My best friend – The Founding Pastor – did apologize – then. But we were never the same.

    There is a lot more to this story – But…

    So remaining silent, blessing those who curse you, and trusting the Lord – has some benefits…

    BUT – There is a big difference – Becoming an “Abuser” like those who have “Abused” you…
    And, caring about, warning, and protecting those who have NO power – And are being “Abused.”

    Many do NOT know it as “Spiritual Abuse” – Because “Spiritual Abuse” is all they know.

    Seems Jesus warned, and exposed, the False – His Disciples also warned, and exposed the False –
    And believers are asked to do the same.

    Admonish one another – Warn one another – Them that sin rebuke before all – Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints – If any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him – He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death – And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you – beguiling unstable souls – False Apostles – False Prophets – False Teachers – False Christs – While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption – Woe – unto the Scribes and the Pharisees – Seems there are lots of “Woe” people in the Bible – Who were exposed – By Jesus…

    NO – There is NO excuse for Abuse.
    Remaining silent for yourself is one thing. If God asks you to.
    BUT – God is NOT silent – He asks some NOT to remain silent when His sheep are being abused.

    IMO – Most “Pastors who Abuse” **protect** the other “Pastors who Abuse” and their “Systems.”

    And – The ones who have been “Religiously Wounded” are “Religiously Wounded” again….
    Seeing the “Abuser” protected – And the “Religiously Wounded” cast aside to fend for themselves.
    And Being told – Just get over it – Find another church – Remain silent –

    NOPE – Theres a better way – Shine the light of Gods word – and the darkness will flee…

    Or – Delete you… 😉

  45. Being told not to question wrong is the height of arrogance. I have had contact with some of these “Calvinistas” and have seen the arrogance first hand.

    “Here in the Bible Belt, there must be an end to the religiously-inflicted pain. Or at least, the beginning of the end. A new era of shalom must start somewhere. The religiously-wounded must have somewhere to go, some place where they will be safe from attack, where they can heal through the gospel and live again.”

    Ray is right; however, I didn’t see it in my contact with Calvinistas.

  46. Ray’s actions may be quite different than his words, but I am not so sure he disagrees with the principle of correcting those who wrong you or admonishing them.

    In the comments after the “Peace of Christ” post, he seemed to agree with a guy who asked him if correction had a place in the church in regards to people who wrong you…I would post Ray’s response to this man, but it would make this post rather lengthy. You can see it under the comments section of his post.

    I don’t appreciate him deleting the comments on his page however…Seems silly to me when people are posting legitimate thoughts/concerns/questions and are not trolling. Sure doesn’t make him seem like he is “ok” with correction, although his words say otherwise.

    I do agree we don’t need to avenge ourselves against others who wrong us…We are not the “Dark Knight” by any means, but I think it is quite appropriate to correct, admonish, expose when the need arises, as long as the latter is based upon something that has happened rather than an assumption of such…False correcting does not benefit anyone at anytime.

    Speaking of correcting, @Dee, have you or Deb seen this problem with FBC Crystal Springs in MS? This is in my home state, and it is sad to see this come out, although hate/racism is still buried within our state, sadly, many times in our churches…It just so happened to “go viral” this time to expose the underlying hate. Thought you might be intrigued by this story..

  47. @ brad/futurist guy on Sun Jul 29,3012 at 11:01 AM,

    Have you ever heard the parable of the two wolves? In my own Native American tradition it goes something like this:

    An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…

    “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
    “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

    “One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

    “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

    “This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

    The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
    “Which wolf will win?”

    The old chief simply replied,
    “The one you feed.”

    It’s no secret which wolf Jimmy chooses to feed. He does it of his own volition.

  48. “Comment by Jimmy removed by editor.” Dee

    I see your back to your old tricks Dee. — Jimmy

    Note the classic passive-aggressive blame shift.

    @ Jimmy… I wish you would be constructive and build people up, but it seems like you’re usually finding a way to stick in a knife and give it a quick twist. It hurts. Please stop… — Brad/Futurist Guy

    Problem is, to a Net Drunk like Jimmy — especially a RIGHTEOUS Net Drunk like Jimmy — going “Please Stop” will just make him laugh and laugh and laugh as he twists the knife even more and more and more. “PWNED J0000000!!!! ROFLMAO ROFLMAO ROFLMAO!!!!!?

  49. Seeker wrote–

    “I do agree we don’t need to avenge ourselves against others who wrong us…We are not the “Dark Knight” by any means, but I think it is quite appropriate to correct, admonish, expose when the need arises, as long as the latter is based upon something that has happened rather than an assumption of such.”

    I agree about revenge- I’m just not sure what Ortlund believes about the exposing part. I revisit this piece below from Ortlund on occasion and it never fails to drop my jaw… this pro Mahaney post of his from last October:

    “It’s easy to justify spreading a negative report about someone, if we believe it to be true. But even if it is true – not an opinion, not an accusation, not a rumor, but a properly established fact – that does not justify passing it along. The Bible says, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back” (Proverbs 29:11). The Bible says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). Whatever we might feel like saying or posting, however intensely we might feel it, the gospel simply changes the subject. Three times the risen Jesus greeted his disciples this way: “Peace be with you” (John 20:19, 21, 26). If we will bring our tongues under the control of his peace, our churches will be safe places where more people can meet Christ. And no grievance is worth disturbing that blood-bought peace.”

    He is saying a negative fact should not be passed along and there is no justifying passing it along. He cites Proverbs and giving full vent to one’s spirit–as if to make that the equivalent of passing along a fact. He then goes on to Ephesians and corrupting talk and it seems to me he is saying sharing negative facts = corrupting talk. The cure is the gospel. ? Whatever negative facts one wants to share or expose- Ray says the gospel changes the subject. So- by witholding negative facts and controling the desire to expose evil fruit, we can be under the peace of Jesus Christ. We accomplish that by bringing our tongues under control- OKA no negative speech even facts. If we do this, more people will meet Christ in churches because they will be a safe place. According to him, no grievance, no matter how large, is worth disturbing THE PEACE of the church (and of those unbelievers in the church who have not met Christ yet). Very confusing to me. Would unbelievers necessarily feel disturbed?

    “A pastor’s high visibility makes him especially vulnerable to destructive talk. We pastors have no coercive power, and we don’t want any. We want winsome influence, as we preach the message of Christ and bear the image of Christ. But to serve people effectively in that way, all we pastors have going for us is our reputations, our public acceptability. That is why it is a sin of special seriousness to injure the reputation of a gospel-preaching, godly pastor. He is not the only one who suffers. The cause of Christ suffers.”

    ALL the pastors have going for them is their reputation? That’s all? Their public acceptability? What public acceptability? Does he mean the world’s regard of them? I thought pastors had the Holy Spirit’s guidance and that was the best thing they had going for their reputations.

    This sin of special seriousness…(exposing negative facts)is mighty special I guess. If you commit this sin–even exposing the works of darkness of gospel-preaching godly pastors…the cause of Christ suffers and it’s your fault. Not their fault for doing the dark works which need exposing to serve as a warning to others. Your fault.

    I have often wondered what Ray now thinks of this statement of his-

    “Personally, it appears to me that C. J. has even over-confessed to his critics.”

    (What with CJ recanting his confession at the PC last November and all.)


  50. Jimmy

    I am never up to trick when it comes to this forums. I love this blog and the people who come here. I pray for you as well.

  51. @haitch

    Yep, pretty messed up situation. There are quite a few Christian Mississippians who are outraged by this church’s actions—

    In all honesty, this event did not surprise me. This is not the first time underlying racism in churches have “bubbled up” in MS.


    That certainly brings more clarity to his position on all of this. I understand it is probably not the best thing in exposing someone if you have a motive of “hurting” them for what they did or if you have a wrong spirit about it…..but simply confronting them over what they did wrong, an cautioning others about this wrong….all to create change and right a wrong…Not sure how that is against scripture.

    A pastor certainly should have a good reputation as a leader, (held in good esteem) and it is never good to bring an accusation against a leader if you are accusing them falsely or there are no facts to support your accusation…

    But, if a pastor ruined his reputation for doing wrong…He certainly needs to be confronted/exposed for that wrong….

    This pastor needs to be confronted for his wrong and repent before he can be considered to minister well (reputation has nothing to do with that), if he does not repent himself first.

  52. “But, if a pastor ruined his reputation for doing wrong…He certainly needs to be confronted/exposed for that wrong….”

    I guess the question perhaps for Ortlund is who gets to do that, and how.

  53. The Bible clearly teaches that the laity, the Christian community at large, are to examine the teachers and elders and determine whether what they are teaching is the truth and if they are living a life of one fit to teach or serve as shepherd of the flock. It is the discernment of the congregation that is to hold the elders and shepherd accountable. If the laity fail to do so, they will be led astray and can be led away from the faith, to their peril. No one needs to get physical and “touch”, just discharge those who teach contrary to what the Christian can discern to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and find among themselves or from outside, those who can.

    It is a false teaching to go into the pulpit after someone has left the church on their own accord and gossip from the pulpit about them. It is disqualifying from the role of pastor and preacher. Simple, clear, and unequivocal. A true preacher sticks to exegeting the scripture for the congregation and away from misrepresenting those who have left that particular fellowship, for whatever reason.

  54. One thing the TGC is supposedly serious about is doctrine. You can behave pretty much any way you want as long as your doctrine is correct, as they define it. And yet, when they themselves go astray doctrinally, and are called on it, they double down on defending themselves.

    Maybe the most egregious example is the invitation to T.D. Jakes to appear on the Elephant Room, and the way they treated him when he was there. For weeks, some Christian leaders said that Jakes would be given a pass for his unorthodox (heretical view of the Trinity, and that is exactly what happened. There wasn’t even a mention of his Health and Wealth “Gospel.” To add insult to injury, they had a follow-up program where they had guests not too subtly imply that those who criticized Jakes were racists.

    Of course, the two hosts repented in dust and ashes, right? Of course not. They got all huffy and self-righteous.

    One of the hosts, the inimitable Mark Driscoll, inadvertently, I think, revealed their thinking, or at least his. He slobbered to Jakes how amazing it was that he deigned to come on their program, and even – prepare yourselves – agreed to have dinner with them the night before!

    It’s the star system. If you become famous enough in the Christian Community, you are given a pass, and to heck with doctrine. Driscoll admires Jakes’s celebrity, period. Even more sorrowfully, this may be what’s behind John Piper’s full endorsement of Rick Warren.

  55. Diane – on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 06:55 AM

    Thanks for the link to Jared Wilson – And his post – Wrath.
    It does sound similar to what Ray Ortland was saying.


    I left this comment – I’m wondering if he will allow it?



    You ask…
    “Why not rather put up with injustice? Why not rather be cheated?”
    If the cross is true, if God is sovereign—why not?

    If God asks this of you – then you are correct.
    There is another side. Othere scriptures – that ask us to speak out. – Jesus did.

    Jesus warned His Disciples, and others about – “The Religious Leaders” of His day. Mat 23:1-39.

    They – “The Religious Leaders” – say one thing and do another …
    They place heavy burdens on shoulders…
    They do their work to be seen of men – Celebrity?
    They love the chief seats – They love to be greeted – They, for a pretence make long prayer…
    They are called “blind guides” by Jesus – In front of the multitudes…
    They omit the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith…
    They strain at a gnats…
    They make clean the outside But within they are full of extortion and excess…
    They are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward,
    ……but are within full of dead men’s bones

    Many do NOT know they are being “Spiritualy Abused” –
    If “Pastors who Abuse” are all they know.
    Then “Spiritual Abuse” is all they know. And they think it’s normal.

    Like when a young child is abused for years – they know nothing different.

    And the Abuser wants them to remain silent.

    This is a common practice for “Pastors who Abuse.” They want to silence those who question.

    Seems Jesus warned, and exposed, the False – His Disciples also warned, and exposed the False –
    And believers are asked to do the same.

    NO – There is NO excuse for Abuse.
    Remaining silent for yourself is one thing. If God asks you to.

    BUT – God is NOT silent – He asks some NOT to remain silent when His sheep are being abused.

    IMO – Most “Pastors who Abuse” **protect** the other “Pastors who Abuse” and their “Systems.”

    And – The ones who have been “Religiously Wounded” are “Religiously Wounded” again….
    Seeing the “Abuser” protected – And the “Religiously Wounded” cast aside to fend for themselves.
    And Being told – Just get over it – Find another church – Remain silent.

    NOPE – Theres a better way – Shine the light of Gods word – and the darkness will flee…

  56. “Remaining silent for yourself is one thing. If God asks you to.

    BUT – God is NOT silent – He asks some NOT to remain silent when His sheep are being abused.”

    God is not silent. I like that, A Amos Love!

  57. JeffB, Anyabwile was pretty unhappy about the Jakes invitation and Driscoll, let’s recall, decided to bail on the Gospel Coalition this year. Driscoll got a public and arguably too-gentle correction from Carson for the comments about guys in dresses typifying the failure of British evangelicalism. If memory serves the men who were most publicl affiliated with that invitation to Jakes withdrew association from TGC. There are things about TGC that I’m unimpressed by but the Jakes thing is more a MacDonald/Driscoll stunt from what I’ve seen.

  58. In fact, I would say the reason many like Piper, Mohler, etc backed away from Driscoll is because of the elephant room. Doctrine in that sense was more important than his behavior concerning spiritual abuse, firing elders to gain a coup and years of sex obession in the pulpit and porn visions. Oh and sodomy. Those did not bother them for years. I mean these things have not been a big secret.

    “Even more sorrowfully, this may be what’s behind John Piper’s full endorsement of Rick Warren.”

    Everyone thinks money is the motivator. It isn’t. It can become a motivator once you start making it. But it is usally something as simple like recognition. Celebrity. People who listen to you and hang on every word

    People might bre shocked to know how many Chriistian celebs are narcissists.

  59. He seems to conflate revealing corruption and wrongdoing and avenging it.

    The day I see Dee and Deb in the news for burning down wicked church buildings and locking up false pastors, I’ll repost Ortlund’s advice. That is, if there is still time to run…

  60. I just have to say that futurist guy has some thoughts that I haven’t been even able to start to articulate about our new medium of blogging and comments and FB and… I’ll have to read through it again (and the comments). It’s a new digital world out there that doesn’t play by the “rules…”

  61. One thing the TGC is supposedly serious about is doctrine. You can behave pretty much any way you want as long as your doctrine is correct, as they define it. — JeffB

    Doctrine(TM) or Purity of Ideology?

    And yet, when they themselves go astray doctrinally, and are called on it, they double down on defending themselves. — JeffB

    The Party Can Do No Wrong, Comrade.

    It’s the star system. If you become famous enough in the Christian Community, you are given a pass, and to heck with doctrine. Driscoll admires Jakes’s celebrity, period. Even more sorrowfully, this may be what’s behind John Piper’s full endorsement of Rick Warren. — JeffB

    “I CAN’T GET IN TROUBLE!!! I’M A CELEBRITY!!!” — Lindsay Lohan, behind the wheel of a drunken 90mph slalom run down Pacific Coast Highway

  62. I’m ashamed to say (but also grateful to realize) that I not only believed this concept stated by Ortland, but perpetuated it by advising others to do the same before I experienced the personal pain of spiritual abuse.
    Ortlund said: Sit tight, and trust in the Lord. This is extremely difficult. But your own moral fervor will inevitably make things worse. So, the extremely difficult choice you are left with is this: a bad situation (of their making) versus a worse situation (of their and your making).
    As I began experiencing the pain of spiritual abuse and struggled to first make sense of it and then to handle it righteously, other well-meaning believers told me the same thing—don’t stand up against it because that would be revenge against spiritual authority. Only God–who in His sovereignty allowed that authority over you—- can take care of any problem; just trust Him. That advice made me furious, but that only made it worse. (Yep, now I had the potential to be the abuser.)

    As time has passed and I have had time to heal, I have come to believe that this hands-off, trust-God mindset is a cop-out. It gives those in the church Body a pass on getting involved in experiencing the discomfort of conflict and the need to use spiritual discernment. “Just let it go; God’s justice will prevail” is something they use to reassure themselves to stay complacent. Furthermore, it is important for this hands-off mindset to exist in the Body to create the environment necessary for spiritual abuse to thrive. Therefore, any discussion about reforming spiritual abuse in the church must include addressing the need to educate the church Body about appropriate thinking about and behavior toward church leadership. This blog and a number of others are helping to do that in a remarkable and wonderful way. Thanks to all for participating in such an important discussion! And thanks for the help it has been for me in my healing!

  63. Susan Doney, so happy to hear of your healing. Many of us have been in similar situations so can relate. I, too, am grateful for those at this blog who encourage and support one another as well as exposing the teachings that have an ongoing detrimental effect on the body of Christ.

  64. Susan

    Thank you for your comment. I spoke with some friends this AM. I told them that I have begun to think that word “gossip”and Matthew 18 (misused) is the last refuge for scoundrels. I wish I had added the terms “authority” and “spiritual authority” to those two terms.

    I was in an Anglican church this AM, comtemplating this ‘authority” stuff. It dawned on me that authority is simply being allowed to speak about the Scripture up front, in church. The congregation has determined that one can teach and represent the beliefs of the congregation by being allowed to do so at the gathering of the church. That does not mean that said person lives a better life than anybody, is always right, etc. I think we have taken this authority stuff waaaaay beyond what was intended.

    At lunch, we discussed the 9 Marks and how they claim that the church holds the keys to authority and can declare who is saved or unsaved. That, to this blogger, is ridiculous. 

  65. Very interesting discussion on ‘authority’ and its place if any within faith communities. Folk who’ve been hurt and are wondering what to do might find some practical advice and inspiration in my own wee story ‘The Prodigal Prophet’, which details my journey from authority based fellowships, linked with the 80s Shepherding movement into a more mystical and freeing take on following Yeshua bar Yosef.

    Here’s a wee link


    Dylan Morrison Author



  66. Pingback: A leader’s job | Stand Up for the Truth