Mark Driscoll: He Ain’t No Captain Sullenberger

It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill. Wilbur Wright

wikicommons

Captain "Sully" wikicommons

Flight 1549 and Captain Sully
It was a remarkable feat. An airliner, all jet engines knocked out by a swarm of birds over New York City, glides its way into history by making a successful landing in the Hudson River. Unbelievably, no one perished.  Here is some footage of that event.

Air Controller Patrick Harten said link

"I believed at that moment I was going to be the last person to talk to anyone on that plane alive."

Many people became aware that this was “first time in half a century of commercial jet flights that an airliner had been successfully landed on water without any fatalities. ”Link

As the details surrounding this event became clearer, a hero emerged. The pilot, Captain Chesley Sullenberger, now known affectionately as “Sully,” was primarily responsible for this outcome. His words, just prior to touchdown, “We’ll be in the Hudson,” joins “One small step for mankind” as a tip of the hat to highly skilled and brave individuals.

After the landing, as the jet filled with water, Sully stayed behind, helping all of his passengers and crew to safety. I still remember one photo of Sully, on a rescue boat, wrapped in a blanket, calmly sipping some hot coffee. I thought, “Now there is one man I could trust to bring me home safely.” As proof of his unflappable demeanor, he reportedly called his wife and simply said “Darling, I’ve just had an accident,” which was, most likely, the understatement of the year. 

Mark Driscoll: Trust me. I’m a Pilot!

So, what does this have to do with Mark Driscoll? At the Resurgence.com website, I read what has to be the most remarkable piece of narcissistic hubris to ever come out of Mars Hill and, given the subject, that is noteworthy. Driscoll (who could never be accused of understatement) penned a post titled, Do You Trust Your Pilot? link.

The usual manly boys network sprang into action to push the piece. After all, it makes pastors sound like Tom Cruise in Top Gun.  For example, Ed Stetzer recommended this post here. But, books must be sold at Lifeway, I suppose.

Driscoll likens himself to an airline pilot who, because he is upfront in the cockpit, sees what is going on. His church attendees are the uninformed passengers who cannot see what is coming.

To explain this, he launches into an explanation of bank turns that airliners have to take.

  • 25–30 degrees: 1.1–1.2 g-force on the body, most people won't feel a thing.
  • 45 degrees: 1.5 g-force, people start to feel it
  •  60 degrees: 2-2.5 g-force, people really feel it and start to freak out.
  • 70–80 degrees: Around 5 g-force, people start getting tunnel vision as the blood rushes out of their eyes.

He then goes on to pontificate that an experienced pilot might be forced to make one of those significant turns. He likens himself to that pilot-the guy who has to save the lives of his people. He fusses that, when such a sharp turn is necessary, many people freak out, storm the cabin and trash the pilot after they have, get this, “Landed safely.’

I do not know what newspaper Driscoll has been reading but, when a pilot makes an emergency turn, and lives are saved, the passengers usually give him a standing ovation. You know why? They know it! He has informed them and they clearly see it. This whole analogy is not making sense . But, Driscoll rarely makes sense to me.

Stupid, uninformed people must trust the pilot. Driscoll, of course, is that pilot.

His  take home point is, you can see this coming,  “Trust the Pilot.

“Assume that they have way more data and training than you. Assume they see stuff out of their window you don’t see out of yours. Assume they did the right thing, even if you are wearing your drink, your luggage came flying out of the overhead bin, and you need to buy new underwear to replace the ones you were wearing. Just maybe the pilots saved your life and spared you from a less disruptive turn that would have ended in a fiery crash you never saw coming.”

Who is most likely to trust the pilots? Frequent fliers, those who have been on board long enough to have survived hard banked turns before. And former pilots who have themselves sat in the cockpit of an organization and had to make the same kind of tough decisions.

Who is least likely to trust the pilots? First-time fliers, those who are new to leadership and/or new to the organization and subsequently lack the experience to simply buckle up and ride it out. Also fans of flying who have studied flight and/or visited the cockpit to peer over the pilots' shoulder enough to maintain an illusion that they know how to fly and could do a better job themselves, even though they have no hours in the pilots' chair.”
 

I have one response to this.

"Mark Driscoll, you are no Captain Sully and you have demonstrated enough weirdness to help me to know that I wouldn’t trust you get me safely to Tacoma."

Mark Driscoll’s “Intensive Training.” (All documented at TWW)

  •  Bachelor's degree in communications from Washington State University with a minor in philosophy and hold
  •  Master of Arts degree in exegetical theology from Western Seminary.
  • He wrote a book on sex.
  • He has theorized that Queen Esther was a slut and backed it up by asking his teen daughter.
  • Pastors a church
  • Speaks at a lot of conferences

Captain Sully’s Intensive Training.

Now, let’s look at Captain Sully’s training link.

  • IQ was deemed high enough to join Mensa International
  • At 16, Sullenberger learned to fly in an Aeronca 7DC
  • Bachelor of Science from the U.S. Air Force Academy,  Master's degree in Industrial Psychology from Purdue University and a Master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Northern Colorado.
  • In the year of his graduation, 1973, he received the Outstanding Cadet in Airmanship award, as the class "top flyer".
  • Sullenberger served as a fighter pilot for the United States Air Force, piloting McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom IIs from 1975 to 1980.
  • Became a flight leader and a training officer, and attained the rank of captain,[with experience in Europe, the Pacific, and at Nellis Air Force Base, as well as operating as Blue Force Mission Commander in Red Flag Exercises.[
  • While in the Air Force, he was a member of an aircraft accident investigation board.
  • He has more than 40 years and 20,000 hours of flying experience.
  • In 2007 he became the founder and CEO of Safety Reliability Methods, Inc.
  • He has also been involved in a number of accident investigations conducted by the USAF and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), such as Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 and USAir Flight 1493.
  • He served as an instructor, Air Line Pilots Association Local Air Safety Chairman, accident investigator, and national technical committee member.
  • His safety work for ALPA led to the development of a Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular.
  • He was instrumental in developing and implementing the Crew Resource Management course that is used by US Airways, and he has taught the course to hundreds of airline crew members
  • Working with NASA scientists, he coauthored a paper on error-inducing contexts in aviation.[
  • He was an air accident investigator for a NTSB inquiry into a major accident at Los Angeles International Airport, which "led to improved airline procedures and training for emergency evacuations of aircraft".
  • He has also been studying the psychology behind keeping an airline crew functioning during a crisis.
  • He holds an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate for single and multi-engine airplanes, and a Commercial Pilot Certificate rating in gliders, as well as an expired flight instructor certificate for airplanes (single, multi-engine, and instrument), and gliders.

In addition to all of that,  all pilots must obtain hours of intensive continuing education involving aeronautical science and mock scenarios of disasters. They are constantly checked for reflexes, sight and other health issues. My husband routinely sees pilots to check their hearts and clear them for flight duty

Let's take a closer look at Driscoll versus Sully

Driscoll- Blamed his “co-pilots” for disagreeing with him and threatened to punch them in the nose while firing them.
Sully- Heaped praise on his co-pilot and flight attendants, claiming that they were the reason that everyone was alive.

Driscoll- Blamed his wife for his problems in their marriage
Sully- Spoke highly of the engineers who designed the plane and praised the air traffic controllers. He was most complimentary of the rescue crews and stated he was amazed at their fast response.

Driscoll- Claims to have visions of people being raped and molested
Sully- Clearly saw the alternatives and made a careful assessment in where to land in such a way to save lives in the plane and on the ground. (Pilots who “see things” are usually grounded).

Driscoll- Bragged that he prepared a sermon in 2 hours while watching the Seattle Mariners.Link
Sully- Pushed himself to become a pilot’s pilot in intensive training and experience. No “2-hour” blow off preparation for this hero.

Driscoll-Admits to breaking the law by stealing things for his church. Link
“Our church services started to stink a whole lot less.  We scraped together enough money to buy some big honking speakers, and I stole an unused sound console from my old church along with a projection screen, which were sins that Jesus thankfully died to forgive.”  (Confessions, p.62)
“We never paid for electricity in our office apartment because the building was illegally hooked up to the power grid and all our power was stolen.”  (Confessions, p.125)
Sully- Was voted "Outstanding Airman" at the Air Force Academy, My guess is that he didn’t break laws to get  there.

Driscoll- Fires people who give him objective opinions and don’t do things his way
Sully- He must meet standards for both personal health and piloting. In other words, when my husband assess a pilot to see if his heart is in good enough condition to fly, he is thinking of himself and others on that pilot’s plane. He is not going to certify a pilot who is unsafe.

Driscoll’s  analogy make no sense.

Here is Driscoll’s problem. He sees himself as an elitist pastor who is the only one who can see out of the cockpit. Baloney! It reminds me of that stupid commercial in which a man announces “I am not a doctor but I play one on TV.” The emperor has no clothes.
A church is not a jetliner. The Holy Spirit invades the lives of all believers and gives all involved a window to see what is coming ahead. The pastor may have a couple years of Greek under his belt but a church is made up of the body and he has time to consult even the “least among these.”

Unless a church is about to get bombed, there is not a need to bank so hard that, to use Driscoll’ ridiculous example, “blood comes out of the eyeballs.” And any pastor who believes this is not worthy of our trust. I say to all of those whose pastors believe that they are “highly trained professionals", to find a real pastor who understands about love, mercy and grace. Leave behind those pastors who believe that they are pilots who are involved in life and death decisions in the cockpit of a jetliner.  

In case you need more convincing, here is a 15-minute interview on 60 Minutes with Captain Sully. Also, we repeat the universally panned video of Mark Driscoll who "sees things." Spend a minute or two and think. Who would you trust more-Sully or Driscoll?
 


 

Lydia's Corner: Leviticus 16:29-18:30 Mark 7:24-8:10 Psalm 41:1-13 Proverbs 10:15-16

Comments

Mark Driscoll: He Ain’t No Captain Sullenberger — 425 Comments

  1. When I look at the two pictures that begin each video, I see two things. I see a deeply humble man (Sully). And I see a deeply insecure man (Driscoll).

    Here’s the thing. If Sully were pastoring a church, I’m willing to bet that he wouldn’t insist that the members blindly trust him and follow his lead wherever he went. This is the face of a man who, when he has to lead, does it as part of a team and never seeks to control or dictate. Kind of like my own pastor, in fact.

    I have sat under pastoral leadership like that of Driscoll. His words sound eerily similar to the words the leaders of Maranatha Campus Ministries used to use to get us all to be good sheep and follow without question. The result was bleeding, bewildered, wounded sheep. People who try to control often do so because they are very insecure– and it’s no different for pastors.

  2. “Hubris.”

    And at the top of the article is a photograph of a World War II P-38 fighter airplane. The P-38 is a symbol of heroism and sacrifice. Many of America’s finest young men laid down their lives as P-38 pilots. We owe them our greatest respect and honor for their ultimate sacrifice. Using that photo is just another example to what level some will stoop to steal glory unto themselves from whom the honor rightfully belongs. It is akin to traipsing over the graves of veterans to produce a self-glorifying promotional video.

  3. Are there any pastors you trust, besides Pastor Wade? Every post reminds me that you both appear to have a very low view of pastors. Ever thought of joining the Brethren denomination?

  4. Driscoll is such a joke – he and others like him are the reason Christianity gets mocked and ridiculed. Funny he didn’t mention anything about a ‘mile high club’ on his airliner.

  5. “PRAY FOR YOUR PILOT(S) AND TO THE PILOT
    Yes, a smooth flight is always ideal. But, since the occasional smooth flight remains smooth until the plane explodes into a mountain, some occasional turbulence through uncomfortable and terrifying airspace is a much better option. So, pray for your pilot(s) and to the Pilot whose sovereign hand is ultimately on the wheel.”

    MD is clearly the mini-pilot (read: earthly god) standing in the stead. But, remember folks it’s not really the mini-pilot who’s steering (read: responsible for the bumps), Nope, God is steering. Nice MD! Whatever happpens at MH is clearly all God’s doing.

  6. Again Driscoll has the mendacity to try and draw allusion between himself and Sullenberger. In a previous episode, he tried to cast himself in solidarity with dead veterans. Just so everyone here knows, combat servicemen have no illusions about fighting for mom, apple pie, or American exceptionalism, they fight for each other, and to stay alive. And again it’s best I shutup & stand down before I mouth off with shit I’ll regret later.

  7. It will take a long time before there will again be someone in my life who can hurt me and I will trust him or her that it is OK.

  8. Stupid, uninformed people must trust the pilot. Driscoll, of course, is that pilot.

    His take home point is, you can see this coming, “Trust the Pilot.”

    That anything like “I’m In Charge! YOU! SHUT! UP!”?

    (Or he’ll order his cage-fighting Armorbearers to Beat You Up?)

  9. Mark Driscoll’s “Intensive Training.” (All documented at TWW)
    • Bachelor’s degree in communications from Washington State University with a minor in philosophy and hold
    • Master of Arts degree in exegetical theology from Western Seminary.
    • He wrote a book on sex…

    A book on sex involving both ends of the alimentary canal. Don’t forget that.

  10. Driscoll-Admits to breaking the law by stealing things for his church. Link
    “Our church services started to stink a whole lot less. We scraped together enough money to buy some big honking speakers, and I stole an unused sound console from my old church along with a projection screen, which were sins that Jesus thankfully died to forgive.” (Confessions, p.62)

    That anything like “It’s all Under the Blood, so that makes it OK!”?

  11. Are there any pastors you trust, besides Pastor Wade? Every post reminds me that you both appear to have a very low view of pastors. — Joe

    Wipe Driscoll’s brown off your nose first, Joe.

  12. After all, it makes pastors sound like Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

    bwaahaa! Thanks for the belly laugh, Dee! And for the excellent post! What a comparison!

  13. “Are there any pastors you trust, besides Pastor Wade?”

    For my part, there are some pastors I trust, but to different degrees. But I trust them when they earn my trust, not because they stand on a platform. And there is no pastor right now that I’d trust if I was wearing my drink, my luggage came flying out of the overhead bin, and I needed to buy new underwear to replace the ones I was wearing- not unless he explained very clearly why all that was necessary.

    The person who demands my trust automatically loses it.

  14. Joe,

    I’m sure there are quite many pastors that Dee and Deb trust. I’m sure the same is true of most of us that hang around these parts. And while I shouldn’t presume to put words in their mouths, I’m fairly confident that the pastors they trust are quietly and humbly serving their churches. Thing is, they don’t draw attention to themselves like this idiot.

  15. thanks for the great post Dee. Just when I thought MD could not surprise me. His arrogance and elitism shines through once again.

  16. Hi Joe

    I knew you would show up! For a guy who has no “connection” with Driscoll, you sure seem to be concerned about all things Driscoll. You must have some sort of program that puts you on red alert when I post on him!

    Now , if you would read all of our posts, you would see that I often speak about pastors that I like. But, they do not involve Driscoll so it would not be of interest to you.

  17. Jeff S

    Thank you for my laugh of the day!

    “And there is no pastor right now that I’d trust if I was wearing my drink, my luggage came flying out of the overhead bin, and I needed to buy new underwear to replace the ones I was wearing- not unless he explained very clearly why all that was

  18. Well thought out and written post…(and quite funny)…

    The thing that really bothers me about Driscoll’s analogy…

    Shouldn’t Jesus be the Pilot? Where does he fit in this analogy…If at all?

    As someone said above… I see complete humility in Sully and complete Hubris in Driscoll…

    Another thought: Driscoll is asking his congregation to “trust” him when there are clearly some shady things that have happened between him against those other elders?

    I would never trust any pilot who “shoves” their “co-pilots” out of the plane without a parachute….

  19. Captain Sully is a man who can, & he doesn’t have to beat his chest in public to show us how very capable he is, he just gets on with it quietly. Mark Driscoll…not so much ;)

  20. Who, after all, would trust a pilot who practices “blessed subtraction” by throwing people under the bus! Then turns around and asks for trust….

  21. Couple this with the whole Reformed, church membership =’s salvation thing. You have to be a member of a Reformed church to be saved, and once you are IN, leave the thinking to them. Even if criminal acts are committed against those who ask too many questions, “You need to trust those who are close to the situation and know all the intimate details.” These guys aren’t even a challenge anymore. What’s more obvious than the fact that New Calvinism is a super-cult? Yawn. Anybody who follows these guys deserves them. Anybody who reads that post and has gray matter between their ears, being a member also, panics and runs for their lives.

  22. Dee and Deb:

    Great post.

    The comparison of education and experience between Sully and Driscoll is excellent.

    Reminds me of some comments I made recently just a day or 2 ago trying to encourage people to see that it’s better for us all to listen to people with education and expertise, and not flash in the pan, entertainer types that are all too common in many Christian circles these days.

    That’s especially true if the entertainer types affirm things we believe. Because our critical analysis often goes to sleep in such situations.

    Thanks for such a good reminder.

  23. Muff – I very much agree with you re. what goes on during armed combat. It’s the opposite of the idealistic labels many people seem to *have* to slap on it.

    As for MD’s claim that blood “rushes out of [the] eyeballs,” is that good or bad physiology/biology?! It sounds off to me, but I have no medical training and have never studied human biology in any depth. So Dee, can you help us out here?

  24. Dee-

    Off the top of my head & extensive reading of your blog for almost a year now: Denver Driscoll, Duncan, Mahaney, McArthur, McDonald, Mohler, Piper, D Wilson, J. Wilson to name a few are all pastors you don’t trust. The only pastor I have read you speak highly of is Burleson. Care to enlighten me on “I often speak about pastors that I like” cause I must have missed those posts?

  25. Eagle – being in the military is a job/career for many. It always has been.

    I think people can make self-sacrificial choices during combat, but being in combat is about killing the other guy and survival. I seriously doubt that anyone is thinking high-minded, idealistic thoughts during the heat of battle, while being shelled, etc. etc. etc.

    I also think you’ve met many servicemen/women who have great character – so have I. I’ve also met some not-so-nice – and anything but selfless – military men. One – a former Marine – was my 7th grade math teacher. he *loved* to say cruel things and inflict humiliating “punishments” on me and the other kids in my class. Say what you will about being “sacrificial,” I think NONE of it applies to this man or anyone remotely like him.

    Sort of parenthetical (but not really): have you ever watched the movie “Patton”? It’s a pretty realistic portrayal of the man, right down to the recreation of the real-life incident where he hit the shell-shocked soldier in the head. (I know one of Omar Bradley’s granddaughters, and from what she told me, Gen. Bradley was furious at Patton about his treatment of that man to the very end of his life.) At any rate, Patton was about Patton – self-glorification rather than sacrifice. I think a lot of folks in the UK would say the same think about “Monty” Montgomery.

    Being in the military doesn’t give anyone a pass re. brutality, let alone vanity and pride!

    [/ end threadjack]

  26. Numo

    This is one for Bill. I do know that severe stress can cause breaking of superficial capillaries that can make people appear as if they are sweating blood. I know that there can be bleeding into the interocular space inside the eyeball itself during high pressure changes. But i do not know of outright bleeding from insde the eyeballs to the outside. So, I shall defer to an expert.

    BTW, my ER nurse daughter just got a job as a nurse in the surgical trauma ICU of a well-known hosptial. I bet she will see some fo this stuff. She’s a better nurse than I am, for sure!

  27. Anonymous

    CJ called himself the “Head Apostle” until sometime in the past year or so. He got tired of being laughed at and reportedly said something to the effect that we are all too stupid to understand what that means so he would defer to our idiocy and stop it. I guarantee that it will come up in the lawsuit which, rumor has it, is expanding its scope.With the arrest of the Penn State ex President, I would say that the public is not in the mood for the “I wasn’t in charge” excuse. 

  28. But i do not know of outright bleeding from insde the eyeballs to the outside. So, I shall defer to an expert

    I thought MD was saying something like “all the blood rushed out of [into] my head,” which is a whole ‘nother thing to bleeding, right?

    Wouldn’t extreme G force cause a drop in blood pressure + lowered blood flow to the extremities – and maybe other parts of the body as well?

    At any rate, that’s how I took MD’s statement. if he literally meant that people bled form their eyes, then every test and combat pilot – not to mention astronaut – would have had that experience. As is, I can’t believe it’s anything but a jumped-up urban legend.

  29. Great post, as usual.

    Uh, I mean, as always! :)

    KR Wordgazer, seeing the same and more, too…and said as much on YouTube to Mark’s fans. He makes my stomach hurt. He reminds me of a certain sociopath I know. Trust him? Hilarious! So glad I never made it to his church.

  30. Dee – MD was referring to tunnel vision at once a plane hits certain levels of G force, so that’s why I assumed he was alluding to a drop in blood pressure, not bleeding.

  31. Joe

    I link to one, besides Wade, in our blog roll and recommend his teaching to lots of people. I often mention my previous pastor in Dallas by name. Then there was my famous post of two Calvinists that I liked.

    Joe, you are making this about me. Frankly, even if I never mentioned one pastor that I liked, it would not matter. I speak of what these pastors say in public. This idiocy of Driscoll was on his public blog page and therefor he is open for critique. I can choose to focus on what i wish or what our readers suggest. bad news, I found out about this from tow emails from two different readers. Bad, bad readers….

    Let me put it htis way. I attended some churches that I really liked. I have mentioned them on this blog. They were my lessons in the physiology of a functional church. As a nurse, i took normal physiology first. Then, I took pathophysiology. We knew it was bad because we knew what was normal. Now, some people specialize in pathophysiology. Are they bad people?

    So, look at me as a pathophysiologist of the church. The disease of Driscollitis has atracted my attention. We are becoing experts in this condition. 

    So, what did you think of my post? How was i wrong? Is Driscoll like a pilot who makes sharp turns and bleeds out of his eyeballs?

  32. Dee – I had no intention of “correcting” you – just thought that maybe there was some confusion over what MD was actually saying.

    For once, I actually agree with MD [shudder].

  33. Numo

    Please- I like to be told when I misunderstand something. It is good for me. I try really hard to be accurate and I misunderstood one part of his example. Thankfully, it did not change the post one bit. It still is a ridiculous example-as the pilot he makes an extreme bank because only he sees what is coming. I think this smacks of his “I see things” nonsense. That pornovideo alone should be cause to “ground” him.

    Actually, you did not agree with him. You agreed with a quote from some pilot book which should bring you some modicum of comfort!

  34. If Driscoll had been making the analogy that the church is like a plane wreck, that may have been the most sensible thing he’s said in a while!

  35. Dee – well hey, I used to write for publication and had to do a lot of fact-checking (proofing, too), so that was just something I noticed that didn’t seem quite right.

    I have no problem with *helping* you, if only because anyone who writes for print publication – and much web publication – has editors and fact-checkers re-reading their work before it goes up. So I’ve been there, done that, in terms of people catching my mistakes. :)

    Cool?

  36. And *thank you* for your comment re. MD quoting an author or (imo, more likely) something he saw in a movie or on TV. ;)

  37. After review a few more pastors Deb & Dee don’t trust: Ayabwile, Chandler, Moore, Ortlund, Platte bringing the total to 15 so far. According to Dee, there is Burleson, an unnamed pastor in the blog roll, a pastor in Dallas she often mentions by name, but not now & 2 unnamed Calvinists she likes. That brings the working total to 5. Would I be correct in saying you like unnamed or small church pastors? That’s what I am hearing.

    It’s not bad to say some churches are bad or that you dislike them, but if most churches are bad it’s seems like you are over-diagnosing. Most children must needs Ritalin because so many have ADHD too. Right?

  38. Joe – have you checked the posts from the past month? Dee wrote one on a post that T. Anyabwile published over at TGC that is *highly* complimentary toward Anyabwile and his position on the issue at hand.

    never say never. ;)

  39. First time posting here.

    What I find so curious is that Mark Driscoll’s M.A. program is not even considered a track to ordained ministry by Western Seminary. Who is the world ordained him?

    (FYI, I googled “Western Seminary M.A. ordination” to find a .pdf file with this information.)

    “The program is not recommended for those preparing for a ministry where ordination is expected or required (e.g., the pastorate, chaplaincy, evangelism, and church planting) or for those who anticipate subsequent doctor of ministry studies.”

  40. Joe

    My husband sees a lot of peoplewith heart disease. So, is he over diagnosing them? Or could it be that they come to him because they have heart disease.There are 5000 denominationss with churches within those denomination. Could you please claculate the percentage of churches that I do not like?

    So, this is about me, again. What about the post about Driscoll?

  41. Numo

    If i ever get to the day when I cannot admit that I misunderstood something, then I need a blog time out! Thanks for having my back.

  42. seeking

    When you start your own church, your own church can ordain you. That is why I sometimes joke about being the Mid-Road Rev Dee

  43. Oh. My. God. What the hell? “You take the blue pill, the red pill, it’s like the Matrix?” What is wrong with him????????? “I don’t talk about it….” he says in front of a large TV audience…..

  44. Dee-

    I am just working with the information you make public on the internet, so it’s currently a 3 to 1 dislike to like ratio. If your trajectory stays consistent, I predict that ratio will increase as you continue to write. This is an underlying issue that is applicable to this post. Does your husband make diagnosis about random people’s heart condition’s he passes in the grocery store? If he does, that would relate to what we are talking about.

  45. @ Joe & Dee:

    “It’s not bad to say some churches are bad or that you dislike them, but if most churches are bad it’s seems like you are over-diagnosing.”

    5 out 7 churches in Revelation are diagnosed as being in bad or at least questionable health. That comes out to 71%.

    All the pastors I trust are ones I know personally…and no one would recognize their names. I don’t see why I am required to trust at least one big-name pastor. Trust of any pastor must be at least somewhat provisional anyway – they’re not Jesus and they must continue to teach sound doctrine. This has occurred even in my own life. My ex-pastor let a Reconstructionist, who said in one of his essays that failure to tithe was a sure sign of being lost, into his pulpit. When I informed my pastor of this, he evaded and tried to prove that tithing was mandatory. Sorry – trust account emptied and closed!

    Why should I continue to trust a shepherd who lets a wolf preach to his flock? And if I apply this standard to a local pastor, why should I not apply it to one who just happens to have his name on the cover of a bestseller?

  46. “When I get up to preach I’ll see somebody get raped like a screen in front of me….” For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications..sounds to me like Mr Driscoll’s thought life might need a little cleaning up. I truly think he is obsessed. And that sounds like some possible demon oppression as well. Scary.

  47. “It’s not bad to say some churches are bad or that you dislike them, but if most churches are bad it’s seems like you are over-diagnosing”

    1) She never has said most churches are bad. You counted 15- unless there are only 29 churches in the world, that is not most churches.

    2) There’s no reason at all to believe the majority of churches are good. When Jesus came ALL religious institutions were corrupt. In the first century Christians faced an uphill battle and were severely outnumbered. Are we so certain now that the majority of religious institutions (even if we limit ourselves to those who identify as Christian) are good? I’ll bet you every single person on that list you cited would agree that the majority of churches are not good churches.

  48. “Does your husband make diagnosis about random people’s heart condition’s he passes in the grocery store? If he does, that would relate to what we are talking about.”

    What makes you think Dee’s sample is random? She has absolutely said it is not.

  49. So, RHE writes a book asking questions about traditional interpretation and modern application of ‘biblical’ womanhood and Driscoll compares himself to a pilot with Godlike omniscience that people should put their faith in (kind of like a god) and yet it is RHE who get accused of blasphemy.

    Go figure.

  50. Joe, one more thing- there is very little to “trust” when it comes to famous pastors. I’m not going to trust someone for pastoral care who I’ve never interacted with. So when it comes to that kind of “trust”, it goes to local pastors or pastors I work with.

    I don’t distrust all famous pastors, though. I listen to RC Sproul almost daily on the ride into work. I have a lot of trust (though not complete) for his teaching. I’ve read (and plan to read more) Tim Keller- I think he has a lot of good things to say about how we are Jesus to this culture. But I don’t know how these men treat people in real life- I’ve never seem either one interact with human beings, the most telling trait of how I would know how far to trust a fellow Christian. So I put these kinds of men in spheres of limited trust in my life- I think they have a positive influence in me as I grow as a believer, but they are never going to be people who I let my guard down with in a significant way.

    But there are many public preachers I do not trust at all- I feel completely fair in that. The public spotlight easily attracts those who hunger for power and control. Would I think that it is easy for a false teacher to desire this and get the support he needs to become famous? Absolutely. So if you are guessing that some have a predisposition to mistrust those standing in big spotlights, well I don’t think it’s a bad caution to have.

  51. I’m confused. Last thing I heard – admittedly a while back – Mark Driscoll declared himself to be an untrustworthy bus driver, unapologetically mangling people with his big macho church bus. Now he’s a trustworthy pilot, flying all the passengers heroically and thanklessly out of harm’s way. I just hope that next time I stop by this blog I read that he is the pilot of a space shuttle, heading directly out of our solar system with nobody else on board and limited communication with ground control.

  52. Mara and Sophie –

    Agree!!

    And MD gets a free pass by TGC and others (because of body parts??) and RHE gets criticized by TGC.

    It all seems turned upside down!

  53. seeking – I don’t believe MD *is* ordained, except by himself. (Seriously!) Which is one of many, many problems…

    Sophie – LOLZ – and I agree completely on him flying a spacecraft alone, to the farthest reaches of the universe (and maybe beyond?)

  54. Joe:

    One thing that might help you gain perspective is the reason behind Dee's and Deb's founding this blog. I don't want speak for them, but my understanding is that addressing abuse is a high priority.

    Given that, you will find more posts about what Dee and Deb consider to be abusive forms of leadership. I don't always agree with their analysis, but I understand why they write negatively about many religious figures they cover. This blog is not designed to be a happy, cheery place.

    They do post inspiring items, but they also focus on the negative a lot by virtue of what they feel is their special charge or interest. I agree with them sometimes. Sometimes I do not.

  55. “When I get up to preach I’ll see somebody get raped like a screen in front of me….” For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications..sounds to me like Mr Driscoll’s thought life might need a little cleaning up. I truly think he is obsessed. And that sounds like some possible demon oppression as well. Scary. — HereWeGoKids

    You’re sounding too spiritual. Here’s how I peg Driscoll, no demons necessary:

    The guy is sexually obsessed. Maybe to the point of being a male nymphomaniac. But he’s also The Big CELEBRITY Preacher-man, so he can’t ever admit to it. So his sexual fantasies burst forth in his “pornovisions” in a church-acceptable form (which also gives him the ego-boo of being a prophet and visionary). They say a lot of psychiatrists get into the profession because they’re not wrapped too tight to begin with and this lets them self-treat without anyone else finding out, and I think that dynamic is also in play, here. A CELEBRITY Man-o-Gawd has to be Perfect, can show NO sin or flaw, so he has to self-medicate and self-treat without anyone finding out. His public image won’t let him be imperfect.

    And he’s a control freak, hypermasculine in the sense of always having to be the Alpha Male. Very autocratic, with only one idea of what it means to be male — “I Can Beat You Up!” I suspect he was the Beta- to Omega male in his high school, and now with his megachurch he’s the Alpha Male of his own (not so) little Mars Hill and can’t resist the urge to throw his weight around. Being a preacher-man is just his road to where he can say “I’m In Charge Here!”

  56. Hi Joe

    I knew you would show up! For a guy who has no “connection” with Driscoll, you sure seem to be concerned about all things Driscoll. You must have some sort of program that puts you on red alert when I post on him! — Dee

    Is Joe a known Driscoll Fanboy?
    Or just a scavenger following an apex predator for the scraps?

  57. Anonymous,

    You have done an excellent job of describing our focus here at TWW. We often tackle issues that some Christians avoid like the plague.

    I'm glad you don't always agree with us, and it doesn't hurt our feelings either. Blessings!

  58. Joe

    I read the posts of your guy, the TGC crowd, Tim Challies, and a boatload of others. This ain’t random. Can’t help but point out these fascinating statements by folks like Driscoll. Others seem to find it so as well, hence a lively number of comments.

    Now, as for hubby, he has actually stopped people a couple of times when he noticed what looked to be a malignancy growing on their skin. Both were grateful. He has also stopped and resuscitated foks in a Luby’s cafeteria and an American Airlines jet.

    Now, what do you think about the post? You will not win by attacking the messenger.  

     

  59. Joe

    And the answer is no-I will continue to do what I do, no matter what you say. I “see things….”

  60. herewegokids

    There is something off about Driscoll. TWW has discussed our deep concerns about him.

  61. Never heard of Driscoll before I started reading here, but you know what I think? Driscoll’s just an extremist hijacker. Booted Jesus out of the pilot’s seat so he can use the plane as he wishes (bet he’ll crash and burn).

    Going with the airplane analogy. Know where I’d want my pastor to be? Walking the aisles, serving the passengers peanuts and soda and taking the time to talk with us or help us. And following the pilot’s (the Holy Spirit’s) instructions, just like the rest of us.

  62. HUG, WtH met someone who came across MD when he was just a callow high school student and the person noted two things 1) MD gave no indication of becoming a preacher or a serious Christian at that stage but 2) the kind of preaching he’s since been famous for fits how he behaved pre-conversion. It’s unlikely as best I understand things that Driscoll was ever a beta or omega male as such.

    The bus/car analogy has apparently reached its expiration date.

  63. When I was in nurses’ training, it was drilled into us every single day, “Never. Assume. Anything.”

    It is prudent advice for every area of life.

    Assuming things can lead to disastrous results, like death.

    So no, I don’t assume, even in church.

  64. Anyone else notice how bold and obvious these guys are becoming? Amazes me it still works for them.

  65. Anon1

    Odd thing. Joe claims he has no contact with Driscoll and claims he doesn’t attend his church or know him personally. Yet he shows up when we talk about Driscoll. He even speaks about Driscoll’s daughter by her first name. This time, he diverts attention off the post and claims that I am the problem. If Driscoll keeps talking, Joe will need tranquilizers.

  66. Numo-

    I think the post on Salsa Dancing gives us insight on what Dee thinks about Anyabwile. She did reference him, but only if she thinks he disagrees with others @ TGC, which is the post you are referring too.

  67. ScotT-
    “I’m sure there are quite many pastors that Dee and Deb trust.”
    You would assume so, but Dee later stated in this thread that she has only admitted to supposedly 5, but she will only list 1 by name: Burleson.

  68. JeffS- My comments are directed at Dee. Fair enough in regards to your thoughts on trust & famous pastors. I would encourage you to extend your same reasoning to Dee "diagnosing pastors" from her internet perch. This is especially when she seems to have a propensity to distrusting the majority of the ones mentioned on her blog, which is what we are talking about, not the world. Still standing at a 3 to 1 ratio of trust to distrust (which is only a partial list on the distrust side).

  69. Dee-

    I hear you loud & clear: ONLY 5 PASTORS YOU SELF-IDENTIFY AS LIKING OR TRUSTING. “According to Dee, there is Burleson, an unnamed pastor in the blog roll, a pastor in Dallas she often mentions by name, but not now & 2 unnamed Calvinists she likes. That brings the working total to 5.” Keep “diagnosing pastors” Dee, but your readers should be able to guess on the diagnosis without having to read the post.

    Just the thoughts of a regular guy in Seattle, so take it or leave it.

  70. Joe – I happen to agree completely on the post re. Thabiti’s salsa dancing metaphor.

    So… never let it be said that TWW ignores good things someone might do/say/write/preach.

    As others have noted, this site is mainly about spiritual abuse, and Dee and Deb call ‘em like they see ‘em. Your opinion – and mine – may not be the same as theirs, but they’re providing a valuable service here and I deeply appreciate the support I’ve found on this site.

    Your mileage, however, may vary.

  71. Anon1 & Headless Unicorn Guy,

    My point is not about Driscoll or any of the pastors mentioned. I simply listed the pastors Dee has bashed to show an obvious underlying storyline of the posts at TWW.

  72. I watched the second half of the 60 minutes video and I believe one of the amazing things about Sully was that he did not rest until he knew all of the passengers were accounted for. Before he got into his life raft, he checked the sinking plane twice for passengers left behind. After, he rechecked the number of passengers that were alive to make sure it was 155. Sully took care of his flock, even when the situation was grim. He had the professional training, vast experience in more than one area of his industry, as well as displaying humility and professionalism.

    I can't help but be reminded of a certain MH bus (I am currently on said bus, hoping to jump off soon, but that's another story). Though the bus quote is from years ago, I feel like it's relevant to this article and this comparison. It makes me think: Would MD stay behind to make sure EVERY. SINGLE. SOUL. was accounted for? If a plane landed in water, would he be quickly escorted out by his ever-present body guards? Would he react calmly to the situation? Would he ask for all of his passengers stuck on the plane's wing to be saved from his sinking plane first? Oh, the questions we can ask about this ministry called Mars Hill.

    I think Mark Driscoll has left souls behind in his many years of ministry. While I don't think this was done purposefully, nor because he doesn't care for his congregation, I think it may be because he doesn't understand the 1) seriousness of his position and 2) that leaders are to serve and care for the people they lead. I've heard him speak more than once on the seriousness of the task of being an elder, but the "vision" of MHC might have gotten in the way of this.

  73. Numo-

    Dee bashes Anyabwile in many posts including the salsa dancing post, not agrees with him. Only one she partially agrees with him is the Puritans & slavery post. Her overwhelming number of negative words over positive words proves she distrusts Anyabwile. It’s more than just about abuse. Truth in advertising would be helfpul: TWW- Bashing Pastors since 2009.

  74. Joe – dude, there is a big difference between “bashing” and legitimate critique of what a person says/publishes/writes/preaches.

    But I suspect this will not make any difference to your argument.

  75. Joe –

    You seem unable to grasp the main purpose of this blog which has been specifically pointed out to you.

    The people discussed on this blog are all outspoken men and women who preach, teach, write books and blogs, and constantly speak in the public arena. Since they choose to do this, anyone is perfectly free to judge their words. As Christians, we are actually called to weigh their words.

    You are doing exactly the same thing by commenting on TWW. The big difference here is that you are allowed to say what you have to say, which is not usually the case on most of the blogs written by other teachers and pastors. They don’t tolerate discussion or disagreement.

    Feel free to go read and listen to MD. You sound like the perfect yes man to assist him in convincing people to buckle up for the bumpy ride and the possible crash and burn if the turn is too sharp. Don’t mind the debris strewn about in the fields either. MD concluded his article with the fact that God is ultimately the one steering since He is sovereign. It appears MD is not responsible for anything.

  76. Numo-

    Do you find it strange that Dee answers she only trusts 5 pastors? Dislikes, Distrusts, Bashes, Critiques fill in the pastor’s name & you will get it @ TWW.

  77. Joe

    Do we care if Dee hasn’t made a list of all the pastors she likes for us to critique?
    No.

    Now are you willing to talk about the post, or will you continue trying to take Dee down for not having positive, fluffy, Ostrich-like self-affirming blog content?

  78. Joe – we’re going around in circles.

    How about responding to the actual content of Dee’s post instead?

  79. Joe, instead of hanging around here moaning, why not start your own blog entitled ‘sycophants R us’ where you can celebrate Driscoll et al to your heart’s content?

  80. ✿*´¨)
    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•`  ¤ “Finding The \ost Faith?”*´¨)

    HowDee YaAll,

    “Be it sight, sound, smell, or touch,
      There’s something inside, that we need so much.
        The sight of a touch, or the scent of a sound,
      Or the strength of an oak, with roots, deep in the ground.
    The wonder of flowers, to be covered, and then to burst up,

    Through tarmac, to the sun again, or to fly to the sun,
      Without burning a wing, to lie in a meadow,
        And hear the grass sing. To have all these things,
      In our memories hoard, and to use them,

    to help us, to help us….”

    to help us?

    hahahahahahaha 
           hahahahahahaha
                  Ahhahahahahaha!

    ╔═══╗ ♪
    ║███║ ♫
    ║ (●) ♫ ║
    ╚═══╝♪♪♪♫♪

    …♪♫♪ Ride, ride my church see-saw, 
      Take this place on this slick church trip just for me?
         Ride, take a free ride, 
    …♪♫♪  Take my place, have my seat, it’s for free?

    (sob)

    Ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah!

    …♪♫♪ Left school with a first-class pass, 
         Started church but as second class,
      Church taught one and one is three, 
    …♪♫♪ But by now, that answer just ain’t free…

    Ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah!

    …♪♫♪ I worked like a church slave for years, 
      Sweat so hard just to end my fears, 
        Not to end my life a spiritually poor man, 
          But by now, I know I should have run…

    Ride my church see-saw?

           Ah ah ah ah,

        …♪♫♪  My  ‘faith’ world is spinning around, 
       Everything is lost that I found, 
     People run, come ride with me, 
    Let’s find another ‘faith’ that’s free?

    hum, hum, hum…

    “Ride my church see-saw?”

    hmmm…

    > Belief? …maybe, i could take this round off. :-)

    S“㋡”py!
    ___
    * “Ride My See-Saw” Lyrics written by written by LODGE JOHN,  © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. (lyrics reflect parody adaptation, disclaimer: U.S. Title 17 infringement unintended)

  81. Fighting For The Faith did a great podcast (only ~23 minutes) on Driscoll’s post, breaking down everything that is wrong with it. He’s of the opinion that this post shows all the hallmarks of cult leadership, not church leadership. I highly recommend giving it a listen.

  82. Bridget, Pam, (and others),

    Great comments!  I do find it interesting that Joe doesn’t have a wing man in this discussion. 

  83. Supposing Dee and Deb only trust 5 pastors, I’d have to say that 5 pastors is more than enough. First of all, how many pastors do you get to know well enough in a lifetime to say ‘I trust this person’? You may place a high level of trust in a pastor’s biblical interpretation if you don’t know him or her, but that is not the same as saying ‘I trust this person to shepherd others’. It’s not all about exegesis. For example, perfect exegesis + abuse cover ups = untrustworthy as a pastor. The position of pastor is one of great influence and, in many cases, one in which you can succeed with no training or talent beyond charisma. This appeals to the narcissistic, bombastic control freaks out there, and the slippery salespeople, and the little boys who want to look like big men. People who are all image and no substance. And a lot of pastors who are good people just haven’t been trained to understand or interpret the Bible. I could swear that at my last two churches, the pastors got their theology and application from about three sources, none of them the Bible and all of them written within the last 30 years.

  84. Joe, Dee mostly falls into the same category of people who I trust in limited areas. Like Sproul or Keller, there are points I disagree with her point of view, and that’s fine (if you go back to her post on the SGM conference you will see an example where I disagreed and said so). In fact, being a Reformed believer there have been more than a few disagreements I’ve had with people on this blog. But I value what Dee does in the name of defending the oppressed, so I welcome that which helps me grow and be more Christlike.

    And to be clear, God is absolutely interested in justice for the oppressed and calling out those who lead falsely. I actually found this blog due to my research online about Driscoll and his teaching (after having him recommended to me as a teacher I ought to listen to). I am glad this blog, along with others who call out Driscoll, are doing what they do. Everything I can see from his own lips causes me to believe that he is an abusive man who should not be leading Christians at all, and people need to be woken up to this fact. The more people who mirror and model his abusive nature, the more corrupt the modern evangelical church is going to become.

    “she seems to have a propensity to distrusting the majority of the ones mentioned on her blog, which is what we are talking about, not the world”. If we are not talking about “the world” but only the ones she mentions, then why is it objectionable to you that she distrusts the majority that she mentions? As as been pointed out to you repeatedly, there is a specific reason for this- the purpose of this blog is to point out those she distrusts. If you object to this purpose, then just say so- stop trying to make the case that her percentages are off.

    The purpose of warning people from being led astray by false teachers is a Biblical one- read 2 John or Jude. The whole point of those letters was to warn people from being led astray. It also seems to be your goal; however you are not doing it by interacting with the content of what Dee says, which makes your arguments uncompelling.

    If you are an apologist for Driscoll and want to explain to us why he is not a false teacher or an abusive man, please do so. If I am wrong and if there is some justification for all the ill he has preached, the please enlightened me. I do not want to view a true man of God incorrectly, and I am sincere about that. However, if this is your goal you better start working because there’s a lot for you to do. As for Dee, I will continue to evaluate what she says fairly in the light of scripture.

  85. Jeff S,

    Yours is a very fair comment. I especially liked your reference to Jude. Before we began blogging, I attended every single seminary chapel service in which Danny Akin, president of SEBTS, taught from the book of Jude. I always sat in the back (like a good Baptist) and took extensive notes. Akin did an excellent job of ‘unpacking’ the text.

    At the time I didn’t know anything about Mark Driscoll or C.J. Mahaney. In hindsight, I took Akin’s exposition of Scripture and applied it. How odd that Mahaney will be joining the SEBTS president on stage once again for the 20/20 conference coming up in February. It will be Mahaney’s THIRD appearance at Southeastern, and yes, I am keeping count…

  86. “The comparison of education and experience between Sully and Driscoll is excellent.

    Reminds me of some comments I made recently just a day or 2 ago trying to encourage people to see that it’s better for us all to listen to people with education and expertise, and not flash in the pan, entertainer types that are all too common in many Christian circles these days.”

    Anonymous, Are you referring to the Rachel Held Evans post? If you are that is a big stretch. RHE is like Mark Driscoll? She is telling people she is their pilot? That they should follow her?

    Or has been simply been sharing her faith journey in public? And asking tons of uncomfortable questions? Some of which I think are silly and some of which I think are fantastic.

    I am simply astounded that she is so threatening to so many men. If you guys who think she is such an ignorant twit had left it all alone, she might have sold less books.

    You cannot compare her to the spiritual abusers and charlatans masquerading as pastors. Where has she told people that God anointed her to be their pilot? Or they are sinning by questioning her? In fact, I would LOVE to see Driscoll interact with people on the internet as she does. Same for Mahaney, Mohler, Piper and all the other

    “That’s especially true if the entertainer types affirm things we believe. Because our critical analysis often goes to sleep in such situations.”

    It is not necessarily ONLY the entertainer types. Many have gone to sleep and given up indenpendent thinking and analysis when they encounter Dever, Mohler or Piper.

    Seriously? “Marginalize people”? Jesus was “damned” on the Cross? Keys to the kingdom? These guys have their own issues and they are educated to some extent. Sometimes education can just make a charlatan more diabolically clever.

  87. @ Deb:

    “I always sat in the back (like a good Baptist)”

    I thought Lutherans had the corner on filling a church from the back. ; )

  88. You know, sleeping on this latest Driscoll BS, having read this post (‘nother good one btw Dee), and the conversation here about the military and all. It made me think of my brother who is an F-16 pilot in the Air Force, a Major expected to become a Lieutenant Colonel. He has spent a lot of time training young men in his years in the military and has just came back from Afghanistan after another extensive tour.

    I did a small man series (of which Driscoll was a part) and a strong men series (that my brother was mentioned in where I don’t even get into his military achievements) comparing and contrasting the difference between real men and those who just play at it.

    I’m not linking the series. There is something else that stands out in stark contrast between wannabemanpastor Driscoll and real men like my brother and Capt. Sully.

    Whereas my brother has just spent months away from his wife and family, meaning voluntarily denying himself the comforts of home and relations with his wife in order to serve his country, Driscoll can’t go without sex for four of five days while his wife is menstruating. And worse, he trains his subordinates to be just as demanding, needy, and undisciplined as his own sorry self.

    Shame on Driscoll for even thinking he could compare himself with men like Sully and my brother when he doesn’t have as much self-control and self-discipline in his entire being that Sully and my brother have in their left foot pinkie toes.

    http://frombitterwaterstosweet.blogspot.com/2012/04/driscoll-is-anal.html

  89. Hester,

    LOL! You’ve never heard of back row Baptists? It’s a funny phenomenon. At the Baptist church I attend, very few people are seated at the front of the sanctuary. Sometimes it makes me chuckle from the back row (where my hubby and I try to sit). Come to think of it, maybe it’s that way for a reason – the last will be first (out of the church, that is)! Just kidding :-)

  90. Baptists get only backrow during church.
    Potlucks – I mean – providential suppers are a different matter.

  91. Joe

    Glad to see you are reading our blog carefully. I particularly liked that post “Salsa Dancing Our Way to Complementarianism.”

  92. Joe

    Bless your heart! You are going to have a stoke in the years to come if Mark does not settle down. 

  93. Joe

    Do you understand that you are not getting anywhere? After a few years, I have come to know what makes a difference. I just wrote a post about Driscoll. I think I made my point effectively. Others are reading it and agreeing with what I have written.

    If you want to make a difference, deal with the post. Attacking me, and what I do on this blog is not effective. In fact, the more you do so, the more people wonder what is getting you so riled up. And the more they will read. Controversy is the lifeblood of blogs. Heck, even Driscoll knows that! Refute my writing.

  94. Numo

    In the end, I am so grateful for this statement of yours. 

     “I deeply appreciate the support I’ve found on this site.” I really do care for the people who come here, even the ones who disagree with me. I love the give and take. And, BTW, back at you. You have had my back on many occasions and I so appreciate it. This blog is a sum of all those who come and interact. The post itself is only the diving board into the discussion.

     

  95. “Whereas my brother has just spent months away from his wife and family, meaning voluntarily denying himself the comforts of home and relations with his wife in order to serve his country, Driscoll can’t go without sex for four of five days while his wife is menstruating. And worse, he trains his subordinates to be just as demanding, needy, and undisciplined as his own sorry self.”

    Amen Mara. Excellent point. Driscoll is nothing but a narcissistic bully and people pay him to use Jesus for his platform. Amazing.

  96. MHC

    Thank you for your excellent comment with your “insider” view into the machine that is MHC. I believe that Driscoll perceives the church is a private company, and he is a CEO who is not really accountable to anyone except to make enough money to be a self-sustaining, successful company. Anyone who does not contribute to the CEO’s vision is thrown under the bus.

    But God’s economy is different. The least among us are to be first. Grace, love and mercy should define us. The “CEO” should be washing the feet of the homeless man and listening to the view of a single mother. Humility should rule the day. Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world.” But so many of our churches look like mediocre companies of this world. We are no different. Our vision is mundane. A large church does not mean success or God’s blessing. If we think so then we have consuming the warmed up leftovers of living by the Law.

    When the day comes, if you would like to write your story here, anonymously or otherwise, let us know. 

  97. Joe

    So, I am waiting for your analysis of the post…Bless your heart! I have really got you riled up.

  98. Hester

    Throughout college I was know as part of the “Back Row.” There were 5 of us and no one ever tried to take our seats. Somehow, everyone knew we belonged there.

  99. Mara/Anon1

    Let’s repeat this for Joe. Maybe he will respond to this statement.

     

    “Whereas my brother has just spent months away from his wife and family, meaning voluntarily denying himself the comforts of home and relations with his wife in order to serve his country, Driscoll can’t go without sex for four of five days while his wife is menstruating. And worse, he trains his subordinates to be just as demanding, needy, and undisciplined as his own sorry self.”

     
  100. Irish

    Never, ever stand in the way when the dinner bell is rung. Gluttony- a sin that has been raised to a virtue by some.

  101. Speaking of understatement, we have: “the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage” pilot/deity Hirohito (August 15,1945)

  102. I appreciate what this blog is shining the light on. So necessary in our current times.
    A general comment on trust:
    It is my understanding that the bible never instructs us to trust our human leaders. We are to place our trust in Jesus Christ. No human being is infallable. The Bereans were commended for fact checking what Paul taught them. We are told to honour those who serve well with the gifts God has given them. That’s not the same as trusting.

  103. Jeff S

    Frankly, I would be concerned if no one disagreed with me. Heck, there are days when I argue with myself. I have been considering doing two posts in which I refute the first in the second. 

    You are correct. This blog focuses on issues that lead to abuse within the church. We are equal opportunity offenders. We don’t care about the denomination or the theological bent. For example, we have discussed the horrors of pedophilia in the IFB, the SBC and Reformed churches and parachurch groups.  Same goes for abusive leadership. 

    This blog’s inception came with a bunch of soul searching. We knew we would be slammed for addressing sacred cows-be they doctrine or leaders. We first thought we would just do a review of some of the religious items in the news. In fact, our tweet #wartwatch is my way of harking back to those days. But, as events unfolded in our lives-pedophilia, hardline creationism, Neo-Calvinism, abusive leadership- we began to see our direction switch.

    In the beginning, even our families and friends were a bit confused by what we were doing. But, we stayed the course and clearly saw how our experiences were preparation for what we would learn from those who visit this blog. My husband is now a major supporter and has written a couple of posts through the years. My Bible study group prays for all of us although I never share anyone’s identities. That is an inviolable rule. 

    Make no mistake about it. We take our cues from our readers. For example, I need to return a phone call from someone from half a world away who is dealing with a serious church abuse situation.Think about those who have called us and we have grown to enjoy like Julie Anne Smith and SGM folks. Many have told their stories here. 

    This blog has evolved as the readers have come to share their stories. It is no longer us, but all of those who come here. As Joe goes after the two of us, he misses the point. This is not about Dee and Deb but about all of us and all of our stories. 

    But, I understand Joe. He believes in Mark Driscoll and it is hard to see someone we admire being “dumped on” (in his mind.) One day, and it happens to many, Joe will have an experience and he will begin to see where we are coming from. Had you told me, even 6 years ago, that I would be where I am today – I would have thought you were nuts.

    Please pray for us as we navigate these tricky waters. 

  104. Elvera

    Welcome to TWW. Great comment on trust. I like this last sentence.  “We are told to honour those who serve well with the gifts God has given them. That’s not the same as trusting.”

  105. DaveAA

    Political speak knowns no boundary and is seen in all cultures. Thank you for sharing this. Like the pilot/deity adjective!

  106. Dee, re: Joe and many others —

    I have observed a strange phenomenon among these authoritarian comp/patriarchy guys, whether SGM, Mars Hill, or anywhere else.

    If you are a fawning sycophant, you are wise and humble.

    If you keep quiet, maybe smile and nod from time to time, all is well.

    If you speak out against them in any small way, however true or justified, you are denigrated and dismissed as bitter, rebellious, wounded, aggrieved, discontent, unloving, troubled, unbiblical, unsubmissive, gossipy, slanderous, busybodies.

    And that goes double if you have the audacity to be found guilty of SWF — Speaking While Female.

  107. But, I understand Joe. He believes in Mark Driscoll and it is hard to see someone we admire being “dumped on” (in his mind.) — Dee

    Especially when that “someone” is his REAL Personal Lord and Savior(TM).

  108. “Whereas my brother has just spent months away from his wife and family, meaning voluntarily denying himself the comforts of home and relations with his wife in order to serve his country, Driscoll can’t go without sex for four of five days while his wife is menstruating.”

    To all horny-boiz who “can’t go without sex for four or five days”:

    I’ve gone without sex for 56 years. GROW. UP.

  109. Joe –

    You seem unable to grasp the main purpose of this blog which has been specifically pointed out to you.

    Feel free to go read and listen to MD. You sound like the perfect yes man to assist him in convincing people to buckle up for the bumpy ride and the possible crash and burn if the turn is too sharp. Don’t mind the debris strewn about in the fields either.

    And enjoy all the brown-nosed perks and privileges of The Inner Ring before Driscoll throws you under his bus.

  110. Never Again

    SWF-Speaking While Female-love it. People like Joe do not understand that they are using the sme old tired tactics that are increasingly being revelaed on the blogs.

    “if you speak out against them in any small way, however true or justified, you are denigrated and dismissed as bitter, rebellious, wounded, aggrieved, discontent, unloving, troubled, unbiblical, unsubmissive, gossipy, slanderous, busybodies.”

    They show their utter inability to argue the points on the merit of the critque. You know you have won when they go personal. 

  111. “I have observed a strange phenomenon among these authoritarian comp/patriarchy guys, whether SGM, Mars Hill, or anywhere else.

    If you are a fawning sycophant, you are wise and humble.

    If you keep quiet, maybe smile and nod from time to time, all is well.

    If you speak out against them in any small way, however true or justified, you are denigrated and dismissed as bitter, rebellious, wounded, aggrieved, discontent, unloving, troubled, unbiblical, unsubmissive, gossipy, slanderous, busybodies.

    And that goes double if you have the audacity to be found guilty of SWF — Speaking While Female.

    Never Again,

    And what I have found is when people realize that these men are NOT their Holy Spirit, they get away from them.

  112. HUG, When they go into their sex obesession mode in sermons I often think of Richard Wurmbrand torturned and rotting in a Romanian prison for the faith. And I think, “What a bunch of shallow self obesessed wimps”.

  113. Deb, Hester,

    So, what’s the deal with sitting in the back? Perhaps no one really knows — it’s just the done thing, & people don’t analyze why. But you don’t seem the kind of people who do things in a non-thinking way.

    Is the motivation to sit in the back out of politeness, denying oneself a good seat so others can have the better seat towards the front (like at a concert or play)?

    Is it a false modesty, like no one wants to look self-important by assuming a seat in the front?

    Is it non-chalance, not wanting to look overly impressed or enthusiastic about the presentation (as in, “yes, i’m very mature and understand what the minister is going to say better than he does, I’m just here to support those of you who don’t know very much”)?

    Not that I would expect any of these motivations to be yours. Just wondering what’s behind the custom.

  114. Just the fact that some pastors give in to their desire to be THE preacher at all of their organization’s locations on Sunday (via video) tells me the first arrogant thing about them. Even though I may disagree with so many other denominations doctrines, the leaders-the top ‘presidents’ if you will are only occasional speakers at their churches. This allows for a lot more no name preachers so there is less to criticize. SGM may have different preachers but CJ always made sure that his presence, his doctrine, his personality was above all. I attend an AG church, we rarely know the names of the people ‘in charge.’ some pastors within the denomination however have attempted the multi-site, and I did think they already showed arrogance before they tried.

  115. Mara mentioned,

    “Whereas my brother has just spent months away from his wife and family, meaning voluntarily denying himself the comforts of home and relations with his wife in order to serve his country, Driscoll can’t go without sex for four of five days while his wife is menstruating. And worse, he trains his subordinates to be just as demanding, needy, and undisciplined as his own sorry self.”

    ********

    What rang in my memory: “….husbands having sex with their wives at LEAST once a day…”–Mark Driscoll, at Arlington National Cemetary, of all places.

    Are men really this needy?? (any care to answer?)

    hmmm…. what is now ringing in my memory at this moment:

    “Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.”
    –Katherine Hepburn as Rose Sayer in the African Queen

  116. Joe,

    There are many men and women doing the Lord’s work all over the country. Most of them labor in small, difficult places. A great deal of them don’t do podcasts, have twitter accounts, or write books. Their silence does far more to engender trust than the verbose meanderings of men like Challies, DeYoung, and Driscoll. You see, those silent pastors are busy working with and for their people. Driscoll is far too busy talking about himself, banking in on conference gigs, and doing the exegetical spade work on his “visions.” When and if he humbles himself and places the needs of his people ahead of his grandstanding, then he’ll earn more trust. Until then, I’ll continue to pray that he’ll be removed from the pulpit & that his people will hear God even when their pastor tries to out yell the Lord.

  117. Joe

    Wow – You accuse TWW of Bashing Pastors. Then “you” name 15 so-called pastors. That takes some time and research on your part. You sound serious about your beliefs. Well, me too. I was ordained, I was in “Leadership.” And now have a different take on these so-called Pastors. Oy Vey!!! :-(

    And my recommendation, since leaving ‘The Abusive Religious System,” is, Never, Never, Never, Ever, Ever, put your trust in a “Mere Fallible Human.” When you can put your “Trust” in Jesus, Hear His Voice and Follow Jesus.

    Jer 17:5
    Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm…

    Ps 118:8-9
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

    For me, if someone has the “Title” Pastor/Leader/Reverend.” A “Title” NOT found in th Bible…
    All “Trust” is gone. – They might be a nice guy. Might even be saved. (I have pastor friends.) ;-)

    But, “Trust” – NOPE, NOT anymore. Even my friends know, NO Disciple had the “Title” Pastor.

    And like Jeff S – “The person who demands my trust automatically loses it.” (Great quote)

    Why would anyone, who said the Bible is God’s Word, Take a “Title/Postion” NOT in the Bible?
    BUT – I cudda missed it.

    I’ve asked a few you mentioned for help. But some “banned” me. And others “Ignore” me;-)

    Maybe you can help. Seems you’re good at research. And you’re serious about your beliefs.
    Would you answer these questions, from the Bible, that those you named refuse to answer?

    In the Bible – How many of His Disciples – Are “Called” – Pastor/Leader/Reverend?
    In the Bible – How many of His Disciples – “Call themself” – Pastor/Leader/Reverend?
    In the Bible – How many of His Disciples – Have the “Title” – Pastor/Leader/Reverend?
    In the Bible – How many of His Disciples – Are Hired or Fired – as a – Pastor/Leader/Reverend?

  118. Joe

    And I’m serious about warning folks about these guys who control and manipulate believers.
    ….Like those 15 you named.
    Especially if they claim the “Innerancy” of the Bible. The “Innerancy” of their interpretation. ;-)
    ….Like those 15 you named.
    Then these so-called pastors “Ignore” and “Twist” the “Qualifications” for Elder/Overseer.
    …..Like those 15 you named.
    So they can obtain for themselves a postion of – Power – Profit – Prestige – Honor – Reputation…
    …..Like those 15 you named.
    Then they take a “Title” and “Position” NOT found in the Bible. “Pastor/Leader/Reverend”
    …..Like those 15 you named.
    And go out of their way to make a “Reputation” for themselves and “Exercise Authority.”
    …..Like those 15 you named.

    Seems Jesus, as man, humbled Himself, made Himself of NO reputation,
    and took on the form of a “Servant.” Phil 2:7-8.

    Haven’t you ever wondered? Why? Pauls “Qualifications” are so tough?
    Haven’t you ever wondered? Why? So many today “Ignore” and “Twist” the “Qualifications?”

    Should anyone “Trust” a “Pastor/Reverend” who has a “Title” NOT found in the Bible?
    Should anyone “Trust” a “Pastor/Reverend” who does NOT “Qualify” as Elder/Overseer?

    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    *their shepherds* have caused them *to go astray*
    Jer 50:6

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    Seems, in the Bible, the only one with the ‘Title” Shepherd – is Jesus… ;-)

    How do you explain so many – “takeing The Name of the Lord thy God in Vain?”

  119. Deb:

    You are welcome. I believe that after reading your story about your former church, it gave me a great deal of perspective on this blog.

    One of the things about the internet and email is that it allows communication, but often does not promote full understanding.

    If I was sitting down with almost every person on this blog, I think that the conversations would be different because I could learn more about the perspective of each person.

    Once you understand a person’s background and perspective, it helps with communication.

    So I clearly get why the main focus of your blog is abuse and poor leadership.

  120. Dee:

    You are right. The “Head Apostle” title is going to be a millstone around his neck in this thing. I do not count myself an expert on SGM polity, and really don’t want to spend the time to become an expert.

    But it’s fairly clear to me that while they claim some level of autonomy for their churches, it’s not like the Baptists, where each church is completely autonomous.

    Based on what little I have read, there does appear to be some authority/control from the higher ups, but I am not sure how much.

    The term “Head Apostle” certainly creates that impression, and may in itself be enough to create what is called a “genuine issue of material fact” which would prevent the court for granting a summary judgment in favor of Mahaney, SGM or other parts of the organization who many not have been involved directly in handling the molestation. Of course, the discovery may turn up communications and such showing that there was actual participation and control exercised from the top.

    You never know what facts are going to pop up in a lawsuit. So one should not bet on them.

    Let the facts come out and apply the law fairly.

  121. elastigirl

    I sat in the back for nefarious reasons. I could make witty comments about the professors and they couldn’t hear me. However, I am now much more polite.

  122. @ Elastigirl:

    “husbands having sex with their wives at LEAST once a day”

    He said that at Arlington National Cemetery?!?!?! (I never did get a chance to watch that video what with Sandy and other things.) If that’s true, I may retract my slight objections to the use of the word “trampling” to describe Driscoll walking around the cemetery.

    I thought that video was about church planting. What on earth does having sex “AT LEAST ONCE A DAY!!!!” have to do with church planting?! And when are these poor wives – who are, remember, supposed to provide their husbands with a perfect lovely little “nest” to come home to every night – supposed to get all their other work done if they’re supposed to be having sex multiple times a day?

    But more importantly – what theological horrors will we witness when Mark hits middle age and certain things just don’t work like they used to? Will he have some kind of breakdown the first time he picks sleep over sex?

  123. Anonymous

    I think it is important for the facts to come out. For a long time, the pastors at SGM forbade their followers to read the blogs. They were told not to ask questions because it was mere gossip. They won’t be able to play the gossip card on the attorneys for the litigants. It ought to be fascinating. I am considering attending the trial when it occurs.

  124. Hester

    I believe that there is something wrong with Driscoll and have been predicting that something serious is going to happen one of these days. 

  125. When you historically look at the early church leadership, (Pastors, Deacons, etc..) you find that part of job description for these roles includes the following: If, by any reason, the government authorities come to persecute the church, the leader is to stay behind and purposefully be arrested, as to make sure that the followers have the time to escape.

    So ultimately, those who are in these pastor roles are supposed to be so trustworthy that the entire community would rely on them for escape. This is quite a feat, and involves great humility. And it also raises the question if any of these celebrity “holy men” pastors were to come under persecution, would they run and hide, allowing the followers to be arrested, or would they hold ground and take their place instead. If a pastor cannot fulfill this role, then they have no business being in leadership. And although this is indeed a hypothetical situation, I do not see the public humility in Driscoll, or any of the big name celebrity pastors today. To do what they early church pastors did would require true humility, true courage, and true love, and anyone willing to “throw someone under the bus” does not exhibit any of these characteristics.

  126. “If I was sitting down with almost every person on this blog, I think that the conversations would be different because I could learn more about the perspective of each person.”

    Why would “perspective” change objective truth? Protecting Molesters is wrong. Lording it over by claiming you are the pilot for the body of Christ is wrong.

    “Once you understand a person’s background and perspective, it helps with communication.”

    Like the “victim” of molestation is just being emotional or revengeful for speaking up about it? Sorry but your assertions are a bit scary if you are the anonymous I think you are. You are a big supporter of Mohler who tries to make everyone think you are “neutral” and understanding but you use words in such a way as to “infer” something else. You are a “clever” communicator.

    “So I clearly get why the main focus of your blog is abuse and poor leadership.”

    So, how did you “get” that? Because they stood up to evil in a church? Protecting molesters is not “poor leadership”. It is evil.

  127. Anonymous,

    I am grateful that my testimony helped you understand our focus here at TWW. Perhaps providentially, I heard the current pastor of my former church on a Christian radio program earlier this week. I don’t have any problem with him, but it would be impossible for me to return to that congregation given what happened.

    During that broadcast, he happened to mention that three church members are running for office in North Carolina – one is running for Congress, one for Lieutenant Governor, and one is seeking re- election on the NC Supreme Court. Yes, there are some highly influential people at my former church…

  128. Mara

    Good point, Paul even says it is better to not marry, and then, not remarry (1 Cor 7). It is an interesting take. I wonder what his rules are for remarrying couples, you can’t take part of that passage – don’t deny each other, without including, don’t remarry. Given how often that church has driven the divorced wife out of the church, while allowing the divorced husband to continue on there, I suspect he feels all men in good standing are entitled to conjugal relations – divorced or not.

    I am not taking a side one way or the other on remarriage (I wouldn’t feel qualified to make a decision like that for someone else, but then, I would feel anyone is qualified to say wives must put out, either), just noting that teaching is all tied together, and these Calvinista churches sure like the whole wives must put out verses, but seem to gloss over the better not to marry/don’t remarry verses.

  129.  “Spiritual Leader @ Da ‘Fright’ Controls?”

    hmmm…

    Wouldn’t Keflex in spiritual form serve to a better purpose?

    It is doubtful Mark Driscoll will apologize for the delay…

    (grin)

    S“㋡”py

  130. So, according to his analogy, co-leaders are the ones more likely to trust the leadership, and all resistance will be coming from inexperienced newbies?

    I guess that explains why some of the stiffest criticism of Driscoll and Mars Hill has come from former elders.

  131. Re: what Val was saying, “Paul even says it is better to not marry, and then, not remarry (1 Cor 7)…I wonder what his rules are for remarrying couples,…”

    ********************

    I’ve probably had this lurking about in my mid for a long time, but it is at this moment a lucid thought: do we really think that Paul and Father / Son / Holy Spirit hashed out this much minutiae about life? I don’t think so.

    So, it seems so unlikely that Paul is relaying God’s express “rules”, but rather merely giving his opinions. I think his pharisaical background would cause him to have excessive opinions about a whole host of topics (regardless of how expert he is on them).

    I have doubts about how far “infallible” and “inspired” extend to “opinions”. Literal truth? good ideas? things that may have some merit? I lean towards to the last one.

    Off-topic, I know — thinking out loud.

  132. Before I start, let me say that I don’t give a monkey’s about the ratio of trusted vs untrusted pastors referenced by Dee and Debs, nor in any of the infinite number of inferences this single number might support about their standing in heaven. You may as well assess the bio-diversity of an area of woodland by determining the number of golf-balls that are lost in it.

    Now, back to a certain young man’s claim that he has been specially gifted to make major decisions on behalf of several thousand believers, who have – he supposes – no business meddling in those decisions but should allow themselves to be hurled around by them regardless of the personal consequences. And his often-stated belief that those who last out against those decisions merely demonstrate their immaturity and pride. Co-incidentally, that would neatly describe his own (frequent, and public) reactions against any who attempt to pilot him in a “high-G turn”.

    This is what happens when a recent convert becomes an elder, which is why Paul warned Timothy against that very thing. The church at large is now having to deal with the effects of a gifted leader (not teacher, prophet, shepherd, evangelist, encourager, helper, giver, but leader) who became an elder over other believers before he was actually an elder believer.

    Driscoll himself is unentreatable; he thanks God that he is “submitted” to godly™ men but fires them and puts them out of the church if they try to make him submit to safeguards he really doesn’t want. There comes a point, therefore, where the local body of believers supporting his “eldership” needs to take more responsibility for him. But given that those who actually would do so have been systematically – and I use that word deliberately, since there is evidently a well-developed system in place – weeded out and thrown under the bus, I am not optimistic of this. Mars Hill is now simply a business whose members are staff, mostly unpaid, working with the primary role of furthering the ambitions of the CEO. In that context, the “pilot” analogy (which, applied to a gathering of believers under the Kingship of Jesus, is asinine) begins to make sense.

    I am reminded of a comment from the sixth Harry Potter book, in which Albus Dumbledore comments on the early followers of the young Voldemort:

    They were a motley collection; a mixture of the weak seeking protection, the ambitious seeking some shared glory, and the thuggish, gravitating towards a leader who could show them more refined forms of cruelty.

    I can’t help but think of my own reasons for remaining in an abusive church despite being increasingly miserable there. And I suspect it was mainly the middle of those three; the organisation appeared successful and I hoped, against hope, to build some kind of career in it myself. I thank God I was an unemployed, ADHD eccentric with no leadership gift, whom people wouldn’t even follow through a ground-floor exit from a burning explosives factory. Because if I’d been a gifted leader, I’d probably have done the same – persuade people to follow “Jesus” in order to make them serve me.

  133. Nick

    Excellent commentary! As I was reading it, I remembered that Mark Driscoll was mentored by two individuals outside of Mars Hill when he came under fire for his Song of Songs interpretation. Those two mentors were John Piper and C.J. Mahaney.

  134. I’m posting one more time because I came to a realization today. I was thinking about MD’s last sermon, Jesus is a Better Servant. I knew that when something is happening in the leadership and/or in Mark Driscoll’s life, it seeps into his sermons. I had heard from a person in my community group that the sermon was all about pride, and I decided to listen to it with the “pilot” blog in mind. You can listen it to yourself here:
    http://marshill.com/media/esther/jesus-is-a-better-servant

    Something is going on in the leadership at MHC, and Mark Driscoll is not happy about it. This sermon seems to be slightly turned towards the “Hamans” who “don’t know their place”. I’ll leave the most interesting tidbits here:

    “Let me tell you some things about pride and humility. Number one, humility means to know your place. The root word for humility literally means to know your place. The problem with Haman is he doesn’t know his place. He doesn’t know his place. He’s the guy who always wants to go up one more level in the organization, not because he’s the best guy for the job, but because there’s more glory there. So, he’s gotten himself to be the right hand to the king, number two in the whole of the Persian Empire. You know what he wants? More glory.

    Are you like that? You don’t know your place or you won’t accept your place. Being in an organization’s not okay; you have to be at the top. Seeing others succeed, that isn’t enough for you; you have to be the one who succeeds. That’s Haman’s problem. He doesn’t know his place. What he’s asking for is amazing. “I want to wear the king’s robes, I want to ride the king’s horse.” The only thing he didn’t ask for was the king’s wife. Other than that, he wants to be as high, as exalted, as rich, as powerful as he possibly can be.”

    “We’re all proud in different ways. Some of us want money, some of us want comfort, some of us want power, some of us want an audience, some of us want access to authority and leadership.”

    “You’re disagreeing with leadership, how should you conduct yourself? In whatever way it brings most glory to God.”

    I must say though, that MD does admit to being prideful, and that we should pray for our leadership so they might be servant leaders, but the blog followed by this sermon is extremely interesting.

    What do you all think?

  135. MHCmember874 – wow. that is *very* revealing.

    His definition of “humility” + application of it is just… [no words]

  136. MHCmember874,

    I found that portion of Driscoll’s message interesting. Now I’m gonna have to listen to it. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    We began focusing on Mark Driscoll just a month after we starting blogging. Here is one of those old posts.

    Smacking Down Mark Driscoll

  137. Nick

    I love your comment at 8:02 pm. In fact, it was so good that I might be inclined to go to a church in which you were an elder/pastor!

  138. MHC member

    He said 

    “Let me tell you some things about pride and humility. Number one, humility means to know your place. The root word for humility literally means to know your place. The problem with Haman is he doesn’t know his place. He doesn’t know his place. He’s the guy who always wants to go up one more level in the organization, not because he’s the best guy for the job, but because there’s more glory there.”

    Sounds to me like he is getting ready to “punch someone in the nose.”

  139. Joe:

    As someone who wrote for the Wittenburg Door years ago said, “The best crap detector is a deep love for that which is not crap”. Dee has shown her methods – she is trying to defend the church-abused – because she has seen what a good church can be like, and the abominations that are being put forth as examples of the true Church are reprehensible. I myself would have trouble finding 5 pastors that I trust. I have been in churches where the pastors were good men but bad pastors, churches where the pastors were not good men, and a very few churches where the pastors were both good men and good pastors. God is still on the throne, of course, no matter what pastors may try to assume the crown. I think there are a number of reasons why we have so many poor pastors today – and they are similar to why we have so many sociopaths as executives in business. The limelight and the power attract a certain kind of person – and our seminaries for the most part of made up of people who help people assume both.

    A calling is not supposed to be about either of those, though. The calling of teacher is one that should be approached with trepidation – and as the pastor in the old poem “first he wrought, and then he taught”. Those who curse their staff and throw out those who disagree are not the ones we need. Barnabas should be the example of pastors. Timothy and Paul both fed themselves rather than be supported. The son of man did not have his own house.

    You say she found 5 pastors she trusts? WOW! I doubt I can list that many pastors I trust. But I have not known that many pastors. Clearly there are a lot of pastors who I don’t know personally (Benny Hinn, for example) who I do NOT trust – Jim Bakker is another, and the list goes on. Of those I never met but would trust, C.S.Lewis now long gone to his reward would certainly be on the list, but only because of books I have read from people who knew him (A Severe Mercy for one).

    Joe, what do you use to determine who to trust? Do you trust anyone who puts pastor in front of their name? Anyone who makes a lot of money? What criteria do you use? In the OT I am told that people thought that the wealthy were blessed by God, and hence must be doing right. That isn’t my impression of what Jesus thought.

  140. I agree that one of the primary presenting problems with Driscoll and others at MHC, Acts 29, and among the Calvinistas, is INSECURITY.

    Capable, strong, effective, confident leaders don’t waste their time whining to their people to convince them to follow. Good leaders just lead, and people follow because the quality and skill of the leadership is evident. Any time you see a leader complaining about people not respecting/obeying/following them, the issues has more to do with the leader than with their people.

    This issue came up over and over at the Acts 29 church my wife and I left a while back. Young leadership (all b/w 25-33 years old) who constantly begged and threatened us to submit to and obey them. At a certain point, it became quite clear that they were not trained or gifted to be in the positions of pastoral leadership that they had assumed for themselves (with no real input from the congregation or any other accountability/oversight system). The result was a series of horrible mistakes that always ended the same way: people feeling hurt and confused, and complaining, and the leaders claiming that this was “sinful” and that the solution was simply to trust and submit.

    In my opinion, trust is earned, not given. I give all leaders/professionals a chance, but if they consistently prove themselves to be incompetent, I do not continue to follow/obey them. If my doctor screws up enough, I will find a new doctor. If my accountant makes enough mistakes, I will find a new CPA. I’m sure Driscoll would do the same. So why is spiritual leadership any different?

  141. Hi all:
    I just starting reading here recently but have listened to MD sermons for a while. Once you realize how crazy he sounds it gets kind of entertaining. He reminds me quite a bit of my ex-brother in law, who is now disqualified from ministry because my sister-in-law divorced him. But I digress…

    I think the following section of MDs rant is the most telling:
    “1. JUMP OUT OF THE PLANE
    Stand up, freak out, make a scene, grab a parachute, and jump out of the plane with your résumé in hand hoping to land a job somewhere else. If you are really freaked out and negative, you can try and take as many passengers with you as possible, which is in your mind some kind of heroic act.”

    Bitter much?? People starting to see through the smokescreen and leaving, so lets compare that to jumping out the plane!

  142. To “me” @ 10:16 p.m.: I like you already! In college, I devoured The Wittenburg Door. I had a professor who was good friends with Mike Yaconneli and told us wonderful stories. Reading The Wittenburg Door was such a breath of fresh air for me at the time, as I was a young, naive Christian. Thank you for your contributions!

  143. “Obey” a pastor?? I think I’m going to be sick.

    This pastor people species has mutated into something freakish.

    I don’t think any of what Mr. H describes is relationally/organizationally/emotionally sustainable. I’m fairly sure implosion is in the cards.

  144. Wenatchee the Hatchet has an excellent analysis. He understands much of MD’s mindset, having attended Mars Hill many years. Read it here.

  145. You know, the Calvinistas aren’t the first group to make the mistake of pulling all the eager young men into leadership and creating a maturity vacuum. But with the internet making the world smaller, their brand is going further than before. When this all crashes and burns, and it will, people will look to Tradition, or right doctrine, or whatever.

    If people would just look at the Bible, this pattern would get solved. Paul says not to put a young believer in charge too soon – this works either way: too young or too new to the faith.

    In the 90s, it was like this in the denomination I attended. It was a young, new denomination. It was growing fast and often drew pastors from other denominations in. Those pastors would start a church, then move on. They would raise up a leader from within. Since this was a new denomination, most of the congregation was 20s and 30s – very few 40s. This meant many young pastors got moved up to senior positions quickly.

    Those churches often fell apart. Sometimes due to pastoral infidelity. Not sure why that was the main reason, but I have a hunch the Calvinistas have decided that is the number 1 reason new church plants fail. Not the obvious problem of putting a, young naive, new-to-the-faith believer into the pastoral role who isn’t tested by the sands of time. No, just poor victims of wives “letting themselves go*” or inattentive wives, only possible reason according to them.

    My observations of the time are: the excitement of a new-found faith wears off quickly once storms hit. Many of these younger guys may have been brought up around the church, but hadn’t become believers until quite recently, they hadn’t tested their faith through life’s trials. Also, many younger pastors felt that the denomination had what no other denomination had, the right balance of Charisma and teaching. To some extent it did, but only at the beginning, when trained pastors – with years of experience and seminary training – joined.

    The newbies, lacking the seminary exposure (which, due to most seminaries around our area being anti-Charismatic, were not considered beneficial) and lacking pastoral experience, couldn’t lead as well over the long run. Problems arose, people left the church, the denomination as a whole lacked the deep well of experience to draw from when members went through tough times. Pastors often looked for a “type” of person to lead, due to some prophecy saying that God was going to move in this group of people or this type of vocation, so people were chosen based on their racial, economic or vocational background rather than giftings. Others felt slighted at being overlooked when a new guy was picked and so on.

    I see this happening in the Calvinista circles too. The young are being put into lead roles, far above their experience, often with no formal training they grasp at authority. Now, people are being told not to question their leadership. This is not a good combination.

    The sad thing is, no amount of doctrine or tradition can make a movement immune to this. It happened in the Charismatic movement in the 90s, now the Calvinist camp. But Paul’s advice for Timothy is wise. Pastoring/Eldership is not about charisma or leadership abilities. It is about finding God through a tried and tested faith.

  146. “When this all crashes and burns, and it will, people will look to Tradition, or right doctrine, or whatever.”

    I hear that the Eastern Orthodox Church has had a lot of interest lately.

  147. The Top Gun comparison was especially fitting, since it’s a film known for its homoerotic subtext.

  148. ‘“Obey” a pastor?? I think I’m going to be sick.

    This pastor people species has mutated into something freakish.

    I don’t think any of what Mr. H describes is relationally/organizationally/emotionally sustainable. I’m fairly sure implosion is in the cards.’

    It is quite literally sickening. I went to a church here in Scotland where obedience was expected – it was implied that doing anything other than what your ‘cell leader’ (not even the pastor but a random church member whose ‘cell’ you were in and who had undergone nothing that resembled pastoral training at all) told you to do would lead to curses upon your life and they made all these demands on you about evangelism etc. By the time I left I wasn’t able to set foot in any church anymore without feeling physically sick – panicking, crying etc. I will almost certainly never trust a pastor or feel at home in any church again. I’ve tried and failed.

    They used all these weird teachings from the USA, Colombia and South Korea. Here’s a website that does a great job of explaining what many churches believe, and why it’s false according to the Bible:

    http://www.coveringandauthority.com

    The website author spends a lot of time breaking down the teachings contained within an influential book called ‘Under Cover’ by John Bevere. We were taught from this book in our cell groups. It says things like this:

    “The authority in which we walk is directly proportional to our submission to authority. The great our level of submission, the greater our faith (Bevere 214).” (when talking about ‘submission’ he means in ***every area of life*** and not to God but to other people).

    “Since God has has appointed all authorities, we refuse the authority behind them if we dishonor or refuse to submit to them. Whether we know it or not, we resist the ordinance or the rule of God (Bevere 88)”

    “These men and women thought their insubordination was against Moses and not in any way connect to God. They thought they had successfully separated the two. They lived by reasoning instead of by the principle of obedience. Those who walk by the limited reasoning produced by sight and circumstances find themselves on the path of folly (Bevere 145).”

    The old ‘bitter’ card comes into play:

    “Spiritual authority is promised to those who suffer like Christ. The greater hardship you endure, the greater the authority God entrusts to you. Again, you see that God sets you up for a blessing when you encounter unreasonable authority. But will you respond correct and receive the blessing, or will you become resentful and bitter? The choice is yours. Choose the way of the overcomer, which is life (Bevere 177)!”

    “Our judgement will be relative to our submission, for authority if of God. To resist delegated authority is to resist God’s authority. We should not take upon ourselves the pressure to discern beforehand whether leaders are right nor not. Nor should we judge after the fact. This is not our burden, but God’s He alone knows and can change hearts as he so desires (Bevere 147)” .

    All Under Cover quotes are copied from the Covering and Authority website.

  149. Dear all

    I think the following article taken from the Let us reason.Org website I is very helpful.

    The mindset of a cult leader

    Cult leaders are not instantly made; they often have a gradual ascension to their position of control. Many times they come from among the church as the apostle Paul warned.

    Cults have not vanished from America’s landscape (or other countries), in fact they are on the increase. Not all cults are religious in nature. There are religious cults, secular cults, personality cults and Political cults. Cults are all about control, dictators can be cult leaders. Today, there is a wide variety and cults and religions that come in various flavors. They teach either their way through their church or group is the only way to God or that all religions have their own way to God and are acceptable. Neither extreme is true. Jesus said he was the way and told us that we are saved by grace through faith in HIM.

    To identify a cultic church we need to know what a Church that is free in Christ looks like. A church can only operate correctly under Christ by knowing its limits of control and maintain an attitude of servanthood. True shepherds abide by the Christian constitution. This is not man made doctrines or creeds but the Bible. Peter writes to the elders to “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers” (1 Peter 5:2). The word for overseers means to beware and watch carefully. You can tell a true shepherd (pastor) by how he guards the sheep against what would harm them. They will address falsehood from their pulpits when necessary for the protection of the sheep; they will give their lives for the sheep (Jn.10). They will not compromise their convictions because of friendship or hardship of money.

    They neither subtract nor add to the word, they do not overlook church discipline nor do they abuse the discipline they can implement by their authority, or position. They are men filled with grace looking to lift people out of bondage they are trapped in.

    They leave the choices to the people, allowing genuine faith to be present to accomplish the needs. Allowing the Holy Spirit to move the person to do the right thing. So they pray for the people to be led of Jesus and glorify God. That they will hunger for the word and read and study on there own, and not be negligent in their relationship with God and their fellowship with man. True spiritual growth is accomplished in an atmosphere of freedom, liberty that Christ gives and God’s appointed leaders will exert their influence to have the church live in this manner. When the church lives this way, it flourishes and everyone benefits because love is present.

    The real God-appointed pastor remains responsible, vigilant, as he watches over his flock as a protective mother hen, making sure they become mature in the faith and can stand on their own. “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7).

    Understanding what our freedom in Christ is helps us identify what can be taking away our freedom. A cult leader justifies nearly everything they do as right and will never admit doing something wrong, (especially to you personally). Paul said, “Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). They do this by speaking contrary to sound doctrine and lifting themselves to an authoritarian position by abusing Scripture. They use portions of the truth as a platform for their own unique doctrine. If they have no respect for God’s word, they will certainly have no respect for his children, they too will be abused. Paul said, “I did not abuse my authority in the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:18).

    I Jn. 2:19: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” (Acts 15:24). Many who run cults or are cultic shepherds came out of Christian churches and know what they believe but disregard it to have people follow them.

    Cult deprogrammer Rick Ross lists those who are victimized come from all walks of life, but the most vulnerable to mind control are those going through a difficult time in life or a transition:

    1. Recently divorced 2. Illness 3. Personal tragedy 4. Career failure 5. Away from home for the first time.

    When you ask questions about their history or teachings and they avoid answers, it is a warning sign. This is why it is so important to look into a church before you join to know how they began and their history. Too many waste years in churches because they neglected to do research on which would have only taken a few hours.

    Sometimes a church that began right can adopt a new program or has a new pastor come in that changes their whole way of ministry. Often times it promoted about expanding but it can also be about a Christian teaching that they themselves are deceived in. Again, research on the subject is pertinent to ones spiritual health. When one finds out something is drastically wrong, they should not hesitate but leave as soon as possible. The longer they delay the harder it is to leave.

    They are persuasive in a manner that one is not prepared to counter. One goes through a process of what is called behavior modification by the control used by the leader. In cult churches there comes to a point where one cannot question them because of the unique position. That they are right no matter what is found to be wrong, even if it is plainly stated in Scripture. They will not entertain and challenges by questions though they may acknowledge a concern of what you are seeing. They feign compassion and response to individual needs when they are really more concerned of the whole congregation. The amount of people corralled around their magnetic personality, or purpose of God. It becomes apparent that they are not there to serve you, but you them. “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave–just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28). True authority comes from God as one serves the people. “Jesus style” is one of servanthood not as the world rules over people taking control of their lives .

    The less resistance they have in what they are doing the faster they work to extend their control. Once peoples liberty are refrained it is never regained, no matter how many “sincere” conversations you may have with the leader[s]. When they begin to disallow you the freedom to talk to others it becomes a warning sign that they will not discuss it anymore and they are about to exercise more control over you so that you are no longer resisting them.

    They will eventually break your will and ability to seek truth and have you submit to them. They will take advantage of any insecurity and use and abuse you under the false authority of God. This trains the member for a dependency on man and at the same time a lack of faith in God. This produces “victims,” subject to even more control to the leader.

    Like Luther who stood against the manmade teaching of purgatory in the Roman Catholic Church that he was a priest in. The church wanted people to believe they still had some control over their loved ones who died and could be purged by them paying money for their release. So many schemes are implemented for the people to work for the church or its leader to move up the ladder into leadership, or to be in good graces. They may stop being friendly to you, to move you into a greater commitment. Performance is always tested and used for acceptance as their control mechanism. They will make to feel you are not up to God’s standard for their group. After you have voiced questions they will have you go through more rigorous courses or do works for the church.

    They require a great amount of commitment without allowing you a freedom of choice. Time, talent are all at the disposal of the church or leader. This is especially done with money. The people are told that the church has a mission, that they may be unique and they are obligated to give their money and time to it because it is following God. The leaders often live a lifestyle of opulence off their members and followers.

    “…nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us” (2 Thessalonians 3:8-9). The apostles did not use their position to get their way, but showed the gentleness and love of God through their ministry.

    God does not manipulate people by promising a blessing or answer their prayer faster or better if they give money to a church or its mission. God tells us to trust those who have shown themselves to preach his word correctly and actually show care for us, we are to distance ourselves from those who do not, for our own safety.

    The most dangerous of all is the religious that wrap themselves in God’s service as his spokesman. Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” They promise liberty but the people only get bondage. Under these leaders the people end up serving them, the more the people serve the less they have. The longer one is under a leader like this the more fear sets in when questions arise. There comes a time when the person will either leave or completely trust the leader no matter how they are manipulated or abused. Job 12:11; “Does not the ear test words and the mouth taste its food?

    Signs to watch for. They will always use the point that God chose them as the leader for you betterment, they become the mediators. God spoke to them even if it contradicts the word. They ascribe new meanings to the Scripture contrary to what you may have once known. They will have you change to the leaders words, that are a unique interpretation of the Bible – without knowing why.

    When you’re following their teachings it affects your time and relationship with your mate, family and friends. And they have you choose between them and God – which is interpreted as serving the church or them.

    The cults recruit people who have wandered from the truth or have a background in the church and are searching. Even a Christian can be deceived into a cultic church that looks like it is more dedicated and more loving than any church they have gone to.

    You need to know you can always exit out. Prov. 15:14: “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge.” Prov. 18:15: “The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” It can only happen by being convinced that they do not have the truth which means you will have to examine the Scripture and decide what the real meaning is on key passages and doctrines.

    Once you know that they are wrong it’s going to take sheer will power to stand to make a move. Prov. 24:5: “A wise man is strong, yes, a man of knowledge increases strength.” When one finally makes up their mind to go to different church and let them know you are leaving threats or curses will be issued. Such things will be said like, you will be out of God’s will. This is where God wants you, if you leave his blessing or anointing of the Spirit will leave your life. They may even prophesy to bring guilt or scare you. When you see this occur then you can know for sure that you have made the right decision. Go and do not look back and doubt what you have learned from your time of deception. Many who leave also leave good friends inside. Do not allow them to draw you back in. Only when you become strong and have prayed should you go back to contact your friends to help them exit. Always be accompanied with a friend who is strong in the Lord and understands the situation to be a support for you”.

    It’s all the more relevant because of the similarities identified between such groups and emerging terrorist groups. Research by Lorne Dawson at the University of Waterloo, Ontario published in Terrorism and Political Violence in 2010 makes a couple of points worth repeating.”Reducing complex factors to a few rudimentary insights,it can be said that the highly personal character of the charismatic bond formed between charismatic leaders and their followers is more susceptible to disruptions. These disruptions stem from both the experiences of failure and success. The growth attend and on the success of a group can introduce a distance between the leaders and their followers that counter-intuitively works to promote the aggrandizement of the leader’s charisma in ways that can prove problematic with time, since charisma rests on a degree of detachment from reality, of wish fulfillment, that can support an unrealistic confidence in the efficacy of violence in the face of challenges to that authority.”

    Regards
    Gavin

  150. “”Obey” a pastor?? I think I’m going to be sick.”

    Me too. That Hebrews 13:17 proof text has been abused to ridiculous proportions. Do people not see it totally contradicts Jesus’ words as a stand alone proof text? Or do they not realize that the translators were state church people who had no choice?

    If you do a Greek analysis of same words used in other parts of NT it is more like…Listen to those who have gone before you and let them persuade you…..

  151. “If people would just look at the Bible, this pattern would get solved. Paul says not to put a young believer in charge too soon – this works either way: too young or too new to the faith.”

    And add to this the word “teen” was not even in our vocab until about 100 years ago. Young men were usually raised with more responsibility and were working. So age is also relative when looking at a 1st Century “young man”. As an example, the age of thirty in the 1st Century is nothing like 30 now. Thirty is when one could be a full Rabbi after studying under from age 7.

  152. Reading the OT for a long time convinced me we are seeing a parallel track of how the Priests behaved with how many churches are functioning today. The priests are railed against in the OT concerning their corruption, selfishness, control of the people etc.

    The difference is WE have allowed it even though the temple veil was torn in two. And it is uncanny how people want a spiritual “leader”. Someone to follow. It is not unlike the Jews who begged God for a king. God was angry because HE was their king. But He gave them one.

    Why do we think we need a spiritual leader when we have the same indwelling Holy Spirit the leader has? It is natural to look to someone who has gone before in the fire of sanctification and can encourage you, warn you, etc. That is how the body is to operate. That is how the Body is to function.

  153. W. A. Criswell decided that the pastor is the “ruler” of the church.
    At Southern Baptist seminaries, the students are being taught that the pastor is the ruler of the church. He and the deacons or elders run the church as the rulers.

    The Southern Baptist Convention has its own issue with the Pastor having the wrong view of himself–please notice I used himself–because Women are not allowed to be Pastors.

    1st Timothy 2:12 is basically used for the reason to not allow them this position.

    Where have all of the servant-leaders gone?

  154. Dear all

    The website that Sophie refers to above is worth reading but I would mention that the shepherding movement of the 70s and 80s had already caused concern among evangelicals in the UK. The late David Watson wrote a book called Discipleship, published in 1981, which highlighted the dangers. He made three points. First that serious discipling all too often becomes legalistic and authoritarian, leading to a hard unbending Christianity which seems far from the gracious gentleness of Jesus Christ. He comments that he has seen many Christians who once were relaxed and radiant, beginning to look cowed, anxious and fearful again, because they have come into the bondage of strict, human shepherding. Secondly, strong shepherding can develop into a new priesthood, exercising detailed control over the lives of others, leading to a serious loss of personal responsibility, maturity and even significance. In some groups the leaders are beginning to claim the right to speak for Christ in telling people what to do. Thirdly, dominant shepherding inevitably becomes divisive. When a group of disciples lean too much on one leader,the natural consequence will be a competitive and carnal spirit.

    It sounds all oh so familiar.

    Regards
    Gavin

  155. Val, Sophie, and gavin white,

    Thank you for your excellent comments! The information you have provided is invaluable and so needed in 21st century Christendom. I do fear that cultish Christian organizations are on the rise. Praise God that the internet is available for those who choose to use this powerful tool.

    I hope you will continue to comment.

  156. TWW is increasingly taking up a large part of my day!! I hadn't heard of MD either till I started exploring for more good Christian blogs, and discovered that there is a large body of "abuse" writings out there. I have come to realize what church abuse is. I haven't experienced this in a church, but I can't understand why one would want to be pastored by a MD type, unless as a poster pointed out, he is so crazy as to be fun. I don't feel led by the Lord, however, to go that far for entertainment. It has to be wanting to belong to something exciting (?), but I don't think I could take it very long, esp. giving my money and time.

  157. Mot, If you want to get some insight into Criswell, read Joel Gregory’s “Too Great A Temptation”. If you can find it.

  158. I think I’d be really worried about a pilot who beat up his co-pilots and then threw them out of the plane mid-flight.

  159. “Obey” a pastor?? I think I’m going to be sick. — Elastigirl

    Does the phrase “White Night” in Jonestown ring any bells?

    Mot, If you want to get some insight into Criswell, read Joel Gregory’s “Too Great A Temptation”. If you can find it. — Anon1

    When anyone says “Criswell”, I think first of the Fifties pop psychic who used to hang out with Ed “Plan Nine from Outer Space” Wood.

  160. Deb

    You write…
    “The information you have provided is invaluable and so needed in 21st century Christendom.”

    I think today the proper spelling is – 21st century Christian-dumb… ;-)

  161. Mikey

    Re: “1. JUMP OUT OF THE PLANE
    Stand up, freak out, make a scene, grab a parachute, and jump out of the plane with your résumé in hand hoping to land a job somewhere else. If you are really freaked out and negative, you can try and take as many passengers with you as possible, which is in your mind some kind of heroic act.”

    One reader has suggested that somethings may not be going well at MH and this statement may offer some insight.

  162. Kathi/me

    I, too was a subscriber to The Wittenberg Door. I think it was one of the reasons I did not question weirdness when I saw it at my former church. The Door was exposing that nonsense decades ago!

  163. Anon1

    I just finished reading Gregory’s book. I plan to write a review. Observation: Gregory and Criswell rarely mentioned jesus in their lives outside the pulpit. In the book, Gregory did not mention Jesus once. I would venture to guess the same is true for Criswell.

  164. Dee, I am starting to notice a shift in language and focus in Christendon. those who are leaving the institutions but not leaving their faith speak more about Jesus Christ then they do about the gospel, being missional, biblical or any of the otherbuzzwords that are quickly becoming meaningless.

    yesterday I had an interesting conversation with a 75 year old woman who is been in Southern Baptist Church of her life. she was reading about the ‘nones’ and made it clear to me that many in her age group are in that category they just are not counting them. her church was taken over by the YRR. she was even telling me about her 80 yr oldbrother who is a retired Southern Baptist pastor. he is a none, too. he has not been able to find a church where the priesthood is a reality. he does not understand the concept of a pastor being specially anointed that is prevalent in most Southern Baptist churches today.

  165. It’s true that the shepherding movement has already been a source of concern and was pretty much discredited years ago. That’s part of why it’s so frustrating to have gone to two churches that used the same methods under a different name, and why it’s so strange to see these ideas making a resurgence. I have been to several conferences in the past at which all the churches present, from all over the UK, believed this stuff, and packed out the arena. I can only suppose that it’s the ignorance of the young and the relatively young, and new Christians, that keeps it going and growing. I’ll bet that at the time of the shepherding movement, most of us present at these conferences either weren’t born, or were too young to remember, or were not Christians when it happened. Same tricks, different audience. The only silver lining is that a whole lot of churches leave once they realise that it isn’t the magic growth strategy they were assured it was.

  166. elastigirl – Sophie – Anon 1 – Hug

    Rated – Best – 5 Stars – *****

    “Obey” a pastor?? I think I’m going to be sick.

    This pastor people species has mutated into something freakish.

  167. A Amos Love,

    Christen-dumb .. Clever and true!

    Anon 1,

    What a sad comment. It reminds me of our post about the elderly widow who was perp-walked out of her church. The YRR crowd will have a terrible legacy, and they have earned it!

  168. What happens when the YRR lose their “enthusiasm”. The older folks in these churches had been supporting their churches for years.

    I predict many of these churches will fold and leave a testimony against them.

  169. Anon1

    That is what i told the reporter from ABP. I believe that this is a significant trend. Did you note that the “nones” have doubled in the past decade? Now, guess what trends we have during that time? Bet you know-Neo-Clavinism, revelations of pedophile coverup, authoritarian groups like SGM, crass preachers like Driscoll, the rise of the wealthy mega-church pastor, weird comp reaching(women can’t read the Bible out loud in church), etc. Wow- real missional!!

  170. MHCmember,

    Is it just me, or is Driscoll’s sermon video on “Jesus Is a Better Servant” edited around the 43 second mark, when he jumps from how happy he is about the church to “and so”. It just seems abrupt and the edit is choppy. Is something left out?

  171. Sophie @ Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:54 AM

    You write…
    “By the time I left I wasn’t able to set foot in any church anymore without feeling physically sick – panicking, crying etc. I will almost certainly *never trust a pastor* or feel at home in any church again.”

    Me too – I know that feeling – “feeling physically sick”
    I NO longer “Trust” anyone with the “Title” or “Name”
    pastor/leader/teacher/reverend.

    Oh sorry – I do “Trust” “ONE.” – I “Trust” Jesus. He’s the best and only
    pastor/leader/teacher/reverend in the Bible. :-)

    Jesus in Mat 23:8-10 NASB says there is – “ONE” teacher – “ONE” leader – Jesus.

    I like Jesus a lot. ;-)

    And Jesus says, there is only “ONE” Shepherd. Go figure…

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall *hear My voice;*
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Voice – One fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Why isn’t what Jesus said important?
    To all these folks who want to be known as – shepherd? :-)

    Could those who take the “Title/Name” – Shepherd – Teacher – Leader – Reverend
    Be taking the name of the Lord the God in vain?

  172. Sophie

    Hmmm? Trusting Pastors??? NO thanks – Tried that a few times…

    Don’t know if you-all ever checked – But the word “pastors” is only nine times in the Bible.
    Only once in the NT KJV – and 8 times in OT – Jeremiah, and 6 times God is NOT happy.
    Here are 7 verses from Jeremiah I’ve never heard “Pastors” preach from the pulpit. ;-)

    Jeremiah 2:8
    The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not:
    *the pastors* also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal,
    and walked after things that do not profit.

    Jeremiah 10:21
    For *the pastors* are become brutish, ( beastly, carnal ) and have not sought the LORD:
    therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.

    Jeremiah 12:10
    *Many pastors* have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion
    under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

    Jeremiah 22:22
    The wind (ruwach = Spirit) shall eat up *all thy pastors,*
    and thy lovers shall go into captivity:…

    Jeremiah 23:1
    Woe be unto *the pastors* that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!

    Jeremiah 23:2
    …thus saith the LORD God of Israel *against the pastors* that feed my people;
    Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them:
    behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

    Jeremiah 50:6
    My people hath been lost sheep: *their shepherds* have caused them to go astray…

    Hasn’t anyone ever wondered why? In the Bible?
    NOT one of His Disciples was called – or had the “Title” Pastor/Leader/Reverend?

  173. Anon 1 – dee

    Here’s an interesting book about the “nones” – Those who are leaving the religious system.
    by George Barna – “Revolution”

    http://www.amazon.com/Revolution-George-Barna/dp/1414310161/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350061196&sr=1-1&keywords=revolution+-+george+barna

    Barna is a christian Pollster –
    He has tracked the millions who are leaving “the Corrupt Religious System.”
    The 501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax $ Deductible, Religious $ Corporation, the IRS calls church.

    In order to find – {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    For those diapointed with todays “Pastor/leader/Reverends”
    Or whatever fancy “title” they come up with, that’s NOT in the Bible, to control and minipulate.

    And those who are disapointed in today’s so-called church…

    And have left…

    You are NOT alone.

    It’s Worth reading the reviews.

    ————

    From the Back Cover
    Millions of believers have stopped going to church…
    and chosen to be the church instead.

    Research by renowned pollster George Barna points to a hidden Revolution—one that will impact every Christian believer in America. Millions of committed Christ-followers, dissatisfied with the church experience, have stopped attending on Sunday mornings. Why are they leaving? Where are they going? And what does this mean for the future of the church?

    In this groundbreaking book, Barna examines the state of the church today—and compares it to the biblical picture of the church as God intended it to be. He documents how and why a new brand of devout “Revolutionaries” is abandoning the local church building while attempting to become the church that Christ commissioned us to be.

    This Revolution will challenge you with

    the straightforward biblical guidelines for the church
    7 core passions of a Revolutionary
    a daring redefinition of the church as we know it.

    Maybe you’re afraid of the changes to come.
    Maybe you’ve been waiting for this moment to arrive.

    Either way, the Revolution is here.

  174. Hey Amos, Thanks for the book recommendation. I found Pagan Christianity several years after leaving the business of Christendom. It gave me much more insight and affirmed some things I had been studying myself. Like why a pulpit when there obviously were not pulpits in a NT church. Why one guy “speaking” to people week after week? Why has the building and programs become more important than the people in the pew who pay for it? What is going on with all this personal “branding” of the pastor?

    I will check it out. I might even recommend it to my new senior citizen “none” friends. This woman I spoke with (grandmother of a boy who attends school with my daughter) left a church I am familiar with. She named 5 other friends her age who are not going anymore either. Of course growing up and living most of their lives in church–now they are totally lost because it was their life. But they cannot support what they are seeing so they are in quite the dither.

    She said they were particularly concerned about tithing. I suggested they find a single mom to help out anonymously in the Name of Jesus and how much that would glorify God. She really liked that idea. (I did not have the heart to explain the tithe was not for the NT. Don’t think she was ready for that one!!!)

    So we also have to remember those for whom church has been their life and are in their last years with no church family as they were used to. Broke my heart, I gotta tell you.

  175. .
    ✿*´¨)
    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•`  ¤ “Where have all of the servant-leaders gone?”*´¨)

    HowDee YaAll,

    hum, hum,hum…

    …♪♫♪ Where have all of the servant-leaders gone?

    hmmm…

    …♪♫♪ Covered with flowers every one, a long time ago?

    (sadface)

    …♪♫♪ When will we re-new our learning, I don’t know?

    …♪♫♪ Pastor so-and-so: Sayz I’m in charge here now…ya gotta listen ta me!

    …doo ta do, 

    hmmm..

    nah! [404, an error occurred while processing their compulsion directives…]

    …lording over da “Flock of God”as is a habit of some of doz bad ole ‘faux’ pastors?

    “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock…” 1 Pet 5:2–3

    What!?! (examples to the flock…)

    “…the greatest among you shall be your servants!” Jesus

    Ahem!     

    Dee, I guess dat’ll add a few mo to da grow’in list…

    (grin)

    hahahahahahaha

    S“㋡”py!

  176. Dee:

    Forget attending the trial for now.

    See if you can get copies of the deposition testimony, and post it as it becomes available. It would have to be redacted to protect the victims.

    You are likely to find out more facts that way.

  177. Dee:

    Of course you can attend the trial. But it will be a long way off.

    Would like to see the facts as they develop in pretrial discovery.

  178. I owe a great debt to this website. A couple of years ago I realized I had been duped by Bill Gothard’s patriarchal doctrine, and to my shame I nearly fell from that right into Calvinista doctrine. I’m so glad I took the warnings from Deb and Dee and extricated myself before I was totally brainwashed AGAIN.

    BTW, I love RHE’s book.

  179. Anon 1

    LOL – “I did not have the heart to explain the tithe was not for the NT.”

    You have a lot of resraint. And the idea of giving to someone who needs it – Priceless. :-)
    And they liked the idea – that’s really cool. That’s a great way to give – In secret – Nice touch.
    And – NO tax deduction when NOT letting your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
    Hmmm? Giving in secret? Are you reading the Bible or sumptin? And trusting Jesus?

    But, You forgot – It’s “Tithes and offerings.” Don’t want to short change the money-changers.

    And you ask – “Like why a pulpit when there obviously were not pulpits in a NT church.
    Why one guy “speaking” to people week after week?”

    You asked why? And – In my experience…

    Paid – Professional – Pastors – in Pulpits – Preaching – to People – in Pews…

    Prevent – Public – Participation – and – Promote – Passive – Pew – Potatoes….

    Procuring – Power – Profit – Prestige – for the Prevailing – Parsing – Pastor…

    Who’s – Pressuring – you to – Pray – Pay – and – Obey… ;-)

  180. Anon 1

    Here’s another book about pastors you might enjoy by Jon Zens. ;-)

    The Pastor Has No Clothes: Moving from Clergy-Centered Church to Christ Centered Ekklesia

    http://www.amazon.com/Pastor-Has-No-Clothes-Clergy-Centered/dp/0982744641

    Protestantism carries on with the practice of making the “pastor” the focal point in church. In The Pastor Has No Clothes, Jon Zens demonstrates that putting all the ecclesiastical eggs in the pastor’s basket has no precedent in the New Testament. Using 1 Corinthians 12:14, Zens shows the usual way of doing church contradicts Paul’s self-evident remark that “the body indeed is not one part” and then goes on to unfold from that Epistle how the living church functions “with many parts.” Jon dismembers the traditional pastor doctrine from various angles by combining two new essays and a response to Eugene Peterson’s The Pastor: A Memoir, with three past articles and excerpts from his response to Dr. Ben Witherington’s review of Pagan Christianity.

    Don’t have too much fun… ;-)

  181. MHCmember874 – some interesting things in your comments there. May I pick up on a couple of them? For one thing: this curious notion that “The root word for humility literally means to know your place“. The English word literally means on the ground or lowly. The Greek word, from which our biblical bible scriptures are translated, literally means to rein in ones feelings and/or to press oneself down. It has absolutely nothing to do with knowing your place in a hierarchy, which the church is not in any case. Looking that kind of thing up, whilst very easy, is not everyone’s thing. But for a man who presumes to “teach the bible” to thousands every week, there is no excuse for peddling such ignorant nonsense.

    You’ve also mentioned that Driscoll admits to being prideful. I think I know what you mean, but I beg to differ. His diatribe against messrs Petry and Meyer will serve by way of example. Referring to his problems with certain elders, he claimed that they were motivated purely by “pride – it’s just pride”. (Remember: their “pride” was not proven, merely alleged by Driscoll himself.) Astonishingly, however, he went on to state that, yes, he had in the past sometimes shown a certain lack of humility (for which he “repented” and sought forgiveness, then and there, evidently regarding the matter as closed). But this had rubbed off on these other elders, who had copied him, and it was pride, and it needed to be dealt with. In other words, he attributed their “pride” to their copying him, but rather than repent for his own sin in any meaningful sense, he projected his own flaws onto them and (as we now know) instigated a protracted and humiliating disciplinary process to make examples of them. A true shepherd of God’s sheep, if he honestly believed his example had led others into sin, would be broken over it. He would have sought their forgiveness (not arraigned them before a kangaroo court) and then bent over backwards to set a different example to the congregation at large. But this man is no true shepherd.

    It is tragic, but inevitable, that Driscoll, after years of consolidating power at Mars Hill Inc in his own hands and displaying naked aggression towards anyone who dared to question him, should actually stand in the pulpit and condemn others for supposedly doing what he has boastfully done.

    MHCmember874 – you did ask “what do you all think?”. That was a courageous question, and I took the liberty of answering it rather directly. You’ve hinted that you are strongly considering leaving, so my intention was to build up your permission and authority to do so. If you’ve not found it edifying, then I must ask for your gracious forbearance (“gracious” meaning, of course, that I can’t demand it or plead excuses).

  182. Sophie – I notice that you, too, refer to Scotland as “here”! I’ll understand if you’d rather not answer this, but furryboots in Scotland were you at the time?

  183. Dee:

    I’ll make a bet that if you do start posting depositions that the lawyers for SGM and the other defendants will ask the judge for an order of protection asking that they not be posted.

    If that happens, the irony will be unbelievable. It’s the Jane Doe, unnamed plaintiffs, who would really have a cause to be concerned. But I bet the defendants will try to stop that because it will broadcast throughout the Christian world what happened.

    Posting the depositions, assuming the defendants will be truthful, will actually accomplish more than anything in this case because it will expose the facts (from the parties’ own mouths) as to what happened. And that revelation and exposure is the most important thing here.

    Exposing bad practices such as what apparently went on at SGM is the best antiseptic around.

  184. one other thing that I didn’t see mentioned in the post (or maybe I missed it), there is no humility in the leadership of MD. Sullenberger? He drips humility and is clearly a level-headed leader. Total contrast to MD.

  185. Wow Sophie, that is just awful.

    My question is, how do these guys explain the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believers in the church? If we are all supposed to obey the random leaders appointed over us, doesn’t that make the leadings of the Spirit superfluous?

    Gavin, thanks for your insight

    1. Recently divorced 2. Illness 3. Personal tragedy 4. Career failure 5. Away from home for the first time.

    Mars Hill started in Seattle when the tech boom was hiring young people from all over the world, creating a strong younger demographic – away from home (#5), and with spending money. Then, the dot com world crashed, and I would bet many of those younger hires now faced career uncertainty (or, career failures #4), followed by all the scourages that come with going from high-paying to broke – divorce, stress – putting people at risk of illness (and in a country where health care is tied to employment to boot), (#1, #2 and #3).

    And, add to that, Driscoll was appealing to the 90s twenty-something generation that was into praise, worship and Holy Spirit as well as all the twenty-somethings raised Calvinist and taught to look for “right” doctrine and his net spread wide. Back in the 90s, Calvinist type churches typically didn’t like the Holy Spirit focus, and Holy Spirit, gifting focused Churches didn’t like much doctrine. He managed to hit two birds with one stone and appeal to the Spiritual seeking crowd and the Doctrine loving crowd by claiming to have a monopoly on it to both groups.

    Imagine all the young pretty long-haired hippy-dippy girls showing up at the same church as the doctrinally raised young and rising Computer guys gathering in the same place to listen to sex-drenched sermons. They atmosphere would have been a veritable meat-market. If those worship conference, hippy-dippy girls married the doctrinally particular, young urban professionals – they could continue to work at the coffee shop and afford to live close to their work. Their jealous friends, who would like to meet a guy like hers, would be easy to invite to church. MD created the perfect dating venue and called it a church. No wonder it grew.

  186. BTW, I actauliy knew a situation not far removed from the above scenario (at Mars Hill), I lost touch, but I believe they are divorced now.

  187. Hi Nick!

    I have intensely paranoid (and uncharacteristically ambitious) little daydreams where I run for political office, or write a prize-winning novel, or win X Factor, and one day some journalist somehow manages to dredge up every comment I’ve ever left on a blog and next day’s headlines are all about how I’m unfit to lead the opposition or release an album or be a role model for teenagers because I wrote some frivolous comment after reading a particularly inflammatory blog post about cheese or tennis or wombles or something. And evidently I can’t separate highly improbable fantasy from reality and end up commenting using pseudonyms and changing names and locations to protect the innocent. Also, we do live in a small country with an even smaller proportion of Christians, so I’d hazard a guess that there are only one or two degrees of separation between us, and I’d really hate to offend. With all of that in mind, I’m going to be deliberately slightly vague. The first authoritarian church I went to was in Fife, but I hear it’s reformed quite a bit since then. The second was in Tayside. I currently live on the north shore of the Forth, with an incredible view over the river to Edinburgh :)

  188. Sophie – all that stuff is kind of why I realise you might not want to answer! ;-) I tend not to say too much specific about my church history for similar reasons. God has not given me any permission to speak out against anyone, I think because he’d rather I concentrate on building the life he’s called me to live.

    We live north of the Forth as well, though I have to climb a few hundred feet up the Ochils behind the house to get a view of Auld Reekie. :-)

  189. Hi Val,

    To be fair, I was going through a horrendous relationship and subsequent break up at the same time as all the weird stuff at the church, so the trauma wasn’t all down to the church teaching harmful things. Having said that, I only stayed in the relationship and ended up getting as hurt as I did because the church had some unhealthy teachings about relationships, too.

    Anyway, your question is a very good one and I don’t really know how to answer it. When we were taught this shepherding stuff, nobody ever raised a hand and said ‘Wait a minute – isn’t that usurping the role of the Holy Spirit?’. It just didn’t seem to occur to anyone, and when it DID, they left the church and no one got to hear their objections. I just thought it was all normal (although it made me feel very restricted and profoundly uncomfortable). I’d like to know how the pastors justified it all to themselves, too. As far as I knew, the Holy Spirit was the thing that compelled you to pray in tongues and fall over and things.

  190. Val,

    What a fascinating description of Mars Hill. That makes perfect sense. Thanks for helping us get a glimpse into the Mars Hill Meat Market.

  191. “If that happens, the irony will be unbelievable. It’s the Jane Doe, unnamed plaintiffs, who would really have a cause to be concerned. But I bet the defendants will try to stop that because it will broadcast throughout the Christian world what happened”

    I has already been broadcasted to the public. The victims stories are on the sgmsurvivors website. It is just a matter of if you believe them or not or think reading thm on a blog is a sin. :o)

  192. Val, modify the long-haired hippy dippy girls into SPU education students and nursing students. :) Mars Hill is across the Ballard bridge from SPU and Mars Hill made for a more entertaining “bedside Baptist” than First Free Methodist.

  193. Driscoll started off cessationist for the possibly pragmatic reason that it was easier to shoot down people who said God wanted them influencing church polity by denying that anyone (but Driscoll) could get those kinds of transmisions from God. He also wasn’t a Calvinist in the earlier years.

    There was a lot of talk about “living in community” which could often mean ambitious young couples took out loans of the sort that were available, rented out as much space as possible to singles or other couples, and planned to transition into income levels where independently financing one’s own payments was practical. It was plugged a bit in the 2000-2003 period in mens’ training events and the like. People were encouraged to take advantage of the lending options available at the time which, post housing bubble are obviously very different.

    While the dot-com bubble bursting may have played a role it sorta burst enough years after MH was founded that the church community played a role of networking careers internally from what I could observe. Mars Hill started in the midst of the bubble and consolidated significantly by the time the bubble burst so for 2nd generation joiners (I’d consider myself one) it was around when the bubble burst and some of us were in a bad career transition (i.e. not managing to even find one as such). College grads from SPU who found the Methodist influence dull would gravitate toward Mars Hill both for seeming more doctrinally solid and for other reasons.

    As a blogging acquaintence of mine once put it far more people leave the faith because they want to drink, smoke and get laid than have philosophical issues with religion at a more theoretical level and Mars Hill was in that sense the place that said that drinking, smoking and getting laid (in matrimony, of course) was God’s design and calling. And this was a sales pitch that was possible whether or not Driscoll was a Calvinist (which he definitely wasn’t in the earliest years).

  194. Amos, it’s comforting but also very sad to think that anyone can relate to me when I say that church makes me feel physically sick. I’m glad you can say that you still trust Jesus at the end of it all. It’s not so bad anymore. I went to a church a few weeks ago actually. I’m not exaggerating when I say that if anyone had turned round and seen my face at any point during the service they would have seen the kind of expression they might make if they accidentally hit an animal while driving and had to reverse back to put it out of its misery. But it was an improvement on my previous reactions nonetheless.

  195. Thanks Wenatchee – although my acquaintance was the hippy-dippy, spirit-seeking sort, and not a Seattle native, she married a guy going there in about 2000? and was the coffee shop employee/guitar player type. She would have chosen a church that at least talked about the Holy Spirit, not sure she would have known about Calvinism – I didn’t.

    I also heard of Mars Hill well before 2000 (or are there 2 Mars Hills?) as a growing place with Holy Spirit/Gifting type teaching. Calvinism wasn’t on my radar then (I actually thought it died out with the Puritans!), so I wouldn’t have known/cared about it back then (over-emphasis on how sinful and incapable the congregation is and how anointed/infallible a pastor is seems to permeate more than just Calvinista churches anyways). Interesting insight about all university grads landing there. When did the extra campuses start up?

    Can you imagine spending all that money on an American university education and then being told not to work once married??? Those poor female grads. I am still stumped at how they all bought into his blue-collar 1950s family unit as “Biblical”.

    Most grads nowadays require two incomes. Housing still hasn’t sunk in Vancouver and almost no grads can afford to buy into a University district these days. I can imagine how ingenious his “housing plan” was; buy a big house, cell group lives together and pays cell leader the rent, cell leader builds equity, stay together until cell leader has built enough equity to kick everyone else over to the next cell-leaders “housing plan”. OK, maybe they were required to also donate a down payment for the next home-buyer’s plan. That would keep the University students in the area, and keep the people too intertwined to leave the church. Hard to question the leader when the cell-leader, who is your room-mate, loves him.

    Also, if you owe your well-paying job to the church network, hard to dump a place that has been so good to you.

  196. There’s the Driscoll Mars Hill and the Rob Bell Mars Hill. They both started around the same time, it seems.

    There’s a positively sprawling series of posts tagged “real estate and Mars Hill” at Wenatchee The Hatchet if you want to read through those. It’s still on-going. Have taken a break from that one to deal with some off-line projects but hope to get back to that when time permits.

  197. @ Dee & Deb:

    Where did the page listing all the funny names you’ve been called over the years go? I hadn’t tried to look at it since the blog crashed a few months back and now I can’t find it.

  198. Hester

    It is now under FAQ. But for your convenience here is the definitive list

    • Wartburg witches
    • Obscure 
    • Wenches
    • O glorious wenches
    • Minions of Satan
    • Hatemongers
    • x#&**#xx!@
    • Narcissistic zeroes
    • Morons
    • Warthogs
    • Quite a gossip column
    • How did we ever get along without you?
    • Assyrians
    • Philistines
    • Full of ****
    • Bored housewives
    • Yellow journalism
    • Discernment Divas
    • Feminist Heretic
    • Discernamnetalist Diva Mafia
    • Poor reading comprehension
    • In Need of ESL
  199. Upvote for the list – GLOL (gutteral laugh out loud). They’re fabulous insults, I’d be flattered. The “In Need of ESL” one – don’t they mean “In Need of English as FIRST language”? And I learnt what x#&**#xx!@ meant when I was a child from reading Asterix comics, ha ha.

  200. Dee,

    I live in a community with a large Assyrian population. You’re in good company. I still like “O glorious wenches” the best. Sounds like the title of a.holiday song.

  201. This discussion got me curious to look back at my church’s statement on submitting to authority. Notice that while they do say church leaders have authority, they say submission is earned (not demanded). Also when it discusses behavior, it is the behavior of the leaders that determines if submission is possible. I’m sure many of you would still disagree, but you must admit this is a far cry from Driscoll. The most important thing to me is that I can agree to this statement without agreeing that I will submit to spiritual abuse (because that would fall under the leadership exhibiting behavior that does not allow me to submit).

    “The ability to submit to someone is earned. It is first earned by positional authority, but that authority must be maintained by the leader living out character qualities which continue to earn and maintain the relationship that makes submission possible (1 Timothy 3:1-7). Submission to authority is part of living in a healthy relationship in community. All communities must have a base for authority and leadership. God has established the church with this authority and leadership base, and he has also established standards of behavior for that leadership to maintain in order to allow the community to submit to their authority.”

  202. I dunno….. “authority”? “submission”? these are heavy words. some kind of blunt instrument comes to mind. one totally unnecessary for the context.

    “All communities must have a base for authority and leadership.” —

    hmmmm…. my son’s boy scout troup came to mind. That’s a community. There are leaders, but “authority” doesn’t enter the mental picture or the language ever used. We all appreciate what the leaders do and want to do what we can to support them and halp. We just repect them.

    Same at the church we go to. We simply appreciate the efforts people make, whoever makes them. If we disagree with something strongly enough, we express it. Respect is always at play.

    This whole “submission” and “authority” terminology is people taking themselves and others too seriously, I think. It’s obnoxious. Totally unnecessary.

    (reminds me of a Fry & Laurie comedy sketch {Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie], they’re both businessmen, Fry is very self-assured and matter of fact about his career; Laurie is insecure, anxious, his validity always based on how he stacks up compared to his peers, threatened whenever Fry appears to know something that he doesn’t. They meet up at the breakfast lounge of a hotel, and Laurie makes a big deal about the fact that it is the “EXECUTIVE Breakfast Lounge”, & only busy, important executives such as themselves are allowed to be there. Fry could care less. so very funny!)

    ’nuff said

  203. Val, the situation WTH describes re. real estate and keeping people in a “Hotel California”-type situation (you can check out but you can never leave) is something I experienced in two different “discipleship movement” groups during the 70s.

    I’m willing to bet that the strategy was old even then…

  204. Hi all,

    Longtime reader…first time commenter. D&D- your posts are the highlight of my day! I have learned so much from this community…thanks for all your hard work. What first led me to this site was my increasing concern over MD’s influence on church culture in Vancouver…just 2 hours north of Seattle. I live a few blocks away from a Vancouver mega church that a few years ago invited MD to preach. This is a super-patriarchal church which I attended for some years when I was still finding my way. I found out from my friend who is a pastor there that MD very overtly ridiculed the head music pastor for being too “effeminate” during the conference. Ugh. Anyways….I know of a few local Vancouver churches that really cling to MD’s teaching and are trying to model their church’s after MHC. Scary stuff.

    I grew up in the Plymouth Bretheren (PB) church. Although I am still healing from the patriarchy I suffered under during my childhood spent in the PB church…I do appreciate their focus on shared leadership. In this denomination…the teaching is shared amongst the men or ‘elders’. There is no paid staff who “preach”. Authority is shared….nobody has ultimate power. Although this model presents other problems (lack of paid staff often meant no speakers at times…sometimes men with poor training preached…), I do appreciate the accountability it afforded. What I DON’T appreciate about the church is their literal interpretation of the bible (head coverings for women…complete silence for women during the service…women relegated to bay sitting and managing the kitchen etc.

    All the best,
    LittleCanuck

  205. From JeffS’s church’s statement on “authority”: God has established the church with this authority and leadership base, and he has also established standards of behavior for that leadership to maintain in order to allow the community to submit to their authority.

    Love how some guy starts an organization (usually a government registered 501c3 organization) and then asserts he is God’s established authority to whom others must submit – even going so far as to claim “It is first earned by positional authority…” Positional? Take a hike.

  206. elastigirl –

    I love Fry & Laurie! And I love the fact that you brought them up :) Their bit on ‘The Subject of Language’ is one of my favourites.

  207. Sophie –

    I SO relate to you when you say that the thought of going to church makes you, quite literally, sick. Your description of your expression during the service made me chuckle, though I also know that it is a serious issue.

    I too feel almost ill at the thought of returning to church and being pressured to conform to a certain mould of Christianity. When I walked past a Christian/church stand at a university societies event recently (and the smilingly solicitous people manning it), my heart rate increased and I got fidgety until I was safely out of its vicinity!

  208. @ TedS

    Re:It is first earned by positional authority… “Positional? Take a hike.”

    My thoughts exactly!

  209. “Love how some guy starts an organization (usually a government registered 501c3 organization) and then asserts he is God’s established authority to whom others must submit – even going so far as to claim “It is first earned by positional authority…” Positional? Take a hike.”

    This isn’t really “some guy starts an organization”– it is the PCA who started the church and and they asked this man to be the leader of the church while it was still forming– so his leadership was initially derived from his position rather than earned trust, but it’s not a position he picked for himself.

    Anyway, I’ll try not to spent too much time defending this. It seems like a reasonable statement to me, but I know it will raise red flags for some people, especially those who have been through the ringer with the church (which I have, so believe me, I get it).

  210. “hmmmm…. my son’s boy scout troup came to mind. That’s a community. There are leaders, but “authority” doesn’t enter the mental picture or the language ever used. We all appreciate what the leaders do and want to do what we can to support them and halp. We just repect them.

    Same at the church we go to. We simply appreciate the efforts people make, whoever makes them. If we disagree with something strongly enough, we express it. Respect is always at play.”

    I think this is pretty much the same thing, but I agree those words do come across as heavy handed. I think of bands I’ve put together in the past where I was responsible for leading the direction and music (self appointed, I might add). I started them because I’d written some songs and wanted to play them, and other people joined me because they liked the songs and respected what they thought I could do musically. In the end, I was responsible for making final decisions and people respected that because they trusted me, but of course I couldn’t demand this “power”– I had to continually demonstrate I was trustworthy as a band leader. I agree I wouldn’t have used the words “submit” and “authority” to describe this, though.

    But what words are used doesn’t really matter to me as kong as the process is a healthy one- if the church leadership is continually making sure it behaves in a way that serves, rather than rules, the congregation, that’s the key with me.

  211. Dear Sophie
    I agree that these groups just recycle tried and trusted routines. The mainstream churches are partially at fault as well, though, as they succumb to the latest sales technique that promises to increase numbers, income and influence. In their rush to try the next great idea they throw their power of discrimination out the window. If they would only look and consider first, they might have saved themselves and others a lot of pain and suffering. And I’ve noticed over the last few years a dramatic increase in such missionary organisations coming from the USA to establish bases here in the UK. We do have a few home grown ones as well. Those pastors who like to quote Hebrews 14:17 to justify and demand complete subservience to them, tend to forget about the last part of the verse which shows the kind of care they are meant to exercise as caring for your soul and remembering that they will have to give an account of their actions to the One Shepherd of the flock. The reformed churches have made it a point of principle that any religious leader is to be obeyed only insofar as their teaching is in accordance with Scripture. The believer in the pew also has the Spirit of truth and is equally exhorted to discern the spirits to see if they be of God.

    I hope you continue to recover in His grace and care.
    Regards
    Gavin

  212. Hi Jeff S, your words resonated with me as a fellow band musician. I’ve often thought of that in the context of church leadership. Even if one is the founder of the band, any authority from that is purely moral and most musicians will leave pretty quickly if the leader or founder starts demanding unquestioning obedience from them, unless he/she really delivers the goods in other areas such as getting gigs/recordings etc. Even then I think there’s a limit to how much people will tolerate, as the history of several famous bands illustrates.

  213. I don’t think JeffS’s church’s statement on authority was that bad, actually. “Positional authority”, when you think about it, is something that most of us will give a policeman on duty. Most of the time it’s not a problem, he (or she) is there to help the public, often with ordinary stuff such as traffic control, occasionally with more serious stuff. I doubt whether any of us would seriously dream of a day this side of Christ’s return when the police were not a necessary part of society.

    On the other hand it has to be said that at times police who have taken a wrong direction will be found in the ranks. However in most open societies there are structures within it for dealing with lawmen and -women gone bad. Their eventual end is expulsion from the force and in more serious cases prison, which for ex-police is doubly traumatic. In the 1970s Sir Robert Mark became Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and one of his aims was to clear out what had come to be regarded as a culture of corruption in the force.

    Maybe there are lessons for church leadership here. If as per JeffS’s church’s statements there are leaders who are not “modelling” (I’m starting to hate that expression! LOL) the characteristics of Christian leadership, then there must surely be structures for removing them where the problem is not just an isolated incident but a pattern of behaviour. Of course in most churches flagrant sin on the part of a pastor will result in his dismissal.

  214. Juniper

    Ignorance alert-I did not know that there were still people who called themselves by that name. i thought the yhad been absorbed into other Middle Eastern cultures! Live and learn. So, are they nice? If so, it woudl cease to be an insult.

  215. “Kingdom Hearts: This Man Is A True Christian Shepherd?”

    HowDee YaAll,

    Has this man “missed the mark”?

    hmmm…

    “A true shepherd of God’s sheep, if he honestly believed his example had led others into sin, would be broken over it. He would have sought their forgiveness (not arraigned them before a kangaroo court) and then bent over backwards to set a different example to the congregation at large.” Nick Bulbeck

    Bingo!

    Now there seems to be a great evil stirring within Mars Hill Church. The leader, Mark Driscoll has just been recently slapped down for a “type” of impropriety by his peers in the christianity community at large. In effect, he was sent home. He broods, with no repentance in sight? Woe unto his associates, woe, woe unto the members of this church organization, woe, woe, woe, unto the christianity community at large!!

    (sadface)

    “For the kingdom of Heaven is like a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When he had started calling in his accounts, a man was brought to him who owed him millions of pounds. And when it was plain that he had no means of repaying the debt, his master gave orders for him to be sold as a slave, and his wife and children and all his possessions as well, and the money to be paid over. At this the servant fell on his knees before his master, ‘Oh, be patient with me!’ he cried, ‘and I will pay you back every penny!’ Then his master was moved with pity for him, set him free and cancelled his debt.”

    “But when this same servant had left his master’s presence, he found one of his fellow-servants who owed him a few shillings. He grabbed him and seized him by the throat, crying, ‘Pay up what you owe me!’ At this his fellow-servant fell down at his feet, and implored him, ‘Oh, be patient with me, and I will pay you back!’ But he refused and went out and had him put in prison until he should repay the debt.”

    “When the other fellow-servants saw what had happened, they were horrified and told their master the whole incident.”

    “Then his master called him in. ‘You wicked servant!’ he said. ‘Didn’t I cancel all that debt when you begged me to do so? Oughtn’t you to have taken pity on your fellow-servant as I, your master, took pity on you?’ ”

    “And his master in anger handed him over to the gaolers till he should repay the whole debt. This is how my Heavenly Father will treat you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.”

    “Greater is He that is within us than he that is in the Pulpit.” Sopy

    ✿*´¨with joy,

    S“㋡”py!
    ___
    p.s Sophie, it’s wonderful dat you stay so close ta Jesus, he won’t forget you! never, never, never… :-)

  216. “The ability to submit to someone is earned. It is first earned by positional authority, but that authority must be maintained by the leader living out character qualities which continue to earn and maintain the relationship that makes submission possible (1 Timothy 3:1-7). Submission to authority is part of living in a healthy relationship in community. All communities must have a base for authority and leadership. God has established the church with this authority and leadership base, and he has also established standards of behavior for that leadership to maintain in order to allow the community to submit to their authority.”

    Hey Jeff, You are right. I hve huge concerns about this one. I know many people believe there must be an adult in charge of the adults in the Body of Christ, but I believe that is exactly what Jesus was warning about when He spoke of “Gentiles”. This goes back to the whole Roman chain of being as in positional authority.

    The word “office” inserted in translations really hurt the ability to understand that there are “functions” in the Body not “offices”. Corinthians even says to make the weaker more important. Another problem is the promotion of “leader” instead of “servant”. I know many tried to soften that with “servant leader” but it was not unlike what they did with the word “complementarian”. It turns out to be more “leader” and less “servant” or they redefine what being a servant is really about.

    There are way too many points to this that a blog comment won’t cover but the Body is to operate as brothers and sisters. Few leaders today are Pauline in function, being persecuted, making tents and pleading in his letters. Most do not realize that elders are simply those who are more spiritually mature. Pastor is mentioned once, is a verb in action, and there might be many in one Body.

    Here is a great piece to study for consideration. I have checked it out for a long time trying to find the holes. It will not be popular with institutional Christian leaders:

    http://frankviola.org/straight.pdf

    I am not promoting the author but this is worth considering from a factual point of view in what is in scripture concerning this issue of authority.

  217. Jeff S

    The only thing that I might quibble about it this. Ther seems to be a lot fo energy expended in defining authority and submission. There is a far better to to say it. “This is our structure. These people are allowed to make the following decisions. They must seek congregational input from a broad spectum of memebers. You get to nominate and  vote on who is in this group once a year. Discipline should be rare and limited to serious sins.”

    Once the talk about submission nd authority get going, you can be pretty sure that there is an underlying issue-be it ego, whatever. 

  218. Little Canuck

    Welcome. You have one heckuva hocky team. A number of years ago, I lived in the same cul de sac with Dave Gagner who moved back to Vancouver after playing for the Stars. His children played with mine. He was an awesome guy. He was very kind to my daughter when she was diagnosed with her brain tumor and came to the hospital to sign autographs and play with the kids. I hear his son, Sam, is playing for the Oilers. That kid learned to ride a two wheel bike when he was 2!! Incredible coordination.

    I love Vancouver. I spent a couple of days in your fair city-I went over to Butchart Gardens which I believe is the closest thing to Eden on this planet! I am so glad that you stopped by. I do not know very much about the evangelical movement in Canada-just bits and pieces.

    It always amazes me when people are given the blessed freedom that is offered to us in Jesus and trade it in for a set of rules. For example-head coverings. Jesus is now the covering for all men and women. I have a theory. I think people have a hard time believing that grace is all we need to become forgiven Christians. It seems too easy. Deep down inside, I think people are fearful that they might no really be saved. So, they invent some rules. If we follow the rules, well, we must be Christians. “See, world, I wear a head covering. I am different than you and this shows I worship God, maybe better than other people. I must be saved, Not so sure about you.” This is exactly what the Pharisees did. They made up a rule. If you followed it, you were in!

    The pastor who teaches my Sunday school class says that he thinks the idea of an unpaid clergy who shared responsibilites is a great. But, as you have pointed out, even that can be thwarted by extreme literalism. I am about to write a post on why none of us really interpret the Bible literally-even the head covering adherents.

    As for Driscoll calling the pastor “effeminate”… I believe that Driscoll is a deeply troubled man who has something going on inside himself that he is struggling with. The sad thing is that the people around him feed it and I believe that they are complicit in allowing this to continue. One day, I fear there will be a scandal. His buddies will share the blame.

  219. JJ

    Just remember this, you are part of the church universal-whether you attend a service in a building or not. As you comment here, you dialogue with the Body of Christ. Think of it as participating in a fellowship.You are not alone in this walk, even if you choose not to attend a local meeting of the church. That is why we offer E Church. There are many, many wonderful Christians, just like you, who have been let down by a particular church gathering. Just know that you are loved and welcome here.And ,we expect nothing of you and really, really hope you feel accepted.

  220. Dee, I kind of agree. To be honest, I think the whole “submission” and “authority” comes from a bit higher up in the denomination. The way it was presented in the material I was reading almost sounded apologetic in nature- like “we wish we didn’t have to talk about this, but we do so here it is”. The only mention of church discipline was a scripture quote (going to your brother first, etc.). In the newcomers class I asked about church discipline and what sins would be eligible. The pastor said they’ve only come close to using church discipline once before and they guy left before it got to the public stage. The guy in question was being abusive toward other people in his views on Reformed theology (which were essentially in alignment with the doctrines of the church, but the leadership felt his attitude and way of interacting was harmful to others).

    The most important thing to me is not how the leadership says it behaves, but actually how it DOES behave- though I do not want to say I agree with a policy I cannot endorse.

  221. Jeff S

    So, you are a songwriter! Can we find any of your songs on the internet? I would love to hear them!

  222. Nick Bulbeck said: “We live north of the Forth as well, though I have to climb a few hundred feet up the Ochils behind the house to get a view of Auld Reekie.”
    One of our daughters lives only 2 blocks from a soon-to-come Mars Hill– New Reekie.
    My “wallpaper” of the past two years is a photo of my wife looking out toward Auld Reekie from Stirling Castle. You can’t see Auld Reekie, but ye can see a bit o’ the Ochils!

  223. They are nice. I was actually surprised that was used as an insult. The Assyrians here are mostly from Iraq and are orthodox as opposed to the Chaldeans (also from Iraq) who are Roman Catholic. — Juniper

    My pharmacist sister-in-law is Assyrian. Aramaic-speaking Nestorian Christian from Mosul, in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan where Nineveh used to stand. (“Iraqis? They’re those Arabs down in the flatlands…”)

  224. Jeff – this is a really heartening anecdote…

    The pastor said they’ve only come close to using church discipline once before and they guy left before it got to the public stage. The guy in question was being abusive toward other people in his views on Reformed theology (which were essentially in alignment with the doctrines of the church, but the leadership felt his attitude and way of interacting was harmful to others).

    For one thing, a church eldership that is honestly prepared to use a disciplinary process (and I agree that the concept is biblical and necessary) but rarely does, if ever. For another, a disciplinary process that is not there to keep an elite in power but to protect the congregation as a whole. In fact, it seems to have a lot to do with strengthening the faint-hearted and supporting the weak, as they’re the ones most likely to be knocked sideways by someone abusively pushing doctrine. And finally, a leadership who understand that technically accurate doctrine, without love, is counterfeit christianity.

    May their tribe increase!

  225. What I DON’T appreciate about the church is their literal interpretation of the bible (head coverings for women…complete silence for women during the service…women relegated to bay sitting and managing the kitchen etc. — Little Canuck

    After reading WWW and other blogs about abusive churches and Male Supremacist churches, my first thought was “What’s their position on FGM and honor killings under Shari’a?”

    The most important thing to me is not how the leadership says it behaves, but actually how it DOES behave- though I do not want to say I agree with a policy I cannot endorse. — JeffS

    On the subject of between how the leadership says it behaves and how it DOES behanve, remember the “People’s Democratic Republic of Tyranny” trope. Where the more adjectives about “Democracy”, “People”, and “Freedom” there are in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is.

    Love how some guy starts an organization (usually a government registered 501c3 organization) and then asserts he is God’s established authority to whom others must submit – even going so far as to claim “It is first earned by positional authority…” — TedS

    Not so much different from some guy starting a storefront 501c3 (or even “ten guys praying in somebody’s living room”) and bills it as the “One True Church Founded by Jesus Christ in 33AD”. Trail of Blood pseudo-historical trace optional.

  226. As for Driscoll calling the pastor “effeminate”… I believe that Driscoll is a deeply troubled man who has something going on inside himself that he is struggling with. The sad thing is that the people around him feed it and I believe that they are complicit in allowing this to continue. — Dee

    Not just deeply troubled, I figure he has some sort of closet sexual addiction/obsession that’s going to blow sky-high someday. Like Rush Limbaugh with is secret Oxycontin addiction years ago. Compounded by the fact he’s the CELEBRITY pastor who cannot show ANY ungodly weakness whatsoever. Especially when his personality has influenced those around him in the MH elders into something resembling a feral dog pack (i.e. go for the throat of anyone who shows any weakness — “I CAN BEAT YOU UP!!!!”)

    And as for the “people around him”, they’re nothing but Yes-Men basking in the scraps dropped by the Alpha Male. Like remora suction-cupped to a shark or Tabaqui the Jackal hanging around Shere Khan. Courtiers praising the God-King, out-praising and out-flattering the other for Royal favor du jour. Anyone else was thrown under the bus long ago.

  227. It’s funny to consider elder authority at a neo-Calvinist setting in tandem with headship and courtship, all systems that seem to appeal to insecure men who need to pull rank on something to apply the emergency brake to something they believe is spinning out of their control. :) In many cases the situation was never in their control to begin with and they didn’t trust the people they were sure they were put in authority over to make a right and informed call.

  228. Anon1: In response to a post waaaay up there…. good for you suggesting to the woman that she and her friends “tithe” to a young, single mom!

    One of the main problems that we had with the churches we attended was tithing. We did not agree with the “philosophy” or the “methods” of the church, and we struggled with giving them our money. I compared it to giving to another non-profit organization. If I didn’t agree with the practices of the organization, there would be no hesitation in not giving to them. So, why were we giving to a church that we did not agree with? We certainly were not giving cheerfully. In fact, I was angry every time I wrote that check to the church.

    It was such a freeing moment for us when we left church and we realized that we could give to whatever organization we wanted to, not just the church! I hope that these women find that even though they have left the church, there are still needs out there that they can freely give to. When we are freely able to give to whatever needs we see, it makes giving a pleasure and not a burden.

  229. July 1950. Billy Graham and friends pray on the White House lawn to please the media after a meeting with President Trueman. Only later did he think he had abused the president’s hospitality (not to mention privacy and confidentiality).

    Move forward thirty years and a young man visits a friend for a prayer breakfast before flying across the pond to be an intern at the First Dallas Baptist Church, the first megachurch in history. He never returns. He becomes a leading light in the SBC.

    It’s all about power, influence, reflected glory and ego. My flock is bigger/better/more fashionable than yours.

    MD walks a well worn path in American evangelicalism.

    Regard
    Gavin

  230. I compared it to giving to another non-profit organization. If I didn’t agree with the practices of the organization, there would be no hesitation in not giving to them. So, why were we giving to a church that we did not agree with? — Kathi

    Because God Would Punish You (cancer, losing job, brain tumor, run over by a bus, etc) if you didn’t fork it over?

  231. Re: ESL insult. If I’m thinking of the same insult, Doug W. was saying we need to REtake our ESL classes. Because we couldn’t understand plain English. Because we couldn’t understand that “a man conquers and colonizes a woman” REALLY means “a man serves and protects a woman”!

  232. WTH @ 11:13 –

    I agree. When I think about the timing of the shepherding movement, patriarchal teaching, complementarianism, Ezzo and Pearl child rearing, etc., they all started to be heavily pushed in the late 70s. I think that much of it was a reaction to the culture changes that had developed in the 60s and early 70s and was based in fear of a disappearing way of life. In many cases, teachings were not so much based on where does scripture lead us, but what do we feel we need to protect (as in keep in or keep out) the Church from. I see that with the Neo-Calvinists as well.

  233. Bridget,

    Although I’m newer to all of this, I completely agree. It seems to be all about protecting what is “sacred”. They cling so tight that they make a fist, which can only be used to hurt. But the thing about Jesus is that he allowed himself to be vulnerable, having an open palm. In doing that people could see what he had, look at it and share it, without fear of losing it. That is what true love is, becoming vulnerable to serve and love others, not closing into a fist and punching them in the face.

  234. Anon1
    He went on to become the president of the NAMB and he came to see me.
    Regards
    Gavin

  235. Bridget,
    The Medieval Times describe the woman’s role, from a Wilsonian POV:
    “Surrender to an age of bravery and honor and witness epic battles of steel and steed” 
    Speaking of “battles” a very young restless and reformed male former-fellow-care-group member of my former formerly Acts29 church has begun his own blog! Here’s the facebook announcement:

    My new blog. Click on “Home” to see the first post.
    **** Fair warning to friends and family****: In the spirit of 2Cor. 10:5, I consider the public discourse of ideas to be an integral sort of war-zone, and as such I will respond with a war like mentality to false ideas. If you leave publicly visible comments in which you disagree with something I’ve said, I will openly refute the ideas presented in your comments in a way that decimates them to the best of my ability. Don’t take it personally. If you’d like to have a “nicer” conversation about an issue, please email me in private.

    What do you folks think? (BTW, in his blog, he seeks to synthesize the teachings of Ayn Rand with “classical Christianity”).

  236. “If you leave publicly visible comments in which you disagree with something I’ve said, I will openly refute the ideas presented in your comments in a way that decimates them to the best of my ability. Don’t take it personally. If you’d like to have a “nicer” conversation about an issue, please email me in private.”

    2 Timothy (ESV) 24-26
    24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

    “he seeks to synthesize the teachings of Ayn Rand with “classical Christianity””

    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

  237. Jeff S :) :)
    I must confess, I read the one with Orcs when I was 14, but never read anything by Rand. I did hear her name used as a past tense verb by Simon and Garfunkle, however. “I’ve been Ayn Randed”
    Being ignorant about her, I couldn’t dream of disagreeing with anything my young friend says about her.
    I could only say with certainty that she died for precisely no one’s sins, and has yet to rise from the dead after 30 years. I suppose he could decimate those arguments, and explain how the II Tim passage isn’t applicable in a war-zone!

  238. Jeff S

    Your music is linked at the bottom of today’s post. And thank you for making me laugh. I loved the Lord of the Rings. I really liked reading Atlas Shrugged but it made me depressed at the end. 

  239. @ Dave:

    “I suppose he could decimate those arguments, and explain how the II Tim passage isn’t applicable in a war-zone!”

    But didn’t Mark Driscoll just go out of his way in the Arlington video to say that Paul called Timothy a soldier? What happens when two YRR disagree? Is it like tying toast butter side-up to the back of a cat?

  240. What happens when two YRR disagree? Is it like tying toast butter side-up to the back of a cat? — Hester

    The Universe cannot have two centers.

  241. I’m getting a little disturbed…this is the second time in a week that I have heard fellow Christians justify public hatred against people by saying “it’s defending the truth!”

    The other place was on Amazon.com, where people were getting nasty about Rachel Held Evans’ new book and defending their nastiness by saying that Martin Luther endorsed the use of harsh language to defeat enemies.

    And, if you take the absolutely vitriolic response of Doug Wilson after the pushback against his unfortunate sex comments…then that makes three times in the last couple of months.

    A worrisome trend, folks. A worrisome trend.

    On a side note…you know what I think of every time some patriarch spends all day busting a capillary over something Rachel Held Evans says? I think of that scene in the season finale of Game of Thrones: Season One when Danny is confronting the creepy men who have stolen her dragons. She challenges them by saying “What’s wrong, are you afraid of a little girl?”

    I have to think that many of Rachel Held Evans’ critics would answer yes to that question. :)

  242. Dave AA,

    Something tells me that this guy is convinced of what he thinks. It would be nice to get the whole world to boycott him. He doesn’t deserve to hear anyone else’s ideas. But alas, people will try to interact with him and he will feel far more intelligent and important than he is.

    On the Ayn Rand note – this is my hobby horse. The way that so many conservative Christians have jumped into bed with Rand (I’ve read other YRR guys defend her) is really appalling. She was a godless capitalist in the same way that Stalin was a godless communist. The pursuit of one’s own self-interest as the highest moral good is the bedrock of ‘objectivism’. I love watching Christians try to make her biblical – it is a wonderful display of the absurd. Samuel Beckett couldn’t have made it up.

  243. I think that Hitchens’ response to Rand is the best I’ve heard – he exposes her silliness.

  244. I love watching Christians try to make her biblical – it is a wonderful display of the absurd. Samuel Beckett couldn’t have made it up.

    Wasn’t the architect in Atlas Shrugged based on Frank Lloyd Wright? He was a *very* arrogant man, fond of making proclamations like “Tall people are like weeds. They should be cut off” re. the low doorways in his houses.

    Objectivism makes me feel ill and the “conservative xtian” embrace of Rand is just… well. You’ve hit it with the Samuel Beckett comparison!

  245. Rand is a perfect example of how you can go too far in opposing an oppressive philosophy. It’s hard to fault her for her views coming out of communist Russia, but you’d think those who follow her would be a little more balanced. I am shocked how many Christians embrace her work given how absolutely opposed to mercy she is. She has her main character shoot a human in the heart and feel no guilt because he was not worthy of being considered a human. There’s no way such a philosophy is consistent with Jesus.

    I became familiar with Rand by way of my favorite band Rush who was briefly enamored with some of her works. I think Atlas Shrugged does a great job of showing why Communism fails, but also unintentionally shows the absurdity of going full tilt the other direction.

    Finally, having a 100 page monologue is not a good example of literary prowse, even if it IS John Galt himself, Rand’s idealized man.

  246. Dee –

    Thank you so much for your kind response. I truly do feel accepted and welcomed here. You and Deb are meeting a great need by providing a forum for all of us who have been wounded by the church to share our doubts, fears and frustrations without being judged. Thank you for providing that safe space and in doing so, enabling true connection and community.

  247. Caleb W. wrote, “The Resurgence is adding to its ‘shut up and serve the leader’ propaganda. This came out today: ‘The Second in Charge'”

    Sheesh. That wasn’t even written by Driscoll, but by one of his two “executive elders” who supposedly has “kingly” giftings, Sutton Turner. It is unbelievable how full of themselves these men are. Little kings. LOL

  248. Hm. A second-in-charge “serves the leader” of an organization?

    That’s odd. I thought we were all supposed to serve Jesus, and our church body as a whole. I thought leaders weren’t supposed to HAVE servants, but to BE servants.

    Apparently I’m super confused.

  249. Okay, at the end of that article, they mention what your attidue towards “the organization” and “the leader” should be, way more than they mention what your attitude toward Jesus should be.

    There is something wrong here, people!

  250. Sutton Turner is the Secretary, not the President of Mars Hill as a legal organization. That “kingly” stuff is probably nothing more than PR.

    http://marshill.com/governance

    Who are the officers of Mars Hill Church?

    For state law purposes, Mars Hill has a president, Mark Driscoll; a vice president, Dave Bruskas; and a secretary/treasurer, Sutton Turner. Mars Hill also has a chief financial officer, Kerry Dodd; and a chief legal officer, Chris Pledger.

    “kingly” is simply carried over from Turner taking over Jamie Munson’s role (Munson was president even though Driscoll probably called the shots). Turner being the secretary while still getting the “kingly” PR may suggest a few things about Munson’s “kingly” role, in hindsight.

    Anyone else remember Chris Pledger? Wartburg seemed to mention him in connection to a trademark situation last year.

  251. Dave A A on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 03:35 PM said:
    Your quote re: Ayn Rand “I could only say with certainty that she died for precisely no one’s sins, and has yet to rise from the dead after 30 years”.

    Oooh, she may have died but her philosophy is very very much alive. It’s the dominant paradigm.

    I read “The Fountainhead” when I was a teenager and loved it. I had utterly no idea of and was blissfully ignorant of the worldview she was promoting – ‘untrammelled capitalism’.

    She was definitely a product of her times – coming out of Bolshevik Russia. We have a similar woman in Australia called Helen Hughes. I’ll shut up now or I’ll start raving about how the right-wing is influencing indigenous policy.

    Objectivism (partial cut and paste below)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_%28Ayn_Rand%29

    …the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness (or rational self-interest), that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism…

  252. WTH: “That “kingly” stuff is probably nothing more than PR.”

    You are too kind, WTH. Actually, that “kingly” rhetoric is the underlying philosophy of the top-down leadership. Based on their own pronouncements, MH went from a plurality of elders to a “trinity” at the top: Prophet, Priest, King. They either just tout this stuff for PR sake, or they are really sick puppies and actually believe it. either way, it is cultish in the extreme and ripe for abuse.

  253. JJ — i’m currently in the midde of my annual “watch all 4 seasons of A Bit of Fry & Laurie bit by bit every night.” Just finished season 1 last night. Marjory is dead.

  254. Hi Little Canuck – I know what you mean about the Gospel Coalition’s influence on this area. No concern from church attenders, such an easy take-over. Sigh. I also think you are representative, many first or second generation Dutch and Mennonites in the area. I wonder if that is why many don’t feel the sting of patriarchalism the way those of us from less gender-divided churches do, as the more traditional churches were/are pretty patriarchal, making the misogynist tendencies in guys like MD just seem “biblically” complementarianism-normative in the influenced churches?

    Be thankful it is just MD you had to deal with, some churches in your area love all the conference guys – Piper, Driscoll, Mahaney, etc., etc. Once people reacted negatively to Driscoll’s marriage (I mean sex) book, then all the others got quoted endlessly (insert eye-roll).

    Dee – Vancouver area is a unique case (I hope) the churches seem more like they react to the west-coast, anything goes, laid-back lifestyle by being different from that, rather than really going for God. Not all churches, mind you, but many of them. For Christians: large families, early marriage, that sort of stuff, but it really contrasts the Vancouver norms – few kids, many child-free adults, late to very late marriages. Working women.

  255. @ Dave A A

    It’s a bit childish, but my initial response to anyone who takes Ayn Rand’s philosophies seriously as something to aspire to is to laugh at them, because they’ve clearly not had much exposure to the world. My second response is to let them know if they didn’t already that, for all her railing against the evils of governments and any sort of social program, she herself claimed medicare benefits – under a different name. It won’t necessarily change someone’s opinions, but it’s fun to see the attempts to justify for Ayn what they spend so much time decrying.

  256. She claimed medicare benefits? I’ll be reading up on that one. There’s probably even more worth telling.

    In my internet hunting this afternoon (it’s like that), I found these other two posts on Ayn Rand by Morgan Guyton. I like how Christians are challenging that belief set, because she is so compatible with the brand of churchianity.

    http://morganguyton.wordpress.com/2012/08/12/ayn-rand-vs-jesus/

    http://morganguyton.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/3-gospel-stories-made-into-atlas-shrugged/

  257. Speaking of the “brand of churchianity”, as Haitch just did…

    It has struck me recently how certain similarities can be drawn between the rise of the mega-church over the last couple of generations, and the Industrial Revolution in Britain – and, subsequently, most of the world – around 200 years ago. (The industrial revolution was not an event with a date, of course, but a long period of vast cultural, social and technological change that transformed nations to the core. Likewise the rise of the mega-church. So I don’t want to go overboard joining dots that aren’t there; but bear with me a minute.)

    For one thing, there was a seismic shift in who held the reigns of power and influence. Prior to around 1750, British society was almost exclusively hereditary; social mobility was next to impossible and you died with exactly the same amount of money and power you were born with (for most people, that meant: none, because wealth and power was inextricably bound up with land ownership, and they owned no land). But the industrial revolution saw the rise of an entrepreneurial capitalist “class”; those with the right combination of ideas, ambition and leadership could (with a certain amount of hard work) build significant business empires and vast fortunes. This was enabled, in large part, by technological advances that made cheap mass-production possible. As a result, many farming peasants’ skills and labour became redundant; they were forced to move to the growing cities to seek employment. Because labour now had so little value, a huge underclass was created, many of them living in unimaginable squalour and poverty. Even those who were able to find work were often treated as little more than expendable cattle by the new oligarchs who as good as owned them (there were honourable exceptions, of course).

    Wind forward. People no longer have to attend a local group of believers because they can easily drive to the next town (or the city centre). Technology has likewise made available, for easy consumption, a plethora of spiritual products; these range from CD or podcast sermons and “worship”, to conference experiences. One side-effect has been that a relatively small number of celebrity producers, with the nous and ambition to market their products widely, have gained a huge amount of power and influence in Christian circles. Once a church grows beyond a certain size, sheer weight of numbers keeps drawing people in. It doesn’t always happen, but the fact that people keep coming quasi-automatically means that they don’t have to be loved any more. The congregation, in those cases, becomes a mere mass of human cattle who are beholden to the “spiritual capitalist” and exist only to serve him (very rarely “her”, maybe if she’s the Leader’s Wife), staff his business and help him achieve his ambitions. As a result, many thousands of believers have ended up with no sonship or spiritual inheritance of their own, labouring only for someone else in the “service of the kingdom”. And they have to, because they honestly believe they can’t please God any other way. I know individuals hereabouts who explicitly believe the state of emotional arousal they experience as a result of modern CCM equates to “entering the presence of God”. And that mindset seems to be widespread.

  258. I should qualify one point from the above (as though I hadn’t written enough already).

    The mere fact that a christian becomes well-known obviously does not, in itself, make him/her the antichrist. Like you all needed me to tell you that. I also note its influence on me. I think it’s only now that I’ve finally shaken off the craving for ego-boostingly large audiences and readerships that blighted my spiritual development for over two decades. (As I’ve hinted in previous posts: by God’s grace, that craving was not satisfied.)

  259. TedS

    See my response to elastigir.l I believe that Driscoll has a fundamental misunderstanding on the New Testament and the role of grace. The coming of the Holy Spirit gifted all believers and the roles of the Old Testament are no longer relevant. One does not need to appoint a “prophet’ since the Spirit gifts the prophet and so appoints him/her to that role. That means the quiet woman sitting in the back of the meeting hall can be as much of a prophet as Billy Graham.

    However, for the control freak,(who is that way because he is hiding something in his life) this is insufficient. There must be a boss and the boss must be appointed by other bosses. So, Driscoll had to run to the Old Testament for his example since there is none in the N.T. Driscoll is just an OT Pharisee dressed up in a Micky Mouse shirt to make him appear relevant. 

  260. Val

    Thanks for the information. I need to learn more about our Canadian neighbors and how the evangelical movement is perceived.

  261. Pam

    I did not know that about Rand but it does not surprise me. I have met people who espouse her philosophy and who take governemnt handouts because “if the governemnt is idiotic enough to give it to me, then so be it.” It surprises me that there are Christians who believe that Rand’s philosophy is consisten with the faith. They often quote “if you don’t work, you don’t eat” rarely taking into account the complexity of such a situation. They ignore Jesus’ command to care for the poor. That is what frustrates me about Rand. It all sounds so simple, doesn’t it? I am waiting for a Rand fan to take me to task for my simplistic view of her. 

  262. Ayn Rand was a CULT Leader who got abused by the Russian Revolution. Fleeing the Bolshies’ regime of Forced Unselfishness and Collective trumping Individual, she flipped one-eighty in the other direction into an Ideology of Utter Selfishness. And then turned that Ideology into a CULT with herself as Cult Leader, in a funhouse-mirror reflection of what she fled and reacted against.

    I have no doubt if she’d been given the same absolute power over a country as Comrade Stalin, her Objectivist regime would have been just as bloody as Stalin’s Communist regime. Purity of Ideology and all that.

  263. Atlas Shrugged is Rand’s Sacred SCRIPTURE(TM)in every sense of the Word; after the 2008 elections and the start of the Second Great Depression, I heard it quoted chapter-and-verse as Fulfilled Prophecy.

    Though some months ago, I had an insight: Atlas Shrugged is Left Behind for Brights, an apocalyptic escape/revenge fantasy. Both are the same story and fanservice pitched for different audiences.

    1) Initial Situation: Persecution of the Righteous.

    The Righteous (Those Just Like You, Dear Reader) are a minority, a Chosen Elect who actually make the world go round, outnumbered and persecuted by the Unrighteous.

    2) The Escape Fantasy:

    A mysterious Messiah figure calls out the Righteous (Those Just Like You, Dear Reader) and spirits them away to a hidden Place of Refuge where they wait out the coming/resulting Apocalypse/Armageddon.

    3) The Revenge Fantasy:

    Without The Righteous (Those Just Like You, Dear Reader) to leaven the loaf and prevent the Apocalypse, everything melts down as the Unrighteous destroy themselves and take the entire world down with them. Armageddon.

    4) End Situation: Triumph of the Righteous

    After everything outside the Place of Refuge has been destroyed in the resulting Armageddon, the Messiah figure leads The Righteous (Those Just Like You, Dear Reader) out from the Place of Refuge to take rightful possession of the world now cleansed of the Unrighteous. And The Righteous inherit the Kingdom prepared for them…

    Aside: Break-the-Fourth-Wall preaching

    In both, the authors break the fourth wall and preach directly to the reader, whether Altar Call Invitation or 100-page one-sentence Objectivist rant.

    Atlas Shrugged and Left Behind — Twins Separated at Birth?

  264. Headless Unicorn Guy:
    My YRR friend plans to write a book: “The Galt-like God”, Who, I presume, would have really preferred giving us a 100-page rant over the Great Commandment, Great Commission, Golden Rule, and Sermon on the Mount.
    You (HUG) have my permission :) to google and interact with him. I think your unique gifts may be just what he needs to hear.

  265. I went out this morning and was reminded of another Facebook friend who mixes conspiracy theories in with religious posts. (sample: “Isn’t Jesus Wonderful!” 0 comments “Was ‘Sandy’ created by the government to stop the election?” 45 comments)
    So I looked up in the sky on this election day and saw–at least 6 contrails! You hardly ever see them here. Coincidence?! I think not! In other conspiracy news, “Was Sully’s plane shot down by Mars Hill security team? You decide!!!”

  266. Dear Headless
    Nothing new there I’m afraid. The literary theme has been the same throughout history. I’ve recently finished a book called The Puritan Millennium:Literature And Theology, 1550-1682 where the same ideas are used to justify all sorts of things.
    Regards
    Gavin

  267. Dave AA —

    Use proper Conspiracy terminology.

    Not “contrails”, “Chemtrails(TM)”.

  268. Headless Unicorn Guy,
    After breathing the chemtrails, I feel Strange Compulsion to go out and vote to re-elect Great Leader as Eternal President.

  269. It’s worth noting that I think Rand saw herself as Dagny, not Galt in Atlas Shrugged. That is, I think she still felt she was a work in progress whereas Galt was perfection personified.

    Dee, it’s hard not to have a simplistic view of Rand, as her philosophy was very simplistic. The whole “the answer to poverty is hard work” line of thinking is unscriptural. Even Johnathan Edwards held very strongly that mercy to the poor was a core Christian value and he has a sermon where he dismantles all of the (still used) excuses conservatives make for not helping the poor. But I guess people only listen to Edwards when he’s talking about hell, not the poor.

  270. Gavin

    I need your help with something. I am going away and i find this an interesting comment by Jeff 

    “Even Johnathan Edwards held very strongly that mercy to the poor was a core Christian value and he has a sermon where he dismantles all of the (still used) excuses conservatives make for not helping the poor.”

    Could you please tell me how the Puritans dealt with the poor who were unable to work due to illness, disabiltiy, etc. How dd they deal with the prisoners whose term was over in terms of helping them find a means to support themwelves?

  271. After breathing the chemtrails, I feel Strange Compulsion to go out and vote to re-elect Great Leader as Eternal President. — Dave AA

    Dare you to dial up Coast to Coast AM next time they open up the lines at 3 Ayem and see if you can get them to believe that.

  272. Hi Dee

    I’ve got this link to a “Google book” that will give you a few pages on the subject and I’ll have a rummage through my own stuff and try and get it off to you as soon as possible – probably tomorrow as it’s 8pm here.

    The link is

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=EzvHvEDPosQC&pg=PA483&lpg=PA483&ots=Viy5AXxELW&dq=puritans+poor&output=html_text

    The books cover Puritanism in both continents and would be worth reading in their own right.
    Best wishes
    Gavin

  273. Some of my Puritan ancestors were in John Eliot’s church– need to check further on his views on this.

  274. @ Nick:

    “I know individuals hereabouts who explicitly believe the state of emotional arousal they experience as a result of modern CCM equates to ‘entering the presence of God.’ And that mindset seems to be widespread.”

    Combine this with the “spiritual capitalist” idea you mentioned earlier (CCM is largely controlled by corporate interests) and you pretty much have the entire Christian music industry in a nutshell. Backbeats and the trancelike state they can induce seem to have become a necessary “preparation” for or “gateway” into “true” worship. Kind of like getting absolution from the priest. Which any good anti-Catholic CCM-loving Baptist would fiercely decry.

    I wish CCM advocates would just start admitting these things up front. It would make their (old and tired) objections to traditional music much easier to rebut.

  275. @Nick 07:53 AM & others, loving this economic beliefs chat and the time period you describe. Much of the early Australian population was due to the direct effects of the industrial revolution as you so aptly explained (are you up on your Peterloo massacre?), and a little skirmish across the way when they wouldn’t take convicts anymore. The Rev Thomas Malthus opposed poor relief (see the debate preceding the 1834 Poor Law Reform) as it would ‘simply permit unwanted hungry mouths to multiply’. Unfortunately he was influential, as was the company he kept. The workhouses were a cruel concoction. I have just found out a relative topped himself at the St George the Martyr workhouse in 1872. I assume he had a work injury. Good on Dickens for writing fiction to expose what was happening. Malthus’ epitaph in Bath Abbey is going to get a yellow sticky note on it with some words from me…

  276. @ Dee:

    “It surprises me that there are Christians who believe that Rand’s philosophy is consistent with the faith. They often quote ‘if you don’t work, you don’t eat’ rarely taking into account the complexity of such a situation. They ignore Jesus’ command to care for the poor. That is what frustrates me about Rand. It all sounds so simple, doesn’t it? I am waiting for a Rand fan to take me to task for my simplistic view of her.”

    I always understood 2 Thessalonians 3:10 to be referring to those who actively refuse to work, not those forced/born into poverty through circumstances, illness, etc. or who just can’t rise above a certain income level no matter how hard they work. Many people work very hard, multiple jobs even, and they’re still poverty-stricken. We’re told to help these people.

    I’ve never read any Rand and from what I’ve heard, I don’t want to. She sounds like a real piece of work, to be honest, and her followers are annoying. (Careful about daring a Randbot to “challenge” you – they will!) She is NOT compatible with Christianity, not in the slightest. Ironically the only “Christian” I ever met who LOVED LOVED LOOOOOVED her also tried to bully all the other people in our homeschool group into following her [this person’s, not Rand’s] rules on debatable issues (which she insisted were not debatable). So apparently what’s good for the goose is not, in fact, good for the gander.

    On the other hand I do think Christians can legitimately disagree on the role of government in charity…and not all conservatives are libertarians. BUT. This doesn’t change the fact that we are commanded to help the poor in some way.

    (Another libertarian idea I take issue with is the pervasive idea that all taxation is “theft.” It’s just silly for Christians to espouse this when we’re clearly commanded at least twice in Scripture to pay taxes.)

  277. Combine this with the “spiritual capitalist” idea you mentioned earlier (CCM is largely controlled by corporate interests) and you pretty much have the entire Christian music industry in a nutshell. Backbeats and the trancelike state they can induce seem to have become a necessary “preparation” for or “gateway” into “true” worship. — Hester

    Wasn’t “backbeat inducing trancelike state” one of the standard denunciations of rock music as “OCCULT” and “SAY-TANN-IC” during the Backwards Masking scare of the Satanic Panic?

    P.S. Heather? Rand gets better. Can’t find it on the Web right now, but Rand went all Harley Quinn fangirl over a serial child killer sometime during the 1920s. Acted like a TwiTard to EDWARD (sparkle sparkle) and put the killer on a pedestal as her Perfectly Self-Actualized Man (sparkle sparkle). Don’t remember much more than that, but a Web search should find the details.

  278. Atlas Snubbed?

     “Who is John Galt?,” in the book Atlas Shrugged , people use this unanswerable question to express their sense of hopelessness. However, “Who is Jesus Christ?,” in the Bible, people use this answered question to express their sense of hope. Real lasting hope. The rest is a no-brainer.

    Consider Carefully?

    You Decide.

    IronClad

  279. Dear Dave AA
    Your ancestor favoured a theocracy and would you believe it, the only person to stand for president of the USA was Joseph Smith, a Mormon, so who knows you may be living in the idea world tomorrow (assuming you live across the pond) :-)
    Regards
    Gavin

  280. Dear Hester

    This is turning into an eye-opening discussion. I’ve just come across a sermon by John Newton, ex-slave trader, on the Advantages of a State of Poverty. Apparently it’s okay if you’re an unbeliever because it restrains sin and if you’re a sanctified believer you only reap benefits!
    Regards
    Gavin

  281. @ HUG:

    Got the info! This is really disturbing. I didn’t know this.

    “Back in the late 1920s, as Ayn Rand was working out her philosophy, she became enthralled by a real-life American serial killer, William Edward Hickman, whose gruesome, sadistic dismemberment of a 12-year-old girl named Marion Parker in 1927 shocked the nation. Rand filled her early notebooks with worshipful praise of Hickman. According to biographer Jennifer Burns, author of Goddess of the Market, Rand was so smitten by Hickman that she modeled her first literary creation – Danny Renahan, the protagonist of her unfinished first novel, The Little Street – on him.

    What did Rand admire so much about Hickman? His sociopathic qualities: ‘Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should,’ she wrote, gushing that Hickman had ‘no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel “other people.”‘

    This echoes almost word for word Rand’s later description of her character Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead: ‘He was born without the ability to consider others.'”

    Later when Hickman was hanged for his crime:

    “Rand denounced the hanging as ‘the mob’s murderous desire to revenge its hurt vanity against the man who dared to be alone.'”

    Source linked below. WARNING: CONTAINS VERY GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS OF THE AFOREMENTIONED MURDER AND A FEW PHOTOGRAPHS.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/08/mark-ames-paul-ryans-guru-ayn-rand-worshipped-a-serial-killer-who-kidnapped-and-dismembered-little-girls.html

  282. HUG (et al) – have you considered the possibility that Ayn Rand was slightly bonkers? Just guessing, as I don’t know a fat lot about her. But I’ve just googled a photo of her and she looks like the person from the archetypal monster movie who is the first to see The Creature.

    Haitch – I know relatively little about the Peterloo Massacre, unfortunately, though one might say it was effectively Britain’s Tienanmen Square. But you could also call it another tragic parallel between the repression of the industrial revolution and the rise of the celebrity-led megachurch, with its wounded people who are supposedly to be ignored, and whose “attacks” only seem to harden the hearts of the powerful. I didn’t know what Malthus’ epitaph was until I looked it up just now. Hard to say, but it was evidently written by (or on behalf of) his friends. It is long on how noble he appeared to them, and short on what good he actually did beyond writing books and preaching. I don’t want to sound like a stuck record on the “parallels” thing, but…

    BTW – are you intending physically to stick a post-it thereon, entailing a visit to these shores, or am I over-interpreting you there?

  283. I hadn’t ever heard that about Rand (the serial killer stuff), but it makes total sense. It is the natural conclusion to her Godless philosophy- without justice your effort should always be focused on what will ultimate make you happy, no matter what the effect is in others. Most people are not capable of such behavior, though. Christians getting too cosy with such a system of belief certainly makes me uncomfortable.

  284. @Nick – yeah the bit on Rev Tosser Malthus “he lived a serene and happy life” got me stirred up when he was busy depriving others of the same. Born into a life of privilege and left it just the same. grrr That epitaph is very much writing history in his favour.

    The sticky note thing is the seed of an idea but I haven’t dusted off the passport just yet – it will be awhile but the passion (?fury) won’t dissipate. One word might do it – “tosser”. However I think I’ll upgrade to a larger sticky note and get a little more articulate to honour my poor coachmaker relative. Don’t worry, I won’t deface the epitaph or anything so you don’t need to tip them off. “Occupy”….. with sticky notes ! (PS I have a friend who does guerrilla knitting, so I’m in good company)

  285. I think Rand was DEFINITELY bonkers. It just seems there a lot of people with brains seemingly intact that follow her philosophies, and that’s scary.

    I’m not saying Libertarian politics is all bad because they are not all Randriods, but people who idolize Ran worry me.

  286. Wow, that Rand was in a world of her own. What a brutal and terrible thing Hickman did. Before now, all I really knew about Ayn Rand came from The Simpsons episode in which Maggie is sent to the Ayn Rand School for Tots.

  287. ”Who is John Galt?,”

    I don’t know, but for the past four years the guy’s got more Celebrity Impersonators than Elvis.

    Got the info! This is really disturbing. I didn’t know this. — Hester

    Yeah. Isn’t it. “Harley Quinn Syndrome” on steroids.

    When I first sent that info to some friends of mine years ago, the response I got was “I didn’t think it was possible for my opinion of Ayn Rand to sink any lower, but…”

    Think about it. THAT is now the Fourth Person of the Trinity to a LOT of Christian Culture War Political Activists. Are we in a South Park episode or what?

    HUG (et al) – have you considered the possibility that Ayn Rand was slightly bonkers? Just guessing, as I don’t know a fat lot about her. But I’ve just googled a photo of her and she looks like the person from the archetypal monster movie who is the first to see The Creature. — Nick Bulbeck

    Not so much “bonkers” as “incredibly full of Herself”. After all, she DID start a Cult with herself as Cult Leader and Objectivism (and herself) as the objects of worship. (And you don’t become the next Sun Myung Moon unless you’re incredibly full of yourself.)

    “You obviously do not have a Rational Mind. If you had a Rational Mind, you would agree completely with Me.” — Ayn Rand

    In his book Why People Believe Weird Things, Skeptic Michael Shermer devotes an entire chapter to his run-ins with Objectivist Fundamentalists (Randroids) — “The Most Unlikeliest Cult of All”.

    Rand was also the inspiration for the backstory of the game Bioshock, which is set in a derelict Objectivist cult utopia on the sea bottom. And I understand acting Objectivist in the game gets you through the game OK, but with pretty much negative score.

    And on a lighter note, Ayn Rand appeared as a Supervillain in an issue of the Eighties small-press comic Fission Chicken. An Undead Cyborg Ayn Rand, leading an army of Deros up from the Hollow Earth through a portal in her grave. (Fission Chicken got pretty surreal.)

  288. This is turning into an eye-opening discussion. I’ve just come across a sermon by John Newton, ex-slave trader, on the Advantages of a State of Poverty. — Gavin White

    I suspect John Newton wasn’t in a State of Poverty himself. I understand slave trading in the period was quite a big business.

    @Nick – yeah the bit on Rev Tosser Malthus “he lived a serene and happy life” got me stirred up when he was busy depriving others of the same. Born into a life of privilege and left it just the same. — Haitch

    Remember Britain’s and Europe’s class system, descendant of European Feudalism. And the attitudes it bred. And the resulting blind spots.

    I remember Malthus best as the guy who got quoted Chapter & Verse during the “Population Bomb” scare of the early Earth Day movement. Overpopulation was the Nuclear War or Global Warming of its day, which demanded “drastic measures” to avoid — in that case, massive birth control and abortion to stop population growth in the “most rapidly growing” (i.e. Third World) countries. And they all quoted Malthus in justification.

  289. @ HUG:

    “I remember Malthus best as the guy who got quoted Chapter & Verse during the ‘Population Bomb’ scare of the early Earth Day movement.”

    Just go on some peak oil/doomer sites. They’re still quoting him. All right, well, not actually quoting him, just talking about him a lot. Of course lots of those folks never got past the Population Bomb (they’re still quoting Paul Ehrlich, too). That was my introduction to Malthus and all I know about him. I didn’t know he was involved with the British workhouse system.

  290. “You obviously do not have a Rational Mind. If you had a Rational Mind, you would agree completely with Me.” — Ayn Rand

    Why does this make me think:

    “You obviously do not have a Gospel Mind. If you had a Gospel Mind, you would agree completely with me.” — ????

  291. @Hester
    Reminds me how easy it is to label or interpret something or someone and miss the other parts of their life and of what they had to say. Malthus is a clear example – he’s known for his population pronouncements but not for the other scope of his work. I think the same goes for Adam Smith and Karl Marx, that they are not fully understood in their entirety.

    I stupidly took a week off work once to finish ‘Atlas Shrugged’ – only got there by skipping the 100 page capitalist John Galt rant. To think of all the bushwalks I could have done in that time ! But I’d love to get deeper into Smith and Marx and their peers and read the primary sources over a decent period of time, not the Cliff Notes version commonly bandied about. Maybe I should be doing the same for the bible hey? (I’ll stop now).

  292. Why does this make me think:

    “You obviously do not have a Gospel Mind. If you had a Gospel Mind, you would agree completely with me.” — ???? — JeffS

    Because the underlying attitude is identical.

  293. I am glad people are making the connections with Ayn Rand’s thinking with that of certain Christian groups. Same thinking only one uses “rational” and the other “biblical”.

    The thing that made Ayn Rand attractive to many was her overarching question: Who owns your labor?

  294. (Another libertarian idea I take issue with is the pervasive idea that all taxation is “theft.” It’s just silly for Christians to espouse this when we’re clearly commanded at least twice in Scripture to pay taxes.)

    I understand your sentiment but the Christians in the 1st Century did not vote for their leaders. Yes we are commanded to help the poor but we are not commanded to ask Caesar to be the one who does it.

  295. @ WTH:

    “Happiness, for Ayn Rand, ‘is a state of non-contradictory joy—a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction’ (VS, 29). On the basis of this definition, I am willing to say yes to the following sentence: ‘The achievement of his own happiness is man’s highest moral purpose’ (VS, 27).”

    She used the word “joy” and said it was man’s highest purpose… So did Piper get “Christian Hedonism” from Ayn Rand, or come up with it on his own and then find it in Ayn Rand?

  296. RE: WenatcheeTheHatchet on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 10:10 PM,

    Leave it to Piper to write something that tedious on Rand. But then again Neetcha (Nietzsche) would have probably rattled him too much to even attempt a critique.

  297. @ Anon 1:

    “Yes we are commanded to help the poor but we are not commanded to ask Caesar to be the one who does it.”

    I agree with you on this point, but I wasn’t talking just about funding social programs. I’ve heard many people claim that taxation is theft in and of itself. But we are commanded to pay our taxes (Matthew 22:21, Romans 13:7). There’s no footnote to these commands – it’s not “pay your taxes, unless you think they’re too high” or “pay your taxes, unless you didn’t vote for they guy who instituted the tax hike.” Paul says we pay taxes because God has instituted the governing authorities (Romans 13:6). It’s not presented as a matter of turning the other cheek as someone robs you. So for a Christian to go around claiming that taxation is automatically theft is problematic in my view. If you don’t like high taxes, the solution is to work to get people into office who will lower them (since, as you correctly pointed out, we can vote for our leaders) – not to redefine all taxes as an evil/sin.

  298. Watching the Colbert Report, while reading this TWW thread… in one of the first bits, in reference to the probable Republican defeat, he mentions Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged..

    Is anyone else a Colbert fan? :)

  299. Who is Ayn Rand?

        Hello,

           What is Objectivism? Why all the fascination with it, and why the resurgence of it today? Why did so many influential individuals flock to her, and her philosopy?

    Let’s take a closer look:

    Ayn Rand called her philosophy “Objectivism”, describing it in its essence as:

     “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged,  1992, pp. 1170–1171

    Question: Is this the best man can do ‘without’ God?

    Has not the fool said in their heart: “there is no God”? 

    Blessings!

    IronClad

    Notes: 
    Ayn Rand: “The name I have chosen for my philosophy is Objectivism.” “Preface,”For the New Intellectual, viii

    Ayn Rand:  “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute. ‘About the Author,’ ” Atlas Shrugged, Appendix.

    Subject matter:

    Metaphysics: Objective Reality
    Epistemology: Reason
    Ethics: Self-interest
    Politics: Capitalism

    If you want this translated into simple language, it would read: 

    1. “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed” or “Wishing won’t make it so.” 
    2. “You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.” 
    3. “Man is an end in himself.” 
    4. “Give me liberty or give me death.”

    Ayn Rand: “If you held these concepts with total consistency, as the base of your convictions, you would have a full philosophical system to guide the course of your life. But to hold them with total consistency—to understand, to define, to prove and to apply them—requires volumes of thought. Which is why philosophy cannot be discussed while standing on one foot—nor while standing on two feet on both sides of every fence. This last is the predominant philosophical position today, particularly in the field of politics.”

    Ayn Rand’s  philosophy, Objectivism, holds that:

    “Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.”

    “Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses) is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.”

    “Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.”

    “The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.” “Introducing Objectivism,” The Objectivist Newsletter, Aug. 1962, 35.

    Ayn Rand: “I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows.”

    Ayn Rand: “This—the supremacy of reason—was, is and will be the primary concern of my work, and the essence of Objectivism.”, “Brief Summary,” The Objectivist, Sept. 1971, 

    Ayn Rand: “The only philosophical debt I can acknowledge is to Aristotle. I most emphatically disagree with a great many parts of his philosophy—but his definition of the laws of logic and of the means of human knowledge is so great an achievement that his errors are irrelevant by comparison.” Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged,  “About the Author,”Appendix.

    Ayn Rand: “Objectivism is a philosophical movement; since politics is a branch of philosophy, Objectivism advocates certain political principles—specifically, those of laissez-faire capitalism—as the consequence and the ultimate practical application of its fundamental philosophical principles. It does not regard politics as a separate or primary goal, that is: as a goal that can be achieved without a wider ideological context.” “Choose Your Issues,”The Objectivist Newsletter, Jan. 1962.

    Ayn Rand: “Politics is based on three other philosophical disciplines: metaphysics, epistemology and ethics—on a theory of man’s nature and of man’s relationship to existence. It is only on such a base that one can formulate a consistent political theory and achieve it in practice. When, however, men attempt to rush into politics without such a base, the result is that embarrassing conglomeration of impotence, futility, inconsistency and superficiality which is loosely designated today as ‘conservatism.’ Objectivists are not ‘conservatives.’ We are radicals for capitalism; we are fighting for that philosophical base which capitalism did not have and without which it was doomed to perish. “Choose Your Issues,”The Objectivist Newsletter, Jan. 1962.

    Ayn Rand: “I regard the spread of Objectivism through today’s culture as an intellectual movement—i.e., a trend among independent individuals who share the same ideas—but not as an organized movement. “A Statement of Policy,” The Objectivist, June 1968.

    [See also: Capitalism; Context-Dropping; Free Market; Intrinsic Theory of Values; Market Value; Mystical Ethics; Objectivity; Physical Force; Reason; Social Theory of Ethics; “Stolen Concept,” Fallacy of; Subjectivism; Values.]

    See also:

    The Ominous Parallels, Leonard Peikoff, 1982.
    The Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand, 1971.
    Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand, 1957.
    The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand, 1943.
    For the New Intellectual, Ayn Rand, 1961.
    Philosophy: Who Needs It, Ayn Rand  Le onard Peikoff, 1982.
    “The Philosophy of Objectivism” lecture series. , Le onard Peikoff, 1976.


    For further literary acknowledgments for the above, see: Harry Binswanger:
    http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/objectivism.html

    See also:
    http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/literature/atlas-shrugged/book-summary.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand#CITEREFRand1992
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Shrugged
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_(Ayn_Rand)

  300. Hester, It helps to have an educated populace. There is no constitutional provision for an “income” tax. (Keep in mind the defniition of income on labor) We just stupidly went along with the idea of taxing labor because it was only going to be the rich. It is always going to affect the rich…at first. Then we stupidly went along with having it deducted from paychecks. Frogs in water. Taxing labor does not seem to be a good thing at all. I won’t call it “evil” but it is close. taxing material’? yes. To some, “who owns your labor” is a very good question.

  301. Soooo…Obama has basically officially won. Break out the popcorn, folks! The Antichrist doomcasting show should begin shortly. He’s probably waiting to sign a 7-year treaty with Israel as we speak! ; )

  302. @ Anon 1, one the ‘who owns your labour’ question, that’s the fundamental question of Marx, too, but he came to a vastly different approach than Rand.

  303. Oh, and I’m obviously not promoting Karl Marx as someone to rigidly live by, just pointing out that both ends of the spectrum ask fundamentally the same question, but respond to it in vastly different (but equally rigid and extreme) ways.

  304. Hester said: “So did Piper get “Christian Hedonism” from Ayn Rand, or come up with it on his own and then find it in Ayn Rand?”

    BRILLIANT question.

  305. All this talk of Ayn Rand – sounds like she espoused: Sociopaths Everywhere – Unite! (I haven’t read her, neither have I heard anything good about her)

    Interestingly, the business world apparently has a higher percentage of sociopaths in CEO-type positions than any other job, and the modern mega-church is seems to be modelling itself on the business world. Kind of hard to find the right pastoral fit when looking for the next great mega-church CEO (oops, I meant Pastor): Christ-like and sociopathic. Something has gotta give.

  306. Capt. Sullenberger: An Emotional Reunion?

        Hello,

           “150 people might not be alive today if it weren’t for Capt. Sullenberger and the crew of US Airways Flight 1549. 60 Minutes invited some of the passengers to reunite with them in, of all places, Charlotte NC.”

    Youtube: An Emotional Reunion?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQVGglYOhEg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    The actions of this one man effected the very lives of so many more, family, relatives, neighbors, colleagues, etc., 
    A pilot, and not a pastor.

    When a pastor fails, how do we know? What can we do?

    (I teared up watching this video imagining the tremendous level of responsibility presented it this situation.)

    How so, the tremendous level of responsibility with believers in the churches?

    One can only wonder.

    “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

    Blessings!

    IronClad 

  307. I came across this quote today, by Alphonse de Lamartine:

    It is not only the slave or serf who is ameliorated in becoming free… the master himself did not gain less in every point of view… for absolute power corrupts the best natures.

    The briefer, more recent, and better-known, quote on absolute power corrupting is from John Acton, but even it has a little-known second sentence:

    Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.

    In context, by “great”, Acton evidently meant famous, powerful or influential. And inevitably, when we credit vast achievements to individuals, we credit them for the work of many nameless and un-honoured people who served in the background. To cite an example: a friend here who has become deeply enamoured of Driscoll’s oratory and leadership style said to me (and I quote): “I’ll stick with Mark Driscoll. He’s saved 10,000 people in Seattle alone.” There’s a kind of “greatness” that should never be seen in the body of Christ.

  308. Anon1

    You said “Yes we are commanded to help the poor but we are not commanded to ask Caesar to be the one who does it.” Yet that is precisely what has happened. The early church sold all their possessions and shared wiht on another as they had need. Today, in the US, we have programs tha help the poor-clothing housing, schooling, etc. The government extracts taxes to provide what has not been provided in the past.

    The tithe was supposed to be used for God’s work and to help the indigent amongst us.  The question is, How do we factor in the money that we give to the governemnt that goes to assisting the poor, etc? Or do we? I think it does have some play.

    Now the tithes go, primarily, to pay pastors. Have you noticed that many churches have separate collections, which are supposed to be outside of the tithe, for “benevolence?” We have elected to give what we give (I am not an advocate for the 10% tithe-we may give more or less) to groups who directly intervene in specific situations. I also say that I will not give anything to support the salaries of pastors unless i know exactly what they are being paid, along with benefits and/or donations such as land, contracting ,etc. 

    When I give, I now check overhead, etc of groups. For example, I was pretty upset at Franklin Graham’s income for managing BGEA and World Vision. These are supposed to be ministires, not a cash cow for a limited few. He ws making over a million dollars. Supposedly he has gotten rid of one of hte salaries and is down to about $600,000 which is more than most people make. So, we make Graham rich while we “help” the poor? Something is wrong here.

  309. Hester

    Piper’s Christian hedonism is not gaining purchase in the broader evangelical community.  I have read his thinking on the subject and it is one of those “Piperisms” that make little sense outside of his little group.

  310. Searching

    I used to record all of his shows. He does make me laugh even if i have some quibbles with the constant politics. I would love it if he would be as devastatingly funny with people on all sides of the curtain. But, that being said, i always laugh! Just saying the nameo f his show  is enough to get me laughing. I also like it when he and OReilly (Papa Bear)  go at it-stealing his microwave was a classic.

  311. Ironclad

    Rand said, as you quoted,  ”the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life” Its intersting, that. I watched a History Channel (I think it was) presentation a couple of years ago in which it said that the US “pursuit of happiness” is not the happiness as we describe it today i.e.-those cute shoes make me happy.

    The historian claimed that happiness was meant as the seeking of moral good for all people. If we pursued this moral good, then peace would follow. I do not know how accurate this is. However, I have always felt it meant far more than cute shoes.

  312. Hester

    I have purposely not commented on the election since I know that people of good will are all over the place on this. However, when I return from my vacation, I want to address some troubling trends as exemplified by Todd Akin and Ricahrd Murdock. Don’t get me wrong. I think Murdock was misunderstood but his inability, along with Akin and others, to handle issues that are important to women (like rape) in such a ham handed fashion cost both of them the election.

    I believe that this ties into how the Calvinista castrati are handling RHE. Trust me, my comments are not going to be a political tirade but a view to the church and the issue of women.

    As for my feelings on the election, my trust is in a better world to come, one day. 

  313. Anon1

    One of the funniest interviews i have saw was with Harry Reid trying to say that there is no law for the federal income tax and that people don’t have to pay it. But, of course, you will be arrested. It is kind of like the SBC and pedophilia. We care about the kids, but howza about that Phillip Gunn.(see the post today).

  314. TedS

    This is what i love about blogging. We throw an idea out there and then people tell us what they want to talk about. I learn far more from the comment threads than I do in my daily walkabout the web.

  315. Oh, I’ve missed this thread!….

    I was interested to hear Hester’s comments on CCM music. To be honest I never really listen to it. My own preference in private devotions is hymns and a few choruses (similarly in church), and for non-devotional listing either rock or classics.

    Re Ayn Rand, she is an interesting but polarising character. I first got introduced to her due to the fascination of Rush’s drummer Neal Peart with her in the early years of his career (their song “Anthem” is practically a manifesto of what she believed). It’s interesting how many people (re HUG’s post) involved in the Russian Revolution did a 180 but embraced ideas equally radical – Quisling, the Norwegian Nazi, had done famine relief work in the Ukraine in the 1920s and lurched to the extreme Right.

    A very interesting book to read about Rand and her philosophy and personal life is by her former disciple, Nathaniel Brandon, “Judgement Day”. After she cut him off from the movement he took the view that some parts of her philosophy were too harsh, eg there *should* be a place for philanthropy.

    I believe the late theologian Gordon Clark also critiqued her philosophy.

    Interestingly, Alan Greenspan, the mild-mannered ex-Fed head, was one of Rand’s circle in the early days.

    I think there is a lot to be said for free enterprise and individual freedom, but I don’t think Christians should make a fetish of it. There is also a lot to be said for philanthropy, which is a Christian principle. As for taxes, as Dee says, in a democratic society one has the right to vote for changed leadership in this area, which is why Margaret Thatcher won a compelling victory in 1979 in the UK. But most mainstream thinkers realise that in a modern state, certain services (esp defence and law and order) cannot be provided by individual contractors and have to be paid for somehow. It’s getting the balance right that is tricky.

  316. “@ Anon 1, one the ‘who owns your labour’ question, that’s the fundamental question of Marx, too, but he came to a vastly different approach than Rand.”

    Bingo! Rand came from a country that exploited Marx for power in order to right a wrong of the idea “divine power of Czars”. They ended up with totalitarianism. Marx sounds great on paper but does not take into consideration human nature. And what is interesting is that with Marx, the unintended consequence was that government still owned your labor.

  317. “Today, in the US, we have programs tha help the poor-clothing housing, schooling, etc. The government extracts taxes to provide what has not been provided in the past”

    Problem is, it is not working. And many Christians will be the first to say, “the government is doing it now”. (I am old enough to remember the end days of religous funded hospitals. Christians/Jews started much of the benevolance in this country and then the government took it over slowly through regulations, etc)

    In our area there are many middle aged folks who were laid off and now losing their homes. There are 6,000 people waiting for help with government housing, most are newly homeless within the last few years due to foreclosure. The food stamp rolls have increased by 40% over the last few years. And there are very few decent paying jobs for this segment of the population due to age.

    In the meantime, many churches are upgrading carpets, giving pastors raises, etc. The institutional church has acted with an attitude of entitlement throughout this downturn begging for money some even using shaming tactics or promises from God. It is insidious.

    At some point, will people wake up and see the church is operating much the same way as their socialistic government? If believers want to sell and share with those who have less that is wonderful and a move of the Holy Spirit. Government redistribution is not a move of the Holy Spirit even though many might think so. Sending money to go through tons of channels before it gets to the one who needs it is ineffective and inefficient.

    I personally do not see much difference in the “check your brains at the door” attitude in most churches that teach people to follow man than I do with socialistic government which puts its trust in an monolithic government of faceless bureaucrats. In both cases, people are voluntarily giving away their ability /responsibility and asking someone else to take care of them spiritually and then economically. They are even trusting these entities to take care of people who need the help instead of banding together and doing it themselves.

    I totally agree with you about the separate offerings for benevolance. I have never understood why it is not part of “who we are” in the insitutional church. But then, I do not have a lot of trust in the 501c3 church anymore.

  318. Regarding CCM- I’m not a huge fan of the Christian music industry, but when I write it’s Christian (my material sounds very CCM). And I like contemporary worship. I don’t really understand why this is an argument. I enjoy worshiping with music that is natural for me, other people enjoy other music. Surely this is a preference and not something to divide over?

    I know when I was a worship leader I always chose to include hymns every week because I thought everyone should have a chance to worship in a way that was most natural to them. Of course, being a guitarist I always had to work the music out to fit my capabilities, but I always did the best I could to work in as many preferences as possible.

  319. Because I’m kind of a masochist I read the link about Piper on Rand. I don’t really disagree with any of it; however, his ultimate conclusion is there’s a lot to get from Rand, he just thinks that her perspective is off due to her non-belief in God and that’s why she has an inaccurate view of mercy. It seems to me thinking highly of Rand while disagreeing with her view on mercy is akin to saying you think highly of Jesus but disagree that he provided salvation; Rand’s view on mercy is kind of the distinctive feature of her philosophy.

  320. “Piper’s Christian hedonism is not gaining purchase in the broader evangelical community. I have read his thinking on the subject and it is one of those “Piperisms” that make little sense outside of his little group.”

    When I tell Christians outside the Calvinista circle about his “Scream of the Damned” sermon they are shocked. I sent a link to my pastor and he was shocked that so many big names said nothing or said it was wonderful.

    it scares me that so many go along with Piper fruitcakiness as if it were just pure brilliance. More checking brains at the door.

    I have a sneaky suspiscion that “Christian Hedonism” which has been around a while now, was a response to his Bob Jonesish upbringing in fundamentalism. Sort of a way to make “joy” not sinful. And notice he LOVES the word “joy or joyful”. Applies it to everything. Joyful submission, etc. But I am not a psychologist and don’t play one on TV. So I am just speculating becasue the whole idea of “Christian Hedonism” is incongruous and more of Piper changing definitions like he did with “complementarian” that does not mean what it says at all. These guys are brilliant at hijacking or inventing terms and redefining them for entire generations. Reminds me of Orwell.

  321. “One of the funniest interviews i have saw was with Harry Reid trying to say that there is no law for the federal income tax and that people don’t have to pay it”

    Hmm. You think Kent Hovind believed him? :o)

  322. Jeff – I believe I was the first to bring CCM into this thread, so although it wasn’t central to my point I have to take some responsibility there. My referring to CCM specifically may have been a bit careless; I was thinking of a particular set of people who, it so happens, are in love with CCM and it is therefore that genre that they’ve learned to use to enter an aroused emotional state. It wasn’t CCM that was the point, in other words, it’s what they’re using it for.

    I like CCM as much as any other genre. Quite frankly, if it didn’t exist, then it should – it matters that our own generation has dug its own well of musical expression. Previous generations did, after all. Nor is contemporary music – with or without a backbeat! – the only way to stir one’s emotions. Beethoven’s symphonies and piano sonatas are not dominated by percussion (strictly speaking, the piano is a percussion instrument, but you know what I mean). But listening to them can be profoundly emotional. Same with Handel, Rachmaninov, etc etc etc. And, of course, many old hymns. And on that subject, who said there’s anything wrong with emotion? God gets emotional, and I won’t insult all your intelligences by reeling off a list of scriptures that you all know as well as I do.

    My only point there was that emotional arousal is not the presence of God. If I’ve learned anything in 26 years of learning to be a worshipper, it’s that real worshippers – who worship in spirit and truth, after all – don’t ultimately care what musical/liturgical style is going on around them. If people are singing to God, they’ll gladly join in.

  323. “It’s interesting how many people (re HUG’s post) involved in the Russian Revolution did a 180 but embraced ideas equally radical – Quisling, the Norwegian Nazi, had done famine relief work in the Ukraine in the 1920s and lurched to the extreme Right.”

    I think we have been taught wrongly about right/left.

    Anarchy/Democracy/representative republic are on one side of the continuum. socialism, communism, fascism which are all varying degrees of totalitarian government are on the other side. I think we are so used to thinking of fascists are “right wing” we forget they were a form of “Socialism” hence the name “national socialists”.

  324. I wish I had more time over the last few days to be a part of this conversation. It is great and really important and not enough Christians are having it. You should all take a gander at RC Sproul’s gospel coalition post about the election, where he calls progressive income tax ‘a sin’. Sigh.

    On Marx, I think it is important to read him NOT as ideology but as a radical critique. He gets completely dismissed thanks to the Cold War association with Soviet communism – this is one way to read him, but it is ultimately a-historical and we lose the valuable critique that he offers. He ought to be read, if anything, because his historical materialism is probably still the dominant historical method, despite the cultural turn.

  325. “My only point there was that emotional arousal is not the presence of God.”

    Ah yes. I used to joke with my worship team that the Holy Spirit entered the building with the bass drum on the second chorus :)

    So yeah, I agree with what you are saying now that I understand it.

  326. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men. — Lord Acton

    Frank Herbert (author of Dune) had a corollary on Lord Acton:

    “It’s not that power tends to corrupt so much as power attracts the already-corrupt and the easily-corrupted.”

    It’s interesting how many people (re HUG’s post) involved in the Russian Revolution did a 180 but embraced ideas equally radical – Quisling, the Norwegian Nazi, had done famine relief work in the Ukraine in the 1920s and lurched to the extreme Right. — Kolya

    Actually, I have seen a similar dynamic in both Furry Fandom’s halo of Pathological Furry Haters and Ex-Christian websites. Both were a reaction to a burn job by one extreme, flipping one-eighty from Total Blind Adoration into Total Blind Hatred fueled by resentment. And if you were X-TREME in the first, you’ll be just as X-TREME in the reaction.

    “The Devil sends temptations to us in matched opposing pairs, so that in fleeing from one we embrace the other.” — C.S.Lewis(?)

    Rand came from a country that exploited Marx for power in order to right a wrong of the idea “divine power of Czars”. They ended up with totalitarianism. — Anon1

    No, they ended up with “Divine Right of The Party.” With The Inevitable Dialectic bestowing that Divine Right to Rule.

    An economics textbook from my college days had a chapter on Marx. It claimed that Marx the Revolutionary Inspiration has obscured Marx’s real strength as a Systems Analyst. Das Kapital was a thorough systems analysis of capitalism (from a Victorian knowledge base).

  327. I agree re music – I don’t think it should divide us. No way of worship is perfect, but I think hymns and CCM are both OK if the worshipper’s heart is in the right place (I mean, I like hymns, but I think to an older generation there is a danger of overfamiliarity with the words and memories of a time of “Christian England” when you were automatically fitted for heaven by being christened, just as maybe there are dangers of aroused emotions for younger CCM folk). John Blanchard, who is no fan of CCM, pointed out that Hitler even used Mozart at his rallies, so any music can be abused.

    Re Marx, I found it very interesting that during my month in the USSR, I think I saw maybe one statue of the supposed father of Communism, whereas Lenin was everywhere – in busts, on neon signs, pictures, badges…. There’s no doubt in my mind that of Marxist-Leninism, the Leninism bit was considered far and away the most important to the Soviets.

    Anon 1’s point is good inasmuch as fascism, although called “far Right” is really another form of collectivism (that’s a “Randism” for you ;-)). I think this is the real difference, not whether people vote for free markets or social democracy or whatever, but how much they want to be part of something greater than themselves or to be individuals. As Christians we can see the point in both – our salvation is individual but we belong to a Body and our spiritual gifts are for the edification of the Body. Even in non-religious terms we can see that there are times when we have to be part of the whole (in military service, for example, or in a sports team or musical ensemble), but I think the human spirit instinctively rebels at being in such a state permanently. And I doubt whether anyone on this site would want to live under a barrack-room society such as existed under numerous 20th century dictators.

  328. Piper’s Christian hedonism is not gaining purchase in the broader evangelical community. I have read his thinking on the subject and it is one of those “Piperisms” that make little sense outside of his little group.

    Beth Moore speaks of Christian hedonism but she quotes CS Lewis not Ayn Rand. I love what she said here in “Beloved Disciple” and ITA with the quote from Lewis:

    quote from “Beloved Disciple”

    ‘It’s high time I made a blatant confession. I am a Christian hedonist. Have been for years even before I knew what it means. I wish I had better words for it, but let me just say Jesus makes me happy! He thrills me! He nearly takes my breath away with His beauty. As seriously as I know how to tell you, I am at times so overwhelmed by His love for me, my face blushes with intensity and my heart races with holy anticipation. Jesus is the uncontested delight of my life. I never intended for this to happen. I didn’t even know it was possible. It all started with an in-depth study of His Word in my late 20s and then surged, oddly enough, with a near emotional and mental collapse in my early 30s. At the end of myself I came to the beginning of an intensity of relationship with Christ that no one told me was possible. Now I spend my life telling anyone who will listen…

    CS Lewis wrote… “if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”‘

  329. Either way, after yesterday’s elections, Ayn Rand’s star will be rising among the “outs”. Purity of Ideology and all that.

  330. [grumble grumble]

    My husband’s favorite rock band is Rush and their lyricist’s favorite writer is Ayn Rand. or at least she highly influenced him.
    I’ve always thought I should read her stuff but I don’t have time.
    You all are not making it any easier to try to avoid her.

    (never could stand that Rush and Piper are both influenced by Rand. it’s all so very confusing.)

  331. “My husband’s favorite rock band is Rush and their lyricist’s favorite writer is Ayn Rand. or at least she highly influenced him.”

    As a huge fan of Rush (saw them in concert last week actually) I can attest it was Rand’s influence on the band that had me read Atlas Shrugged. However, the songs 2112 and “Anthem” that were so influenced by Rand were written in the mid 70s when they were young and gobbling up lots of different philosophical ideas. Specifically it was the book “Anthem” that influenced them, not Atlas Shrugged, and it was more the theme of resistance against a totalitarian regime that ignited their young passionate hearts (2112 was the song dedicated to Rand and it has nothing to do with economics- it’s about a future a government banning music and a rebel standings against them).

    I think it’s safe to say that Neil Peart, the lyricist, has moved well beyond Rand in terms of his thinking. I’d hazard a guess that he would see his earlier fascination with her as a youthful indiscretion :) That being said, he certainly is no fan of organized religion, but this comes more with his influence by Richard Dawkins than by Rand.

    Interestingly enough, their concept album “Clockwork Angels” they released this year could easily be seen as a metaphor for spiritual abuse. The song BU2B (if you are interested, Google the lyrics) is a fairly scathing view of Christianity that might resonate with many readers here (I don’t think it’s an accurate view of Biblical Christianity, but it’s certainly accurate of how some churches behave).

    An excerpt from BU2B:

    All is for the best
    Believe in what we’re told
    Blind man in the market
    Buying what we’re sold
    Believe in what we’re told
    Until our final breath
    While our loving Watchmaker
    Loves us all to death

  332. @ Kolya, Nick, and Jeff:

    I’m not against CCM (though I personally don’t like it much and never listen to it). However, in my experience, every time a congregation has really embraced it as their main worship style – taken out the pews, organ, hymns, etc. – it did more harm than good. The intellectual and discernment level of the congregation plummets. And when you try to reintroduce the older music, the parishioners set up a deafening chorus of “IT’S BOOOOOORING” to shut you up. They become too lazy to (re)learn the traditional stuff. (And no, I’ve never heard any other reasoning than the standard “lazy and afraid” argument from anti-traditionalists.)

    My problems with CCM mostly boil down to 1) dumbing down/forgetting the past; 2) becoming (generally) more of a “show” or “concert” than traditional music; 3) pursuant to 2, removing the congregation from meaningful worship participation; 4) cutting off/ignoring older generations of Christians entirely; and 5) corporate interests in near total control of the industry. Michael Spencer wrote an excellent article summing it all up much better than I can.

    I do recognize, of course, that traditional music can be abused just as much. And no, I don’t believe music has to divide, though in my experience, it’s never been the traditionalists who were divisive. But if you get an anti-traditionalist – which is not the same thing as a CCM supporter/listener/fan – in your church, watch out. It will only be a few short years before the spiritual carnage starts.

    (I’ve never met the boogeyman of anti-traditionalists – the aging music director who bans CCM with an iron fist and refuses to play anything but hymns over the objections of the congregation. I’m convinced this person is mostly a strawman and does not exist in real life, at least not in a meaningful way. Maybe they did in the 70s and 80s, but not now.)

    Nick, per your comment – I do agree that every generation should write its own music. However, that doesn’t mean that they get to throw out the music of all other generations that preceded them. I know this isn’t what you meant, but many CCM folks seem to have a lot of trouble recognizing that the church is multi-generational, and acknowledging that their music would not exist without the “boring dead guys” they frequently bash…

    (Per my definition above: an anti-traditionalist is the person who insists that all music before CCM isn’t “relevant” and that the “old fuddy-duddies” need to stop being “afraid” and just “go with the new thing the Spirit is doing.” They are the person who will tear the 150-year-old organ out of your sanctuary and not bat an eye, and be happy when everyone over age 45 leaves your church because they’re getting rid of “dead wood.” This is not the same as someone who enjoys listening to CCM and wants to incorporate it into a larger music program. The CCM-listener can cope with having traditional music also; the anti-traditionalist cannot.)

  333. FWIW, one of the early projects of the Passsion folks (Tomlin, Knockles, Redman, etc.) was a recording of hymns, albeit done with more contemporary arrangements/instruments.

    I know if you hire me as a worship leader you are going to get my skill set, which is rooted in contemporary pop music. But I don’t do what I do to be relevant- I do it because it’s what I know and what I’m good at. But as I said, within my skillset I try to reach all preferences as much as I can, to the point of sometimes even doing hymns I don’t care for musically.

  334. I’ve stayed out of the CCM thing so far, but here goes…

    I played the “worship” variety of this genre (generally the very simple, 3-chord songs) for years, but… as a percussionist. it was much more fun to be up there playing than down in the congregation having to sing it. ;)

    I agree with Hester (and Michael Spencer) on what the CCM industry is like here in the US, and feel that for the most part, mediocrity and conformity are encouraged. That’s *not* to say that all music that fits into the CCM genre is bad, though it does seem to me that once a congregation goes all-“contemporary worship,” people *do* start getting closed off to other kinds of music – even hip, contemporary arrangements of older material that they might just like.

    I was in my late teens at the time that CCM was beginning, and there’s a big difference between what it was then (still a lot of Jesus People-type material + strong influences from Catholic folk Mass music – which really *is* CCM) and what it became. Liked a lot of the former (though definitely not all), can’t stand most of the latter.

    I know someone who left a church because the leaders fired the music director – an extremely creative man who was coming up with new material and new arrangements that many people really enjoyed. They just booted him, like that, w/o severance or *anything.* (He and his wife have several kids + mortgage payments and all of that.)

    Reason for firing the music director: the church “changed direction” and wanted CCM/rock/etc. to attract people. (Kinda like MH and Acts 29 – in fact, a *lot* like.)

    There was no quarter given by the people in charge at that church, and afaik, they really did *not* want to hear about redressing any wrongs they did by firing the music director with no notice.

    I do think this place is going YRR…

    anyway – long, rambling comment! (Not enough sleep last night – stayed up very late with the TV on.)

  335. Also… I do remember when having an acoustic guitar in church was not only innovative (even revolutionary), but outrightly shocking to many.

    It really *wasn’t* all that long ago, folks, though I guess for people younger than myself, it probably seems like solo acoustic guitar in church is antediluvian. ;) (And I’m not that old, either! :))

  336. numo – there was a time when having a pipe organ in a church building was considered shocking!

    Hester – our experiences have differed slightly, then, in that I’ve seen both pro- and anti- traditional factions causing division. That is, digging in and refusing to love, honour or respect the motives of others (which side could be said to have “caused” a division often depends on which side of the argument one sits). Also, the CCM-hating musical Luddite may well be a strawman left over from the 1980’s; on reflection, I’m inclined to agree with you on that since 1989 is about the last time I met one. But the 1980’s is also the last time I met a person who despised anything traditional. I think that, in reality, most churchgoers now understand the value of different types of music. And a final one – I was part of a church that replaced the pews with seats, and it helped the church a great deal; I know of other examples where that’s happened too.

    I doubt whether either your or my experience is definitive. The real question in each case (and this is likely to be something we agree on) is why the changes were made or resisted, as the case may be. A church that modernises its music in the belief that it will attract new people is treading dangerous ground. If people come along for the music, that’s not a good sign regarding whether they’ve taken up their cross.

    Rather like those prominent calvinistas whose theology of the atonement moves them to brazen pride, not worship, thereby proving that they don’t understand the atonement at all… People whose taste in music or liturgy moves them to judgement or contentiousness cannot, by definition, be worshippers.

  337. @ Jeff:

    “I know if you hire me as a worship leader you are going to get my skill set, which is rooted in contemporary pop music. But I don’t do what I do to be relevant- I do it because it’s what I know and what I’m good at.”

    Great! Then you and I agree, though I am the exact opposite (I stink at CCM). So I’m the organist instead. : ) Basically, I’m all for people using their skills/gifts, as long as marginalizing and devaluing others’ skills/gifts is not an inherent part of them using theirs.

  338. RE: dee on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 08:11 AM,

    You know dee it’s funny, and I’m sure Graham is a fine man in many other respects, but somehow he doesn’t seem to think the rules and ethics apply to him in this case. It’s ironic too because the very same Pauline texts which he probably holds in highest esteem as the basis of the Christian religion, warn to not even give the appearance of evil to the outside world.

  339. Here’s what I don’t get. There is plenty of good “contemporary” Christian music (and I’m including back through the 70s in that; it’s contemporary relative to the 1800s and earlier) which I would say has as much depth as the best of the old stuff. And from what I can tell, the songs I have enjoyed have nothing to do with the stuff that I’ve seen played in churches as “CCM”, which is generally content-free, repetitive and tonally flat–easily, to my youthful ear, more boring and worthless than the worst of the older stuff (and also almost always set just a bit too high for me to comfortably sing.) Ugh.

  340. @ Nick & Numo:

    “But the 1980′s is also the last time I met a person who despised anything traditional.”

    I meet those people all the time. Or at least the “lite” kind – the folks who claim they like hymns, too, but who haven’t actually been seen singing one in several years. Maybe it’s an American thing? Where I’m at, most of my Bible church-type friends only sing hymns at their grandmothers’ funerals; and it has become abundantly clear to me (at the jaded old age of 22…) that, as an organist and trained singer, the conservative evangelical church does not want me or my gifts…and it will take constant vigilance keep this same musical conformity from taking over the Lutheran church too. (But then these same conservative evangelicals criticize me for playing at “apostate” churches like the Episcopal church and say I should only play at conservative churches…even though said conservative churches have no organs…and I am an organist.)

    I honestly do wish my experience was different…and that I didn’t sound so cynical. : ( I’m glad yours has been better.

  341. RE: numo on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 02:52 PM,

    “…I played the “worship” variety of this genre (generally the very simple, 3-chord songs) for years, but… as a percussionist. it was much more fun to be up there playing than down in the congregation having to sing it…”

    In my pre-heresy days of attending an ELCA Lutheran Church, I noticed that a lot of that “new and improved” stuff is just not singable.

  342. @ Nick:

    “The real question in each case (and this is likely to be something we agree on) is why the changes were made or resisted, as the case may be. A church that modernises its music in the belief that it will attract new people is treading dangerous ground. If people come along for the music, that’s not a good sign regarding whether they’ve taken up their cross.”

    Yes, you’re right – we do agree. : ) IFBs who are afraid of backbeats because they think they automatically = sex and drugs, are just as bad as churches who completely redesign their sanctuary for no other reason but to attract young people. (I was actually in a church once that had the word “RELEVANT” on the wall of the sanctuary.)

  343. “Great! Then you and I agree, though I am the exact opposite (I stink at CCM). So I’m the organist instead. : ) ”

    No Hammond organ? :D Because I always want a good B3 in my worship band :D

    The one pragmatic advantage to guitar driven music is its a lot easier for a startup church to just have some guy with an acoustic guitar and expand as the church does. You kind of have to have a bigger church in place to get a real organ going. Of course, you could use a keyboard like I have (Hammond XK-1) but I’m not sure how well that works for the style you play.

    I do remember at my old church there was a phenomenal piano player who could play more traditional music but very rarely got a chance to use the gift he had. That made me sad, though he never seemed to mind.

  344. “almost always set just a bit too high for me to comfortably sing.” This is one of the issues I struggled with as a worship leader. That is, everyone ends up signing the melody, which means someone is always straining to hit the notes (because we all have different ranges). When I have access to an alto, I almost always have her “lead” at least one song per service (if not more) just so the altos in the congregation aren’t always screeching through every song.

    I remember I once had a guy come up and complain that “that song” (one led by an alto) was too high for him. I told him that now he knows what altos feel like on every other song we sing.

    I’m not sure how to solve this problem- back in the day with hymns people would read and sing parts, but even if you do the hymns now the general education of how to read and sing parts isn’t there. People will just screech along with the melody.

    I tend to do arrangements with lots of harmony in hopes that some of the altos can pick out a harmony part, but I realize that’s whishful thinking. I just don’t know what else to do.

    A disturbing trend I’ve noticed recently is melodies with octave jumps in them (that is, on the second verse you sing the melody from the first verse, but just up an octave). It obviously sounds cool because it builds intensity, but most people just don’t have the range to do this. I reluctantly did a few of these songs because they were in high demand, but I always felt a little uncomfortable when we hit those high parts knowing I was leaving most of the congregation behind. I would usually try to have some of the accompanying vocalists stay down in the original octave to give a cue for those who didn’t make the jump with me.

    Finally, one thing I know is that some people simply struggle with syncopation if it’s not a style they are used to. While any person I know who listens to pop music can pick up “Holy Is The Lord Almighty” by Chris Tomlin after hearing the song once, I remember playing it at a retreat of a hymn only church I attended briefly and they were totally lost. After that on that retreat I defaulted to songs like “In Christ Alone” that seem to bridge the gap and work great for everyone.

  345. Muff

    The SBC has little trouble with the “appearance of evil” clause. They have worked that one out when it comes to certain sins.

  346. Re: Music, esp: I do remember when having an acoustic guitar in church was not only innovative (even revolutionary), but outrightly shocking to many.
    The semi-Lutheran/semi-Charismatic/greatly experimental church my wife and I started out in had only simple choruses, and no instruments. Later we added hymnals, instuments as folks felt led, and a finally a full-time guitar. The guitar-player started putting scriptures to music, which we sang together. Many songs were initiated by whoever had one on their heart, resulting in many key-corrections partway through, when we couldn’t reach the notes!
    Then, after we moved, we were part of a house-church/startup where the pastor was a professional musician (an old friend of Larry Norman). Full CCM worship team, Vineyard/CC songs, and no more than 50 people in the church! The music and singing were gorgeous!
    The two churches became close, and the first church developed a regular “team”. As for worship/praise/thanksgiving and enjoying the Lord’s and each other’s presence, I think it was just as blessed in the early, cacophonous days!

  347. @ HUG, re Rand, Marx, etc.

    I think you’re exactly right about Marx. Look just at his critiques of mid-19th century European mercantilist industrial capitalism, and he’s got some really excellent points. I haven’t read Rand, but I’m sure she had some accurate critiques of Leninism and Stalinism (which, as an aside, I’d say is different to Marxism, but that’s by the by). The problem emerges when specific critques of specific situations are generalised and universalised. When one rigid ideology – whatever it may be – is held up as the absolute all time truth for all places, peoples, and situations.

  348. @ Jeff:

    “A disturbing trend I’ve noticed recently is melodies with octave jumps in them (that is, on the second verse you sing the melody from the first verse, but just up an octave). It obviously sounds cool because it builds intensity, but most people just don’t have the range to do this.”

    (shivers up spine) As an alto myself, that is a disturbing trend! ; )

    “Finally, one thing I know is that some people simply struggle with syncopation if it’s not a style they are used to.”

    That is often true. But there are some of the more contemporary songs that have such weird note values/syncopation that even trained musicians have trouble following them (I can’t and I’ve submitted to multiple ear training exams). Part of the problem is they’re basically transcriptions of semi-improvised solos by the artist, and sometimes the cadences are odd and unpredictable too, which makes it rough on the congregation. This also applies to some of the 20th-century hymns in hymnals, too.

  349. “Struggle with syncopation”: hmm. for me, it’s a struggle to *not* syncopate, but then, my musical background is different to that of many white evangelicals.

    Nick – a pipe organ in church goes way back in many parts of Europe… think of the Bach family. Lutherans aren’t exactly scandalized by pipe organ – rather, by its absence!

  350. This is an interesting debate.

    Re Neil Peart and Rand, I would agree that he left that phase behind him some years ago. On the other hand I was saddened – not to say aghast! – that he should apparently be so influenced by Dawkins, who to me is all sound and no fury. For example, Peart cites Dawkins dictum that “the number of people choosing their faith is vanishingly small” (if I recall correctly – someone correct me if I’m wrong). All I can say to that is that today more than ever we live in a marketplace of choice, at least in the West – you can choose any religion or none, certainly in the UK (the good professor’s home). Having said that, I appreciate some of Peart’s points in his lyrics. He’s a better songwriter than Dawkins is a philosopher ;-)

    I think the move away from strict harmony parts in older hymns to one or two chords per bar and a looser melody has made it easier for church musicians, especially guitarists. On the other hand the elements some of you have mentioned – octave leaps and syncopation – to my mind do make it harder for the congregation to follow. I’m not sure how music is taught in schools nowadays, but when I was growing up unless you joined a school club or had private lessons you learnt virtually nothing about the technical side of music, in my experience. When I first picked up a guitar seriously I had to learn everything from scratch, and in a more improvised manner than probably, say, a piano teacher would have taught. But hey…. it’s been fun learning!

    Jeff S, if I had a Hammond B3 or even a module of the same I would love to play in your church… ;-) However I think the Hammond is one keyboard that can cross the boundaries, at least when played well – from jazz to rock to classical. In the meantime I’m trying to get this freeware VST working on my laptop…. how come the more technological choice we have, the harder it seems to get? LOL

    Numo, I know what you mean… when I’m playing with band/friends I can easily flip into syncopated mode. Doesn’t work well with traditional hymns though! LOL

  351. Kolya, well I actually have an organ, but right now I’m not actually leading worship- if you’re ever around we can still jam!

    This church I’ve found has about 150 members and it seems almost every member is musically talented. They actually have 4 worship teams almost fully filled out on every instrument (drums is the only position where they have to have the same guy play multiple weeks). I’ll fill in on bass, but for the most part they don’t need me! Sometimes God gives us a season to step back and rest, and maybe even learn from others :). My focus right now is on writing and recording my original stuff, a lot of which now carries themes of healing for spiritual abuse.

  352. Loving the continuance of this discussion. We’ve gone from Ayn Rand to christian music (via John Piper) and then combined the two !!!

    Thanks Caleb W for your point on historical materialism, and Kolya and Gavin White for the references which I’ll chase up in my holidays.

  353. @Nick Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 06:04 AM
    Your friend’s quote: “I’ll stick with Mark Driscoll. He’s saved 10,000 people in Seattle alone”

    Whoa. I’m sure you could come up with some decent rhyming slang on this? Your previous one was good – park fiscal?

  354. @Dee Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 08:11 AM on Franklin Graham’s exhorbitant salary.

    I was very slow to realise that this is often ‘par for the course’ in the ‘development industry’. Exposure in the media has made for some transparency but it’s still a shady area to me.

  355. @ Nick & Haitch:

    “He’s saved 10,000 people in Seattle alone”

    Mark Driscoll = Holy Spirit = member of the Trinity = GOD. ‘Nuff said.

  356. “He’s saved 10,000 people in Seattle alone”

    2,000 of which have been thrown under the bus
    2,000 stormed the cabin, were shot, then thrown under the bus
    2,000 have jumped off the train because they realized that it is speeding toward a gorge where the bridge is out.
    2,000 are looking frantically for parachutes so that they can jump.
    2,000 are white knuckling the arm rests of their seats in the plane, praying for direction or safety or wrestling with God as to why He led them to this sinking titanic.

  357. Back to the title of this post — Mark Driscoll: He Ain’t No Captain Sullenberg

    In Mark Driscoll’s Own Mind, he IS.

  358. Haitch, Haha, I do love how Ayn Rand, Karl Marx, John Piper, and CCM can populate the same discussion at TWW! Someone else made the point about Marx being a systems analyst – another great reason to read him.

  359. Haha, I do love how Ayn Rand, Karl Marx, John Piper, and CCM can populate the same discussion at TWW! — Caleb of Canada

    Ever sit in on a panel at an SF con? No matter what the announced subject, it usually random-associates all over the place.

  360. Mara & Hester – LOL (but a sad LOL at the same time – definitely not joyful or exhuberant)

    Yes, and a shout-out to HUG on systems analysis, ta.

    I have my uncle’s copy of “Das Kapital” which I must burrow into. I found scrawled in the front by him “this is an evil book written by an evil man”. haaaaaa ! It kind of doesn’t make sense though, I thought he would have embraced it being a hippy flower intellectual child of the 60’s etc.

  361. So for anyone still reading comments on this post, I brought this analogy up to the music pastor of our church. In the process I also mentioned “drink your juice box” and Driscoll’s public announcement of wanting to physically assault one of his elders. His response was surprise coupled with an admission that he doesn’t know much about Driscoll, but that was certainly not the attitude of leadership at the church.

    Using the aforementioned example of elders as flight attendants rather than pilots, I expressed that that was the kind of leadership and community I wanted in a church. He thought the analogy was great and really did not like Driscoll’s. I told him if I ever ended up with my drink in my lap, the leaders had better be telling me what was going on :)

    So anyway, I just wanted to bring this up because I felt like this post sparked a very real conversation at my local level where it really matters, and that’s a good thing.

  362. Jeff S

    I’m still reading your comments, and I’m glad this online discussion sparked a conversation with the music pastor at your church.  Blessings!

  363. Jeff S –

    Kudos for interacting with your pastor! I need a like button for your last comment.

  364. Thankfully, I am not familiar with this Driscoll character, and I haven’t read all the comments… but one thing jumped out at me.

    When is it EVER appropriate for ANYBODY to refer to their sex life in public?? Or, worse yet, their wife’s monthly cycle? That stuff is PRIVATE!

    My own pastor came as close as anybody should come last Sunday, when he said the Lord had told him he was going to be married, and then that he was going to have a bunch of kids, and he said, “I did my part, and we won’t talk about that, and now we have . . . ” and he named the children.

    And anything more than that would have been waaaaaaay too much information!

  365. StillWiggling, I agree, but even that much was unnecessary imo. We all know how children are conceived.

  366. Well… he did get a big laugh… and him saying such a thing is a VERY rare occurrence.

  367. Oh Eagle – you crack me up! Was it MD who basically said masturbation was a homosexual act because it was a person of one sex touching the genitalia of the same sex…or did I have some nightmare?

  368. @Still Wiggling – sorry to put a negative light on the subject – but I would guess that the pastor’s kids would be cringing inside also. I don’t think there should be any mention of them from ‘up front’ ie from the pulpit at all – they intensely dislike being using as props or tools in the sermon or being highlighted publicly in front of a large amount of people. Just my opinion.

  369. Beakerj – first of all, you don’t meet many folk these days who actually remember Beaker off the Muppets!

    Secondly, I read the link you posted. Three things:
    1) Interestingly, they put the word “pastor” in quotes. I believe they’re right.
    2) To be fair to Park Fiscall, a man masturbating over his own reflection would be a bit on the odd side. He might be said to have a rather unusually well-marked form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    Er… just a minute…

    No, surely not. Forget I mentioned it.

    3) On the other hand; a man masturbating while engaged in intimacy with his wife… what the blinking flip? A sexual act that doesn’t involve a woman – in the company of a woman?!?!?!? I suppose that, technically, that’s probably not homosexual. But it’s as creepy as heck.

  370. Reading posts like this make me wonder. I currently go to an A29 church, and our leadership doesn’t act like this (at least that I have seen, and I am very active in the church). Our pastor is a genuinely humble and considerate guy; additionally, when I spoke with him concerning my Driscoll misgivings, he agreed with me. He even said that he would not have joined A29 if he had to be a mini-Driscoll. Maybe my Church is the exception in the A29 world, but I’d like to think that other A29 churches are like mine

  371. Individual leaders don’t always (though unfortunately sometimes do) reflect the leadership of a church, group or movement as a whole. The medieval church produced both Francis of Assisi and Torquemada. I think it is when cultish behaviour becomes the norm that leaders tend to be stamped from one identical mould. Unfortunately some leaders do also attract followers who want to identify with the leadership model shown when they themselves become leaders.

  372. As HUG pointed out a few days ago:

    Frank Herbert (author of Dune) had a corollary on Lord Acton:

    “It’s not that power tends to corrupt so much as power attracts the already-corrupt and the easily-corrupted.”

    There’s something about the gift of leadership that makes those who possess it very vulnerable. [geek alert] The Greek word usually translated “leader” in Romans 12 is “pro-istemi”, which literally means “one who stands out” or “one who goes first”. If I’m not mistaken, this is an important gift, and I know of congregations that are atrophying because they have no-one who is willing or able to set out and achieve something, accepting and dealing with all the criticism and flak that entails.

    But like every good and perfect gift etc (you know the verse), it can be abused and carries risks. The one who isn’t afraid to stand out, generally isn’t afraid of what people might think. If they’re not humble and spiritually mature when they take a place of leadership, then they’re apt to deal with criticism “at source” – i.e., by dealing with their critics. At times like that, the young leader desperately needs (though may not want) strong support from mentors they can’t fire. Otherwise a kind of “runaway greenhouse effect” takes hold, with honest critics driven ever further away and fawning, unreal admirers drawn ever closer.

  373. Dear Dee
    Apologies for not replying sooner but there was a family bereavement and I’m only just back from Ireland.

    I found this brief passage on the Puritan view here

    Just as in Europe, physical punishment was common in colonial America. Americans used stocks, pillories, branding, flogging, and maiming—such as cutting off an ear or slitting nostrils—to punish offenders. The death penalty was used frequently. In 1636 the Massachusetts Bay Colony listed thirteen crimes that warranted execution, including murder, practicing witchcraft, and worshipping idols. In early New York State, 20% of offenses, including pickpocketing, horse stealing, and robbery, were capital crimes (warranting the death penalty).

    Jails were used to hold prisoners awaiting trial or sentencing or as debtors’ prisons, but were not the punishment itself. The Puritans of Massachusetts believed that humans were naturally depraved, which made it easier for some of the colonies and the first states to enforce harsh punishments. In addition, since Puritans believed that humans had no control over their fate (predestination), many early Americans felt there was no need for rehabilitation.

    Pennsylvania

    The Quakers, led by William Penn, made colonial Pennsylvania an exception to the harsh practices often found in the other colonies. The early criminal code of colonial Pennsylvania abolished executions for all crimes except homicide, replaced physical punishments with imprisonment and hard labor, and did not charge the prisoners for their food and housing.

    Prevention History of Corrections—Punishment or Rehabilitation? – Colonial And Earlypost-revolutionary Periods

    Regards
    Gavin

  374. The meaning of histemi in Romans 12:8 is

    to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set
    to bid to stand by, [set up]
    in the presence of others, in the midst, before judges, before members of the Sanhedrin;
    to place
    to make firm, fix establish
    to cause a person or a thing to keep his or its place
    to stand, be kept intact (of family, a kingdom), to escape in safety
    to establish a thing, cause it to stand 1b
    to uphold or sustain the authority or force of anything
    to set or place in a balance
    to weigh: money to one (because in very early times before the introduction of coinage, the metals used to be weighed)
    to stand
    to stand by or near
    to stop, stand still, to stand immovable, stand firm 2a
    of the foundation of a building
    to stand
    continue safe and sound, stand unharmed, to stand ready or prepared
    to be of a steadfast mind
    of quality, one who does not hesitate, does not waiver

    Meditate on the whole chapter
    Living Sacrifice

    12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

    Humble Service in the Body of Christ

    3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

    Love in Action

    9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

    14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

    17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

    “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
    In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]
    21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    Footnotes:
    Romans 12:6 Or the
    Romans 12:8 Or to provide for others
    Romans 12:16 Or willing to do menial work
    Romans 12:19 Deut. 32:35
    Romans 12:20 Prov. 25:21,22

    Regards
    Gavin