2012 in Review+TGC’s Collin Hansen Disses Southern Baptists

New Year's Day now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.  Mark Twain

800px-Bratislava_New_Year_Fireworks
New Years Fireworks in Bratslavia -Ondrejk Wikicommons

It seems to be an unwritten rule that all blogs review their top stories for 2012.  In preparation for doing the same, I decided to check out the many blogs that I follow to see if there were any parallels. I found something that so disturbed me that I decided to review that first before the rest of our stories.

Collin Hansen-Firing the First Salvo at Non-Reformed Baptists

This was one of our major stories of 2012. Link. It was this post that spurred us on to create E Church. TWW wrote a post in March of this year discussing the increasing numbers of people who declare themselves “nones” when it comes to religious affiliation.  This number has doubled in the last 20 years. However, we noted that 40% of self-identified "nones" still held onto their faith. They just did not want to be part of the church culture.In this post, TWW noted that this dramatic increase in the "nones" occurred with the rise of hyper-authoritarian leadership, complementarianism, and the Calvinistas. 

Imagine my surprise (or should I say dismay) when I saw the following assessment from Collin Hansen, the managing editor of The Gospel Coalition's website and presumably the man in the know for TGCs viewpoints on life. In his post on the top ten theological stories of 2012 link, he had this to say.

Seeking explanations of trends, we tend to prefer simple narratives that confirm our biases. So as surveys reveal the sharp rise of the "nones," those who claim no religious affiliation, and national elections favor candidates touting liberal credentials on social issues, culture watchers already wary of the Religious Right read the eulogy for Christianity in America. Even evangelicals worry over our lost influence. Has the country left us behind? Or, as Ross Douthat has written, has Christianity rotted from within?

Maybe both. The truth, I suspect, is more complicated. Theologically liberal mainline Protestantism has hemorrhaged members to the "nones" category. So has cultural Catholicism and even nominal evangelicalism, especially the Baptist variety in the South. But the question remains: can smaller but thriving Protestant reform movements, from charismatic to Calvinist, stave off the decline and reinvigorate the church with passion to save the nones?

Let me say this in another way. He blames the mainline churches, the "cultural" Catholics and "nominal evangelicals" especially of the Baptist variety in the South. His solution: the Calvinistas!

There is so much wrong with this statement that I can barely contain myself. Let me put it simply. What has changed in the last twenty years? The mainlines have not changed. The Catholics have not changed. The small Baptists churches in the farming communities of the South have not changed. The only thing that has changed is the rise of preening authoritarians, hard ball discipline, along with an unyielding  approach to complementarianism, and a militant Calvinism complete with near royalty status of Calvinista leaders such as John Piper and Al Mohler. (autographing Bibles, indeed!)

In the meantime, these organizations have not dealt in any practical way with the strange views on domestic abuse and pedophilia within the church. Oh, there have been "me too" statements about these issues. But, there has been a deafening silence when victim after victim have come forward in groups like Sovereign Grace Ministries. In the meantime, this "ministry" has been welcomed, with open arms, into the sphere of SBTS and Al Mohler. 

As one who is on the outside of the SBC and the Reformed movements, I have only one thing to say. Collin Hansen, you are missing the boat. It is time to look within your own "movement." There is plenty there that has contributed to the rise of the "nones." Non-Reformed Baptists, especially in the South-look out. You are the new bogey man of the Calvinistas, causing people to bolt from the faith.


Mark Driscoll-most number of posts

I was a bit surprised to discover that Mark Driscoll was the subject of the most number of posts on TWW. From the post in which Bent Myer broke his silence here along with his friend Paul Petry here to Driscoll's arrogant treatment of the British church here, the year started off with a bang. Add to it the insiders look at the church discipline process at Mars Hill here and his ridiculous book on sex.  TWW called for Mark Driscoll to step down from Acts 29 here. Imagine our surprise when he did just that just a short time later. However, never fear. Driscoll cannot keep his mouth shut and called Queen Esther a slut here

Unless Driscoll gets some help, we predict that 2013 will bring us more of the same. However, we do think our readers should realize that John Piper looooooooves Mark Driscoll's theology, so all is well, right?

John Piper-issues weird statements on his way out as pastor.

Piper has let the world know that he has special insight into the mind of God by letting us know the specific reasons that God causes tornados and bridge collapses here. He told us that Christianity has a masculine feel here and that muscular women give him the willies here. Although women cannot read the Bible out loud from the pulpit in his church, they should not fear. He says women do not have to ask their husbands' permission to go to the bathroom here, prompting many churches to start selling Charmin as a fundraiser.

Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit and move to Louisville.-Predicted top story for 2013

Where to begin…Well, as long as CJ Mahaney and SGM are around, TWW will never want for stories. Given the revelations of this past year, that is a very, very sad statement. The Ambassadors of Reconciliation pooped out and issued a silly missive that a few things need to change at SGM but all is well.This report will serve as a reminder that AOR is beholden to the ones who hire them and that happens to be the pastors/elders. Average church goer- caveat emptor here.

CJ and gang took off for greener pastures in Louisville, under the protective wings of SBTS and Al Mohler. We predict that this move will cause Mohler no end of trouble. We wonder if Mohler will ever live down his dismissal of the abuse allegations in SGM here.

As an aside, a couple of years ago, here, Deb did some research and found that CJ Mahaney and SGM were giving a significant sum of money to SBTS. At that time, we predicted that SGM would move to Louisville, put the Pastors College under SBTS and would merge SGM into the SBC. People thought we were nuts. Warning: never, ever doubt your glamorous blog queens.

Brent Detweiler released years of saved documents that cast a gloomy light on the machinations of the leadership of SGM. A number of SGM churches have left the fold, including the mother ship, Covenant Life Church, showing a permanent split between Joshua Harris and CJ Mahaney. Who would have predicted this?

However, there is a looming firestorm. In October, SGM was sideswiped by a class action lawsuit here. Several families have accused the ministry of mishandling issues of abuse. Since that time, TWW and Julie Anne Smith have been contacted by families involved in this lawsuit. We plan to begin posting stories of the abused, some of which have not yet been heard. If you think the already posted stories are difficult to read, you will not believe what is coming down the road.

TWW has a prime directive and that is to emphasize the pain and suffering of victims of abuse. We will not apologize for taking up the cause of those who have been deeply wounded.

In the meantime, The Gospel Coalition, Al Mohler and SBTS, and a host of other CJ Mahaney fan clubs continue to ignore the lawsuit. Day 66!

We plan to offer the first story on Wednesday.

Pedophilia

TWW covered a number of stories surrounding this horrible crime. Dee and a friend, whose son had encountered a pedophile, actively intervened in getting a pedophile to move out of the neighborhood in which he abused children. He had returned to that neighborhood after a prison sentence here

Tom White of the Voice of the Martyrs, committed suicide after being accused of molesting a young girl here. What surprised us was the vehemence of his defenders who continue to claim he could not have done it. Some Christians seem to think that some Christians, especially leaders, are immune from sin. 

The Household of Faith churches, headed by Joshua Harris's  (CLC pastor) dad were also involved in a terrible pedophile scandal which has taken on an international interest since the pastor, and most of his family, fled the country here.

Doug Wilson/Jared Wilson

We featured a story in which Doug Wilson presided over a marriage of a convicted pedophile here. However the biggest splash occurred when Dee, showing The Gospel Coalition's devotion to all things Doug Wilson, posted a link to a post by Jared Wilson here that ignited a firestorm on the internet. Here is that comment.

When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. [emphasis mine] This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.

Doug Wilson seems to have Mark Driscoll's penchant for causing controversy and we expect to hear more from him in the coming year.

Homosexuality

Dee was able to meet with Justin Lee of the Gay Christian Network and then write a series looking at the issues surrounding gay Christians. I will forever be grateful to Justin who helped me to see the face of the people instead of the debate here. Our own Brad Sargeant also weighed in with his unique and transparent story here. Thank you, Brad. This series generated an incredible number of comments and hits.

Creationism

The largest number of comments for any one post was achieved by our guest post, Old JohnJ, on the issue of fraud and young earth creationism here.  Congratulations, John!

Rachel Held Evans and Complementarianism

The second largest number of comments was in response to a post dealing with Rachel Held Evans book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood link and link. All of our posts dealing with the issue of gender roles generated large numbers of comments. It is also notable that Mary Kassian states that complementarianism has nothing to do with homemaking, leaving all of us to wonder exactly what it does involve, beyond no women pastors/elders and the husbands always get the tie breaking vote.This confusion will continue to dominate 2013.

Funniest Blog Post

TWW offers "covering" for women at a nominal cost here.

E Church and Wade Burleson

We want to thank Wade Burleson for allowing us to respond to those who need a grace filled "almost church." We have never met a more loving pastor. Associated Baptist Press did a story on our community here

The Story of the Year-Julie Anne Smith Prevails After Being Sued by Her Pastor.

Whoo hoo! Once again, free speech is upheld by the courts. Perhaps pastors and churches should take note. When pastors jump up and down, screaming "look at me," they should not be surprised when the public does look and does not like what they see. Blogging is changing the face of today's churches and pastors and leaders must adjust, instead of trying to get people to shut up.

Stories to watch in 2013

  • Bob Grenier, a pastor in Calvary Chapel is suing his stepson who was reportedly repeatedly abused by Grenier. We predict that Grenier will lose and will be forced to pay a large settlement link. Are the leaders at Calvary Chapel going to step in?
  • James MacDonald will attempt to deal with the Elephant's Debt while seeking solace in his $1.9 million mansion.
  • 9 Marks, Mark Dever and Al Mohler will continue to find all sorts of "proof" that people must never, ever leave their churches and will investigate if churches may legally chain people to the pews in order to force them to listen to a reading of Calvin's Institutes.
  • Ed Young Jr. will get permission to sleep with his wife on a huge bed in the middle of a runway at DFW.
  • Mary Kassian will join forces with Dr Dorothy Patterson, head of homemaking at SWBTS, link to prove that God does not mean for woman to do housework. Instead, they will co-author a book on how to hire Gospel maids. They may see if James MacDonald will fund the effort.
  • Bethlehem Baptist Church will finally install women's bathrooms.

Finally to all our readers, we are so grateful that you would spend your precious time with us. Yesterday, while singing hymns in church, I prayed for you by your nom de plumes. Bill asked me why I had tears in my eyes. I told him that I really care about you guys! You are never, ever taken for granted.

Wishing you peace in 2013.

Lydia's Corner: Numbers 16:41-18:32 Mark 16:1-20 Psalm 55:1-23 Proverbs 11:7

 

 

 

Comments

2012 in Review+TGC’s Collin Hansen Disses Southern Baptists — 349 Comments

  1. Another interesting story you may have missed:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/12/the-purity-cultures-mangled-relationship-advice.html

    Tim Challies has apparently implied publicly that it doesn’t matter if a young man is no longer attracted to his Christian girlfriend. To those who swore up and down that Vision Forum/patriocentric/courtship ideas are NOT making headway in evangelicalism, may I suggest the crow under glass?

    “Theologically liberal mainline Protestantism has hemorrhaged members to the ‘nones’ category. So has cultural Catholicism and even nominal evangelicalism, especially the Baptist variety in the South.”

    How does he know that most of the nones came from mainline and Catholic churches? Did the surveys ask them where they came from? It’s my understanding that Christianity in America has basically been a zero-sum game for years and it’s just a matter of who is the most effective sheep thief. (Interestingly enough, the Catholic churches I sing in are always packed to the gills and it doesn’t really matter what service it is.)

  2. “(Interestingly enough, the Catholic churches I sing in are always packed to the gills and it doesn’t really matter what service it is.)”

    One of the most shocking things to me when I was working with seeker mega’s were all the Catholics who attended. Most were playing both sides. Many still attended mass, too. At one mega we were able to get some basic stats that out of about 20,000 attendees over 8,000 claimed being Catholic or raised Catholic. the rest were some form of Baptist/Methodist. :o)

    We found few people who had been “unchurched” as children which we worked very hard to keep under wraps since that was our target audience. (wink)

  3. Dee, If you come out early and blame others for the none’s then you don’t need to take a look at yourself. But I do wonder who many of the nones are casualties from churches the YRR infiltrated.

    I met a 30something who wanted to check out the SBC/ACts 29 Sojourn church (formerly Acts 29 since the Petry’s website launched) downtown. He was interested in it because it was touted as a “community” church in a low income part of town.

    He told me he found 20-30 somethings, white, educated middle to upper class driving downtown to go to church. :o) Of course, they have planted sat churches in higher income areas since they started that one, too. So they have attendees just not the ones they said they were targeting.

  4. Pingback: Calling-out the ‘Calvinistas’ | Civil Commotion

  5. Mark Driscoll was the number one subject of posts here?

    Didn’t see that one coming.
    (not)

    I wish his house of cards would just collapse once and for all. But I’m not holding my breath.

  6. I have some news, too! I am leaving the SBC ranks after 22 years in the same church. I can see the handwriting on the wall, and I don’t like it. Bon Voyage to me!

  7. “I’m thankful for Dee, Deb all the commenters here and the Wartburg Watch as a whole. ” – Eagle

    Me too!

  8. Colin Hanson

    “Seeking explanations of trends, we tend to prefer simple narratives that confirm our biases. ”

    Irony, much?

    So your basic arguments that

    1 Christianity defined by conservative political stances – ergo Obama victory equals a lack of faith and falling away.

    2 Declining numbers must be all from churches not like ours

    aren’t simplistic narratives that combine your biases

    Sheesh

  9. @ Anon 1:

    I find that statement fascinating as the SBC church around the corner from me — we have THREE within walking distance of my house — is very much the same. Not so much the age group, as most of the folk there are older (as in retirement age), but the lack of drawing in the community. Very few people from the neighborhood — which is really very racially and ethnically mixed — attend there. Most of the church members are white and are from a nearby community. I found it really interesting that none of the teens my boys met when we visited went to the school they attended. They all went to high school in a neaby town.

    (OTOH, the newly-planted Catholic church, which shares facilities with another nearby SBC church, is bursting at the seams with the local Hispanic residents.)

  10. Happy new year, everyone, it’s already almost 10:30am New Year’s Day here with lovely sunshine. And a neighbour mowing their lawn at 9:30am – don’t they realise everyone was up really late?
    Anyway, hope those who’ve already seen on the new one had a great night, and all the best to those of you behind the time (zone)s still waiting for the new year to come.

  11. Ed Young Jr. will get permission to sleep with his wife on a huge bed in the middle of a runway at DFW.

    Okay, but please no jokes about “landing strips,” all right? Pretty please.

    SMG

  12. I read what Collin Hansen had to say and it didn’t come off to me at all what you seem to think he is saying.

    If I heard someone say from “charismatic to Calvinist” I would know they meant from “A to Z” or “Portland to Portland” or whatever. He’s basically naming a broad spectrum of different groups. Charismatics are usually arminian for the most part. He wasn’t at all saying Calvinists have the answer. He was asking if smaller groups of every type were going to step in and save the church from nominalism.

    I have lived in the north, and experienced Catholic nominalism. It’s a HUGE problem. But I was shocked when I moved to the south. Baptist nominalsim is even WORSE than Catholic nominalism. At my old job, I’d be shocked when girls I worked with would talk about being sunday school teachers at the local baptist church, or running VBS…and they were absolutely the worst people I knew. There was no accountability or any kind of any attempt to live a godly lifestyle. No interest in spiritual things. So many people think in the south if they just said a prayer at sometime in their life they are good to go. I haven’t read JD Greear’s book “Stop Asking Jesus into your Heart” but I imagine he touches on this.

  13. Happy New Year Dee & Deb!

    Here’s a new post 12/28 by Lance Ketchum that I bought was useful and informative entitled, “Gospel Centrism and Its Neo-orthodox Foundations”

    http://lineuponlinedmm.blogspot.com/2012/12/gospel-centrism-and-its-neo-orthodox.html?m=1

    Here’s an excerpt:

    The common denominator among all these men is their connections to Reformed Theology.  Propagation of their New Reformation has come through conferences such as Gospel Coalition, Together for the Gospel (T4G), the Ligonier Conference of the Reformed theologian R.C. Sproul, and the Acts 29 Convention.  Gospel Centrism is a Sovereign Grace movement to capture evangelical Christianity and much of Fundamentalism with Calvinism.  There is no doubt about it!  The only difference is that the reformed fundamental Baptists are trying to achieve the same goal while hiding behind ambiguous terminology.  Unless these men are uprooted from our Baptist Bible Colleges and Baptist Seminaries, they will turn many Baptist churches into becoming Reformed in their doctrine.  Before you recommend any student to a Bible College or Seminary, ask those institutions who on their staff holds to any degree of Reformed Theology.  Do not let them get by with their deceptions.  Bring them out of the shadows by shining the light upon their hidden goals.

  14. Shato

    Did you not know that charismatics have entered into the Calvinism via SGM?

    I have news for you. I have met idiot Calvinists,Baptists, and Lutherans. So, I would be cautious in judging entire denominations on the back of your experience. And there is nothing wrong wrong with asking Jesus into your heart. I did so years ago. But that is just so “non-Calvin,” isn’t it.

  15. Dee,

    Great analysis of 2012! And to think that I was hesitant to start blogging because I didn’t think there would be enough to write about…

    I predict there will be so much to write about in 2013 that we’ll have a difficult time covering it by posting four days a week…

    Happy New Year everyone!

  16. @ Dee & Shato:

    I don’t think Shato meant to say that ALL northern Catholics or all southern Baptists are nominal…just that there are some who are. I can confirm that, as a northerner, I’ve also met large numbers of nominal Catholics, but that doesn’t mean I think every Catholic north of the Mason-Dixon line is lost. I also can testify from personal experience that plenty of people who “asked Jesus into their heart” are likely not saved. That doesn’t negate the fact that many people who “ask Jesus into their heart” ARE saved.

    (What disturbs me most is the unconscious “contests” between kids (and sometimes their parents, too) to see who “asks Jesus into their heart” the earliest…usually manifested, in my experience, as the kids bragging in the teenage years. “I asked Jesus into my heart when I was five!” “Oh, yeah? Well, I was THREE!” Ummm, guys? It’s supposed to mean something…)

    Per the “charismatic to Calvinist” thing, yes, he probably was trying to convey a wide spectrum of theological backgrounds. But I still find it suspicious that he identified the parishioner loss as coming mainly from mainline and Catholic churches. The fact that he adds “EVEN nominal evangelicalism” implies, to me, that he thinks it is more of a minority compared to the mainline/Catholic groups preceding. And obviously I think he’s wrong about that.

  17. Hester

    He said nominal evangelicals-particularly Baptists in the South. That is an interesting crowd to pick out.I do suspect he means the Baptists in the South who are Aminianists. Certainly he was not referring to his good buddies JD Greear or Andy Davis.But there is some suspicion of that little Baptist church in an eastern farming community. But none of the Calvinistas want to go there anyway-not enough cool people with money. So, they will probably rot in their unregeneracy, poor dears. Of course, there is no problem with Baptists in the north-for example-John Piper in Minnesota.

    Hansen is building a case that only saving grace of the past decade are the NeoCalvinists. Note: he did not mention nominal Calvinists in his little essay. If he was truly just going after “nominal whatevers” he would have mentioned them. He specifically chose Baptists in the South. In my opinion, this was a dig at Baptists who do not toe the Reformed line.

    Here is a “prophecy.” The rhetoric will heat up on non-Calvinists in the coming year. Innuendos will be made about “unregeneracy”, poor theology at conversion (asking Jesus into one’s heart) leading to people who are not really Christians, etc. The Calvinistas will portray themselves as the only identifiable Christians. Oh, there may be others but most of them are probably deluding themselves.

     

  18. Dee you’re on the ball getting a midnight tww post in there. Best to all for 2013 and thanks to those who recently shared their optimism, you’re challenging my cynicism. Lovely early beach walk this morning, quite a few others had the same idea. Was nearly adopted by a gorgeous young Great Dane the size of a small horse whose owner was sleeping it off nearby. Sweet!

  19. Hester – Shato has commented here many times in the past. So… I totally get Dee’s points in response.

  20. Some other developments from 2012 that may be of interest:

    Cedarville University (where Chad Mahaney has chosen (?) to attend college) recently fired Michael Pahl, apparently for entertaining a different view of Creation:

    http://dougchaplin.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/the-academic-failure-of-fundamentalism/

    Critics are speaking out, some questioning Cedarville’s status as a “university.” Some claim there’s an atmosphere of fear & intimidation at Cedarville, which offers students small “Discipleship Groups” that are divided by gender, and a “Fit To Be Tied” program which teaches students about gender roles in dating & marriage.

    Cedarville Board of Trustees member Michael Loftis had been fired as President of ABWE, apparently stemming from his involvement in the cover-up of a missionary who abused missionary children in Bangladesh for years:

    http://paulspassingthoughts.com/2012/05/28/outrage-michael-loftis-appointed-to-board-of-trustees-cedarville-university/

    Seems the yielding, dependent, submissive son of Mr. Mahaney’s is in the perfect environment, which is certain not to challenge him to compare or investigate systems of thought other than the ones he’s been so carefully indoctrinated in! Poor kid.

  21. As for being “nominal”: I would guess that those who are “nominal” (in all religions) probably outnumber those who are devout.

    But as with many words used these days, “nominal” seems to mean something different depending on the speaker/writer. There is an implied criticism (*very* heavily implied) in Shato’s comment to Dee.

  22. @ Dee:

    “The rhetoric will heat up on non-Calvinists in the coming year. Innuendos will be made about ‘unregeneracy,’ poor theology at conversion (asking Jesus into one’s heart) leading to people who are not really Christians, etc. The Calvinistas will portray themselves as the only idenitfiable Christians. Oh, there may be others but most of them are probably deluding themselves.”

    Well, David Platt’s already gone after “asking Jesus into your heart.” Didn’t he call it heretical?

  23. Hester

    Yes, Platt did. Then he apologized for not being clear. I believe God calls us all into His kingdom in different ways. For me, it was the thought the King of the Universe cared about me. Calvinistas believe it is the height of hubris for a human to ask Jesus into their heart because it is God who asks you.

    The point of this particualr post was the rise of the nones-no religious group selected. Hansen was looking to blame someone. So, he went after Catholics,mainline church members and “nomina” evangelicals of the Southern Baptist variety.His implication is that if everyone became a Calvinist, the hemorrhage would stop.

    The last 20 years has seen a rise of hardball religion-gender, authoritarians, etc.I believe that such things are the reason for the rise of the nones and my experience on this blog has only confirmed my suspicions.

  24. Eagle, I’m not saying what’s been happening at Cedarville University is a major story, but I think keeping an eye on what’s going on there is relevant because of its wider implications. The context of events may not be that of a major university, but neither was Julie Anne Smith a celebrity nor BGBC a nationally known network of churches, yet that story has had a real impact. Unless I’m reading you incorrectly and your comment was not mockery, I think seemingly insignificant news stories coming out of obscure locations and the lives of little known people can prove to be huge game changers.

  25. Happy New Year. This is one of my favorite blogs!
    Hope you two wonderful people keep up the good work!

  26. Hester wrote:

    @ Dee:
    “The rhetoric will heat up on non-Calvinists in the coming year. Innuendos will be made about ‘unregeneracy,’ poor theology at conversion (asking Jesus into one’s heart) leading to people who are not really Christians, etc. The Calvinistas will portray themselves as the only idenitfiable Christians. Oh, there may be others but most of them are probably deluding themselves.”

    The movement I came out of, the Crossroads/Boston Movement, did just that–portrayed themselves as the only Christians.

  27. Nicholas,

    I thought the content of Ketchum’s article was solid, regardless of whether he uses the KJV only when he preacheth the bible. I was promoting the article not the author. Sorry if it seemed like I was promoting Lance Ketchum and preference for the King James Bible, but lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    As for Ketchum’s opinion about Luther, I don’t know what to tell you there. Apparently the man has spent a great deal of time reading and studying Luther’s writings, and has come to the opinion that Luther wouldnt be regarded favorably in today’s culture in the way he has been from a historical perspective. We know Luther was a key player in the Reformation. We also know Luther said some crazy-ass stuff too. Again, save the babies but be free to dispose of the bathwater!

  28. The Calvinistas are ESV onlyists. :o)

    Cedarville was a huge deal in some circles. A big wake up call as to the extent of the infiltration in unsuspecting places.

    Something similar concerning the extent of infiltration has happened at SBC Mid America Seminary where a young inexperienced brand new PhD former Mohler assistant at SBTS was installed as President even though the place has had two bad presidents in last 7 years and undergoing a bit of a crisis. An experienced grey head would have been wiser for stability reasons but a controllable MOhler lackey was put in as if there were no other more qualified candidates in the vast network of SBC seminaries. It is so obvious as to be a bold in your face move.

  29. I don’t post often, but I do read this blog every. single. day. Happy New Year to Dee, Deb, and all the TWW folks. Make no mistake about it, important work and vital discussion happen here. I know there are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of others like me who don’t post often but do come here to read, learn, and ponder. My family had less of a brush with the dysfunctional world of Christian patriarchy than many (I wrote the guest post about our experience with a Doug Wilson style classical Christian school) and yet, it seems, it still left some scars that I was unaware of until this blog helped me to ponder and process those years.

    BTW, one of the highlights of my year was when I had the opportunity to visit Eagle while he was in the hospital. (Eagle, you are one awesome dude and I hope we can connect again.) This is just one tiny example of how TWW fosters a dynamic and loving community.

    Deb and Dee, I can only imagine how much time you put in to this to make it such a thriving, welcoming community. God bless you both in 2013 and beyond!

  30. I may have the chronology wrong but I think Platt preached something close to asking Jesus into your heart was heretical at an SBC pastors conference. A firestorm erupted in the SBc about a sinners prayer being unorthodox.

    In the Calvinista world, you have nothing to do with the process. God does it all for you. God forces you to repent and have faith. You are too wicked and are unable to do either.

  31. Thanks Dee!

    I got to imaging what would happen if Chad Mahaney fell for a girl who was an egalitarian, and brought her home to Momma. Imagine if the girl was well-educated, from a good family, was multi-lingual, missionary minded, and career oriented. But it became obvious she wasn’t impressed by Carolyn Mahaney’s insistence that any woman worth her salt should serve her husband above all others and make the house the center of her life and the focus of her energies? I can only imagine how insignificant Carolyn’s daughters might feel around this new-comer, and how that would arouse the Mahaney toxic personality trait of pride & envy which – when rises up – manifests in a desire to humiliate and destroy the source of competition and bring it under conformity to their lifestyle, which of course they view as the only biblical, gospel-centered way to live.

    Im afraid the young Mr. Mahaney isnt free to fall in love, nor more than he was free to attend the college of his choice. As a student at Cedarville he’s likely to be around girls with only complementarian marriage on their minds, and he’s likely to view with suspicion any girl who doesn’t aspire to becoming a homemaker. All those years of home-schooling and reading books from a strictly limited bookshelf has left him with thinking skills that basically leave him with one of two options: submit yourself to the Mahaney Family’s system of belief or be regarded a traitor.

    You best believe the wife he chooses will be no better than his mother and will reflect her values. That pesky verse about a man leaving his father and mother and cleaving to his wife won’t apply to Chad Mahaney because he won’t be allowed to leave the world his parents have constructed, anymore than his sisters have been allowed to leave. They can’t. In the world of the Mahaney Family there’s only the freedom – to agree.

  32. Evie, Interestingly enough, as we see the grown up children of the Patriarchal mindset emerge as somewhat different than they taught others. As if the rules did not apply to their own children. Mohler, who has written about marrying young and how selfish couples are for not having children or waiting to have children, etc, and listening to Mary Mohler lecture seminary wives, one would be shocked to find their grown, educated SINGLE daughter living and working a CAREER in DC for one of our Senators.

  33. Anon 1,

    Mohler recently announced his daughter’s engagement. I’m looking forward to seeing how many grandchildren she produces for her parents.

  34. Anon 1, totally agree and yes that is interesting about the Mohler’s daughter. It would seem odd, wouldn’t it, for a seminary president to suppress his child’s education and the opportunities that education then afforded.

    And its always sad to see some kids end up going off the deep end, not having been given the skills to adequately deal with the challenges of sin and life, thinking it must all be lived out within the context of a particular “local church” and if not, they’re heathens!

    But the Mahaney Family is an interesting study. Neither CJ nor Carolyn Mahaney have a college degree that I know of. No real professional work experience that has ever been highlighted aside from CJs involvement in rising up on the backs of others through TAG, GOB, PDI & SGM, and Carolyn working as a pastors wife, writing books, conducting seminars, etc.

    There’s certainly good things to be observed about the Mahaney clan. They’re a tight knit group, and judging by the happy, smiley faces in Janelle Mahaney Bradshaw’s photographs (which are all open and for sale online) they are supportive of one another and seemingly content with themselves. They are, after all, the model SGM family.

    But that’s just the thing. What they model as success is used as evidence; proof that what they preach and practice is the right way to live, the biblical way to live, the gospel-centered way to live. And they have worked very hard to convey that image. And because the scope of their lifestyle choices have been limited, and because they’ve been able to afford it, it seems pretty convincing. If you follow the Mahaney’s and submit to their teachings, you too can have a happy, successful family life where everyone sticks together and is just full of spirit!

    It was upon this model that SGM was built using the exact same principles. Harmless? Well, not when one considers how CJ disposed of people whose family lives didn’t measure up, because the life of the family was regarded as the mini nucleus, and things had to be picture perfect in order for SGM leaders to promote the SGM religion. A religion based upon men being more godly and gifted as proven by their leadership skills within their families. And what attention was given to those sinners whose families lacked the qualities of those in leadership? Their struggles were minimized, problems left untreated or worse – never reported to the proper authorities.

    So, you got to give the Mahaneys some credit for their energy and industry. They’re certainly not lazy people. But they have worked to construct a type of tower that they designed, one in which others have to labor according to their will. And they think its their tower that is THE gateway to heaven, and theyve including their children in its propaganda. I just think its sad, knowing the amount of mind control they employ, that their kids haven’t been free to discover their own paths like their parents were free to do and instead must remain loyal to the vision of their parents for fear that if they don’t, the tower will come tumbling down. And who will be blamed if that happens? As it stands, its just those damn bloggers and the gossips and slanderers from the internet that are causing all the trouble. And Chad Mahaney posted Ps 31:11-18 recently on his Facebook page, so you be the judge as to what the mesage of those verses was intended to convey. Dudes full of kool-aid, which he’s been fed on since the bottle. Oh well. What more can we expect? Inspired convictions? Um, I don’t think so.

  35. Anon1

    Ahhh, but there is a hierarchy of values. If it is one of your kids, and it might lead to influence in DC, the paradigm is lifted.  Mohler, Mahaney and others live by the fluid paradigm for leaders. 

  36. @ Tina:

    This is one thing I do agree with Platt on. I think we need to be true to scripture and not go by things of our own making. Many things we tend to believe just because it is what we are taught. The challenge is to go back to scripture and see if these things are really taught. I don’t think we need to throw out everything that Calvinists believe. Tullian Tchvidjian for example is another who is worth giving a listen to and is reformed in nature. I think the challenge is to get out the Bible and begin reading it, studying it and seeing for yourself what scripture actually teaches.

  37. @ Debbie Kaufman:

    I do strongly believe that scripture is inerrant and can be understood. It must be studied in context and that means taking full books and chapters not just one verse. Scripture interprets scripture is something I learned from leaning toward the Reformed and find it to be very true. The Bible must be read and there is not multiple meanings or multiple ways to Christ. There is only one way.

  38. Anon 1 wrote:

    Evie, Interestingly enough, as we see the grown up children of the Patriarchal mindset emerge as somewhat different than they taught others. As if the rules did not apply to their own children. Mohler, who has written about marrying young and how selfish couples are for not having children or waiting to have children, etc, and listening to Mary Mohler lecture seminary wives, one would be shocked to find their grown, educated SINGLE daughter living and working a CAREER in DC for one of our Senators.

    1) Royalty is never subject to the same laws as commoners.

    2) That “grown educated SINGLE daughter” is a conduit to POWER in the form of the Senator she works for.

    “The only goal of Power is POWER.”
    — Comrade O’Brian, Inner Party, Airstrip One, Oceania, Nineteen Eighty-Four

  39. Evie wrote:

    Im afraid the young Mr. Mahaney isnt free to fall in love, nor more than he was free to attend the college of his choice. As a student at Cedarville he’s likely to be around girls with only complementarian marriage on their minds, and he’s likely to view with suspicion any girl who doesn’t aspire to becoming a homemaker. All those years of home-schooling and reading books from a strictly limited bookshelf has left him with thinking skills that basically leave him with one of two options: submit yourself to the Mahaney Family’s system of belief or be regarded a traitor.

    You best believe the wife he chooses will be no better than his mother and will reflect her values. That pesky verse about a man leaving his father and mother and cleaving to his wife won’t apply to Chad Mahaney because he won’t be allowed to leave the world his parents have constructed, anymore than his sisters have been allowed to leave.

    After all, he is Crown Prince and Heir to the Throne.

    Appropriate arranged political marriage is expected.

  40. @ Anon 1:

    I believe some of the daughters may have taken some classes. I never heard of any of them graduating from college. I believe they were groomed for another purpose . . . pastors wives, having and raising children, and clean counters ;) In case some may think my comments unfounded, be assured they are not. I have heard the teaching from their mother’s mouth.

  41. Happy New Year all!!

    Dee, might want to change that banner that says “The Wartburg Watch 2012:)

    Hope everyone had a safe and fun New Year!

  42. Anon 1 I honestly don’t know the extent of their educations. Pretty sure it may include some college correspondence. Certainly nothing involving leaving their mother’s house, where they spent a lot of time around the Carolyn’s kitchen table, gleaning all their wisdom & knowledge from her, which they apparently still do (according to their Girltalk blog).

    At what point are the Mahaney “girls” no longer beholden to their mother? Its as if Carolyn Mahaney enjoys being regarded as the fount of wisdom. Why else would she encourage that? Ridiculous. Wisdom,it seems to me, would be to have encouraged her daughter’s to explore the world and expand their knowledge and understanding of things. Instead she isolated & limited their potential, and remains their guru. Seems rather self-serving if you ask me. Those girls could have attended good schools. Guess higher education is suitable only for the male of the species? Whatever. That was her choice as to how-to raise her daughters. Where it becomes an issue, and where its ok to examine in public, is when you have made yourself a public figure with a public ministry, have wriiten books and author blogs instructing others to do the same. They can cry “gossip” when its a private matter, which it hasn’t it been. Carolyn Mahaney has hoisted HER methods of doing things on other women ad nauseam.

  43. Bridget wrote:

    I believe they were groomed for another purpose . . . pastors wives, having and raising children, and clean counters

    And arranged political marriages to cement alliances with other Men-o-Gawd?

  44. Evie wrote:

    At what point are the Mahaney “girls” no longer beholden to their mother? Its as if Carolyn Mahaney enjoys being regarded as the fount of wisdom. Why else would she encourage that?

    If Chad is Crown Prince, then Carolyn is Queen Mother.

    Just think of them as a Royal Family by Divine Right and it all falls into place.

    Those girls could have attended good schools. Guess higher education is suitable only for the male of the species? Whatever. That was her choice as to how-to raise her daughters. Where it becomes an issue, and where its ok to examine in public, is when you have made yourself a public figure with a public ministry, have wriiten books and author blogs instructing others to do the same. They can cry “gossip” when its a private matter, which it hasn’t it been. Carolyn Mahaney has hoisted HER methods of doing things on other women ad nauseam

    Not just Queen Mother, but QUEEN BEE. And no other female can EVER be permitted to outshine the Queen Bee. EVER.

  45. ESV-onlyism … heh, well, they couldn’t just be the anti-NRSV crowd forever (though the NRSV is actually not as terrible as Calvinistas say it is, once you bear in mind its shortcomings and the shortcomings of other translations). Before there was the ESV it seemed the NAS was “the” translation that was preferred but I spent a long time liking the old RSV. It’s nice to have one translation that hews close to the MT and another that consults the LXX in tricky spots where the MT may be garbled, thus an RSV/NAS combo works fine for me.

    I’ve given the ESV a shot in a few spots and its poetry is more prosaic than its prose! :(

  46. “I do strongly believe that scripture is inerrant and can be understood. It must be studied in context and that means taking full books and chapters not just one verse. Scripture interprets scripture is something I learned from leaning toward the Reformed and find it to be very true. The Bible must be read and there is not multiple meanings or multiple ways to Christ. There is only one way.:”

    Debbie, Since many translations are different, which one do you think is “inerrant”? Is there a definition of inerrant we are missing? I could gve you several examples of words added to translations not in the Greek. And that is just one area. How about the changing of word meanings over time? Or how about literally changing a word here and there becasue the translator thinks it is better when it changes the meaning? There are so many examples of this and if all professing believers just focused on LIVING as Christ this would not be a problem. If there is one thing I am waking up to it is that the bible is not the 4th person of the Trinity as so many seem to present it as.

    And how is it that many very educated people have such totally different interpretations on something like original sin or predestination if it is so simple to understand “in context”?

    That is why there are so many discussions here on what things mean…in context.

    You say you understand it well in the Reformed context. But that statement is reading back into the text. While we all bring filters to the reading, our goal should be to stop interpreting for everyone else. But I think insistence that scripture is “inerrant” is a problem. Inspired? yes. Inerrant? No way. Unless you think all translators were inspired but we know many translations were for political reasons from history. Just reading about how they came about should give us pause. But if one thinks man has no volition, they cannot help but believe all translators were directed by God.

    You may not have gotten the memo but many in the mainline (not YRR) Reformed movement are starting to be very concerned with what Tullian is teaching: Antinomianism

  47. WTH, Mark STrauss did an excellent paper on the ESV. Some of it’s “literal” interpretations are hilarious:

    http://zondervan.typepad.com/files/improvingesv2.pdf

    The problem with the ESV is that is is also another “political” translation touted as the most literal while the promoters were working hard to have the TNIV totally trashed.

    If you visit the ESV publisher and see their other clients, it is easy to see what this was all about.

    Another example of how this works is the Holman Bible. The NIV folks were raising royalties so the SBC said we will do our own bible. Funny how some of the SBC seminary presidents ended up propagandizing the ESV because it was the “Reformed” choice. There was a time there I did not think you could be a Christian without an ESV in this town.

  48. Dee: Thanks again for again highlighting my story and for all the support you and Deb have shown me (and TWW readers, too).

    Evie: You are absolutely right. It doesn't matter how big a church is, in this day and age of technology, my former Podunk church of 100 people (now reduced to about 30+) can create a national media frenzy, even enough for big church leaders to give me their personal e-mail addresses and phone numbers to "talk" if ever I need to. Yes, this is a different age now. Pastors do not always get a free pass to abuse anymore and blogging mamas with 7 kids wearing flannel pjs can tell their stories to the world . . . and sometimes people listen.

    Deb – totally cracked up at your comment about how many children Mohler's daughter will have. I'm thinking we need to start taking population stats in Louisville especially now that Mahaney et all has moved to town.

    FYI: I've been wanting to ditch the BGBCSurvivor name and change over to a new blog forum for a while and now have made the jump. I will be closing BGBC Survivor blog, keeping the content online, but have moved on to greener pastures (and pardon the housekeeping, it's moving-in day and by the looks of it, not quite yet an open house party – lol):

    Spiritual Sounding Board

    Dee or Deb, would you mind changing the name on your blogroll, please? Thanks! Happy New Year, TWW readers!

  49. @ Dee:

    “His implication is that if everyone became a Calvinist, the hemorrhage would stop.”

    …and that if they just harp harder on conservative Christian culture (which is all a lot of it amounts to, really), people will come flocking back to the church in droves. Funny, though, when you ask the general public about conservative Christian culture, the reactions are not favorable. This is why waitresses universally hate the Sunday afternoon shift – because all the Christians just got of out church and come to the restaurant ready to spread the love around.

  50. “…I believe they were groomed for another purpose . . . pastors wives, having and raising children, and clean counters…”
    ~ Bridget ~

    Could someone please explain to me the meaning of the “clean-clear counters” thing? Is it a literal thing? Metaphor? Euphemism?

    Did the expression arise out of a particular sect of ixtian patriarchy?

  51. Mara wrote:

    I wish his house of cards would just collapse once and for all. But I’m not holding my breath.

    Like Jimmy Swaggart’s?

    I’m more and more convinced that many (most?) large churches are more of a personality cult than a fellowship of Christians.

  52. Hester wrote:

    …and that if they just harp harder on conservative Christian culture (which is all a lot of it amounts to, really), people will come flocking back to the church in droves.

    “Increase Political Consciousness Indoctrination among the Masses, Comrades.”

    Funny, though, when you ask the general public about conservative Christian culture, the reactions are not favorable.

    In a lot of cases “Conservative Christian Culture(TM)” comes across as a more genteel version of Fred Phelps.

    This is why waitresses universally hate the Sunday afternoon shift – because all the Christians just got of out church and come to the restaurant ready to spread the love around.

    Waitresses who are paid BELOW minimum wage and expected to make it up with tips. It’s called “Tip Credit” and the waitress is taxed on it whether she gets the tips or not. And merchants, bill collectors, and the IRS don’t accept Fake $100 bill Gospel Tracts.

  53. Lynn, thanks for sharing that link. Excellent post. I am looking forward to reading more there on this subject.

  54. @ Muff Potter

    Muff –

    Sorry . . . to those familiar with SGM and the teachings of Carolyn Mahaney, “clean counters” means just that. She encouraged woman to keep their kitchen counters clean and uncluttered. It was a preposterously unimportant issue that many seemed to take seriously and feel guilt over the absence of (a sheesh moment if ever!)

  55. @ Bridget: Not only that, it’s supposedly a thing that comes from Carolyn’s “Mennonite upbringing.”

    Muff, I have seen houses where people outdid themselves on clean kitchen counters, but didn’t understand where that came from until I started reading this blog.

  56. As for the article? I would disagree with most of it. It is the one point that the original Internet Monk and I disagreed with. I believe in the Sunday School version of the Bible, and I do believe every punctuation mark and word in it to be true and straight from God Himself.

    But it’s like faith in Christ. I could argue it till Christ came or I died and went to heaven, yet that won’t convince anyone. It’s the power of the Holy Spirit who is God that does that, and I can tell you I believe it. I know it to be true.

  57. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote,

    Not just Queen Mother, but QUEEN BEE. And no other female can EVER be permitted to outshine the Queen Bee. EVER.

    Yes HUG, that seemed to be the plan. The impression I had was that all roads led to the human personifications of biblical manhood and womanhood, CJ& Carolyn Mahaney. No one, not even their kids, could do it better. Certainly not anyone else in the church. Those they honored were honored for how well they reflected the Mahaney’s beliefs & virtues.

    But I gotta tell you, Carolyn has made deflecting an artform. She must have taken acting classes. She pretends to play a prop in the background, but you know thats not where she truly wishes to be. No, she is a woman comfortable on center stage, despite her audience being told by someone, “Carolyn would much rather be home organizing her drawers and fixing CJ a sandwich, but at our insistence we coaxed her to come forward in order that she may bestow upon us her saintly and magnificent wisdom clap clap clap.”

    No, no a biblical woman must never seek her own, she must always be serving others. And like I said, Carolyn is a pro when it comes to acting the part.

    And speaking of Chad, and her role in his upbringing…here she is in one of her roles – that of deflecting the glory to that of her Head and the father of her son, CJ Mahaney. (Cue the emotional background music please.)

    The setting: Carolyn’s Kitchen Table (again)

    The subject: Chad’s Discipleship Training i.e. Carolyn’s Plan to help Chad cultivate masculine characteristics in 7 easy steps, focusing on #1.

    1.) Learn, learn, learn from his dad.

    Under this point Carolyn teaches that she will…
    a. Point out to Chad the many qualities of his father.
    b. Prompt Chad to ask lots of questions of his father.
    c. Remind Chad to pursue his father.

    Are we seeing a pattern here? Can’t you just feeeeel the oozing spirituality behind all this wisdom and godly character. I can hardly contain it I’m so mystified.

    Then she finishes the point by sharing how she told Chad to read Chapter 10 in CJ’s book, “Humility, True Greatness”

    I’m not making this up!
    (Having issues posting a link, will so following this comment, sorry)

  58. [[Mod: Not sure what this link was supposed to do but it dumped me into a Google Docs Sign On]]
    [[It seems to work as a document display in Chrome]]

    Email us if you want to display a document or something or put up a better link.

    GBTC

  59. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote: In a lot of cases “Conservative Christian Culture(TM)” comes across as a more genteel version of Fred Phelps. That's the thing – I know a few too many people who come off like they know it's unacceptable to say they agree with Fred Phelps, but can't help but resonate with his basic message. I hope they don't actually think that, but many of them would have trouble even setting foot in a gay person's house so it's easy to wonder.

    And merchants, bill collectors, and the IRS don’t accept Fake $100 bill Gospel Tracts.

    No, they don't. : ) Seriously, every single waitress I know (and I know a lot) HATES working Sunday afternoons. They literally fight and negotiate over who on staff has to take that shift. This is because Christians in general seem unaware that waitresses are human, let alone humans with bills to pay. For instance, one of our Christian friends refused to give her waitress any tip at all because she said "I'll get to you in a minute" at the restaurant's busiest hour. Other lines include "I only give exceptional tips for exceptional service." Translation: if the waitress doesn't read my mind (even though I think astrology/telepathy is sin), her children shouldn't get any Christmas presents. Don't even get me started on the gospel tracts.

  60. And I don't know what happened with the blockquotes in that comment…I'm no good at HTML.

     

    [[MOD: OK I got rid of the blue italics but did you want it all in bold?]]
    [[Everyone please use HTML sparingly and carefully.]]
    [[I"m only here tonight as Im' getting over a cold.]]
    [[Real time editing is normally not an option. GBTC]]

  61. @ Evie:

    “Then she finishes the point by sharing how she told Chad to read Chapter 10 in CJ’s book, ‘Humility, True Greatness'”

    Not the Bible…? Though the concept of patriarchy can, of course, be found in 3rd C. J. 8:26. As well as 8th Doug 16:4 and 5th M.D. 3:12.

  62. “I believe in the Sunday School version of the Bible, and I do believe every punctuation mark and word in it to be true and straight from God Himself.”

    There is no punctuation in the Greek. :o)

  63. Quote,

    What surprised us was the vehemence of his defenders who continue to claim he could not have done it. Some Christians seem to think that some Christians, especially leaders, are immune from sin.

    That is true in some churches, denominations, or Christianity as a whole in the United States, but I’ve seen the same thing in secular quarters, too.

    I was on a secular site awhile back that publishes a ‘Dear Abby’ type page where a lady wrote in to say a man (or maybe it was a woman? I think it was a male, though) approached her the day of her husband’s funeral to tell her, “Your husband sexually abused me when I was a child.”

    The woman said she was upset this guy was bringing the issue up with her at all, but especially on the day of the husband’s funeral.

    She thinks either you confront your abuser when he is alive to his face, or keep your mouth shut about it forever.

    The thing I found interesting and alarming is that 99% of the people (some of whom are not Christians) leaving comments on the secular site sided with the widow about it.

    Many of the people leaving comments said it was awful or cowardly for this guy to spring this news on this widow.

    Many leaving comments also automatically assumed the deceased husband had to have been pure as the freshly driven snow and incapable of sexually abusing anyone.

    I’m not an expert on the topic of sexual abusers, but I have read enough over the years to know that the guy who everyone thinks is angelic is in fact capable of being a sexual predator (or a serial killer).

    According to views of experts I read after one big pedophilia scandal last year, sexual predators are highly skilled at keeping up a facade of respectability (that is how they gain trust and access to kids).

    I’m not whole heartedly defending a man confronting a widow on funeral day about alleged abuse (he could have chosen a better time, but perhaps the funeral triggered something in him, and he was not thinking logically), however-

    It was sad to see how people have blinders on and wanted to defend a man they didn’t even know, and they were attacking someone who may have been a victim.

    There are many people who are not willing to believe that people prey on children. It happens among Non-Christians on occasion, too, not just Christians. I don’t know why so many people go into denial about this, but they do.

  64. Deb wrote:

    Evie,
    Wasn’t Carolyn Mahaney over women’s ministry at CLC before she headed to greener pastures?

    Good point Deb, and yes she was. Although CJ has long left bis position of CLC’s Senior Pastor, Carolyn held her ground as Lead Female of CLC, along with her daughter’s, who assisted her with the blog.

    Ive always had a problem with that arrangement. Carolyn insisted her role was to support her busband and not to be involved in a career outside the home. If Joshua Harris had married Nicole ( the oldest Mahaney daughter) then the transition would have gone swimmingly. Josh new Senior Pastor. Nicole Senior Pastors wife, who like Carolyn had done, follow in her mother’s footsteps.

    But Joshua fell in love with the wrong person, some beautiful young woman new to the church with a gorgeous singing voice. Well, that messed up the whole plan. Shannon Harris wasn’t even raised in SGM! Who was she? No, Carolyn must continue to be the leader of the women, and along with her daughters outshine Shannon Harris, who was never alowed to say much beyond her singing. Why rob Shannon of the chance to have her own voice, her own influence? After all, isnt that the only reason Carolyn had hers? Because she was a “Pastor’s Wife”? Of course! It wasn’t because she was especially gifted at leading and teaching, right? No! In SGM it was never about a woman’s strength or gifting. It was always about her role. Carolyn made a HABIT of DECRYING having to speak or teach, and claimed to do so in order to help and support her husband.

    So why did Carolyn Mahaney stay in charge of the women’s ministry at CLC after Josh Harris became Sr. pastor? Dont tell me Shannon Harris refused to be involved. She was probably coerced into staying out of the limelight at CLC. I think there was a certain sense of resentment toward her, because they felt Nicole deserved the role. Or that someone else, certainly not her deserved the POSITION.

    I thought the whole thing was so hypocritical. And its my gut level feeling that Joshua didn’t have the courage to promote his wife into the position that honestly belonged to her according to CLCs model of leadership and the assumed position of the Pastors Wife.

  65. Thanks Bridget & numo! Now I’m up to speed. Here’s how it goes at our house: Muff is chief kitchen-cleaner-upper & general scullery person.

    Although he can move stuff (the Queen’s stuff) at will to wipe down counters & such, if it is not all put back to within a millimeter, the Queen (Mrs. Muff) will become wroth and Muff’s ass will become as grass.

  66. Evie wrote~

    “As a student at Cedarville he’s likely to be around girls with only complementarian marriage on their minds, and he’s likely to view with suspicion any girl who doesn’t aspire to becoming a homemaker.”

    Is he for sure still a student there? His FB says “Studied at Cedarville Universtiy” (past tense). I see pics of him on his FB at the Louisville church. He also a[[ears to have written articles for the Tower–do not know what that is but it says it is a “News Publication Of The SBTS. Anyone know?

  67. Evie – Maybe Shannon didn’t want to head up the women’s ministry. Just because her husband became senior pastor didn’t necessarily mean that she felt called or should in any way feel obligated to take on that role. Maybe as a mom with small children, she was happy to let someone else take on those responsibilities. It seems like you’re doing quite a bit of speculating. Unless, that is, you’ve spoken to her personally and askd her about it.

  68. So, I’m really tryint to understand where you are coming from Debbie, are you saying that the contradictions that translations have are not really contradictions at all but just merely all aspects of the truth? Kind of like the Calvinist notion of free will and predestination are both aspects of the truth?Debbie Kaufman wrote:

    @ Anon 1:
    Which translation is inerrant? All of them. All contain the word of God.

  69. @ Patti:

    Patti: No I am not saying this. I am saying that there are no contradictions in scripture. If there are seeming contradictions it is the interpretation that is the flaw and not the Bible. It is the interpretation as it is wrong and that needs to be examined and changed not the written words of scripture.

  70. Debbie Kaufman wrote:

    It is the interpretation as it is wrong and that needs to be examined and changed not the written words of scripture.

    I think some of us are having trouble with your terms. Interpretation vs. written? If the KJV and the NRSV have a contradiction how are both correct. Can you expand on how this would work and how you apply your two “terms”?

    Not being snarky. I really want to know.

  71. @ Lynn:

    Lynn: See my answer below to another who asked a similar question. Short answer, there are no contradictions in scripture. It’s the reader’s interpretation that is flawed and should be changed because all of scripture flows together beautifully with no contradiction.

  72. Lynn: How are both correct? They just are. Both correct that is. It’s a matter of faith. I can’t prove this anymore than I can prove the sun rises in the morning and sets at night, other than we know that they do. Both are correct. I read scripture and I believe every single word that I read as God said, even in any translation that I read. All are the scriptures. God miraculously preserves the Bible even in the translations that we currently have. This is what I believe. I have no problem with anyone reading any particular translation. In those pages and as one reads, the Holy Spirit works in the same way. And the Gospel message is not compromised at all.

  73. Lynn: I don’t understand your question concerning interpretation vs. written. I didn’t say anything like this.

    By interpretation I mean this. You can read a novel for example or a letter. You read the words and interpret in your mind what those written words mean. That is what I mean by interpretation.

  74. It has been an interesting year.

    Best comment on this post – “Gospel maids.”

    We have all types in our church on how kids should be raised and what they, especially girls, should pursue.

    Different families do different things, and I am fine with that. It’s only when 1 model is claimed as being God’s model that it becomes problematic.

    And people’s opinions change over time, as they grow and mature and deal with real life circumstances.

    I don’t see any problem with people signing Bibles. It’s really the attitude in the signer and the person having the Bible signed that is the issue. I have had a couple of Bibles given to me, and the persons giving them signed them. I never saw a problem with that. I also have study Bibles with notes etc. I see no problem with that. And I see no problem asking a speaker to sign a Bible as a memorial that you heard that person speak, and wanted to memorialize it. I did it as a young man, but don’t do it any more because I haven’t heard anyone I wanted to do that in years. Mother Theresa and Corrie Ten Boon (sp?) and Richard Wurmbrand (are gone.)

    I also believe in inerrancy, but also believe in lots of other ways to express complete confidence in the Bible. For those of you having questions about that, I would recommend getting scholarly discussions from the various proponents of such theories. That would help answer your questions.

    The best approach to take regarding the Bible, I believe, as a disciple of Christ, is to follow Christ’s approach to and reverence for the Scripture.

    Let’s hope 2013 is a good year.

  75. Hester wrote:

    Another interesting story you may have missed:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/12/the-purity-cultures-mangled-relationship-advice.html
    Tim Challies has apparently implied publicly that it doesn’t matter if a young man is no longer attracted to his Christian girlfriend.

    While I at times have disagreed with conservative Christian organizations about how they teach about the topics of singleness, marriage, etc., I’m not sure what the problem is with what Challies wrote.

    As an egalitarian, I do find the comments where Challies wrote (paraphrasing), “Men, are you totally sure the little lady you have your eye on will submit to you after marriage?” about gender and marriage to be nauseating, for sure.

    I am not seeing what is so hideous or unrealistic about Challies’ (other) views, unless I am misunderstanding what was written.

    The author of the page you linked to, Libby Anne, says,

    If pressed, they [the Christian authors] can insist that they didn’t say physical and emotional attraction don’t matter at all. They just said those things should play only a limited role.

    What is wrong with that view?

    I don’t dispute Challies’ viewpoint that to almost everyone (male and female) physical appearance matters in romance, and one should not perhaps make it the biggest criteria in dating or marriage, but where I take issue is that too many Christians do not actually live by this view, or do not adhere to it consistently.

    Often, these Christian authors, preachers, or blogs will advise young (or older) unmarried Christian men to stop being so picky and demanding about a woman’s physical appearance.

    However, these types of writers will then lecture the young (or older), Christian women how all men, even the Christian ones, are “visually wired” to want hot, sexy, skinny young things, so missy, you better lay off the ice cream and hit the gym, and wear lip stick WHILE you are working out!

    These people don’t even know what the unmarried Christian woman reading their publications look like, yet the people writing these blogs always assume the unmarried, Christian females (particularly the ones over the age of 30) reading their blogs must be ugly, fat, frumpy hags.

    So, on the one hand, many conservative Christian groups tell men “stop fixating on sexiness and consider character and personality, too” (which is, in my opinion, perfectly fine advice).

    But then they turn right around and tell single Christian ladies, “If you want a man, lose weight you, ugly porker, and wear blush, high heels, and mascara, because your looks do totally matter.”

    There is even a Christian dating advice book for teen girls (reviewed on CBE’s site with quotes from the book), whose two Christian lady authors basically tell young females reading their book that while Godly character, brains, and personality should matter to Christian men…

    That in the long run, God created males to be super picky about physical beauty, and sexist little pigs…

    So if you ever want a man, you can’t be ugly or overweight, because men don’t care all that much about your winning personality, so here are some dieting tips, you unlovable, unappealing fatty.

    The author of the page, Libby Anne, said,

    …the purity culture’s answer is to simply dump physical and emotional attraction entirely. Their answer is to make marriage about choosing someone who fits a checklist of godly character qualities and assuming that that’s all that’s needed to make things work.

    Oh my stars no, not entirely, or not consistently.

    We unmarried Christian women get told all the time in Christian articles, books, and blogs about dating and marriage how much the sexy sexy matters to Christian males, and if we don’t have a man, it must be because we are physically repulsive trolls.

    We are often told to get cosmetic surgery, go jogging, eat nothing but celery sticks, and get our hair fixed, pronto.

    The so-called “purity culture” that the author criticizes doesn’t actually support purity, LOL! (At least not the mainstream variety of that culture, I can’t speak to the fringe.)

    Take it from a Christian someone who has not had sex into her 40s, the only people the Christian community actually supports in celibacy (“purity”) are the age bracket of about 14 to 25, maybe up to 30.

    Anyone over that age is on their own, is assumed by the Christian culture to be having sex anyway, but is assured all the time from Christian blogs and television shows, “it’s okay if you have committed sexual sin, because God will forgive your sexual sin.”

    If you have actually remained physically pure, as I have, past the age of 25 / 30, you get looked on by the Christian community with suspicion, or it’s thought you must be lying about your status, or you are thought to be an odd ball, loser, a homosexual, you have “too much baggage,” you must be obese, ugly, or it is assumed God magically revoked your sexual desires, etc.

    The author said,

    As I’ve pointed out before, they [Christians writing about marriage] act as if any man can make it work with any woman – as though people are no more than puzzle pieces.

    That is true. I have seen some Christian marriage experts – they are introduced as “marriage experts” on television shows – say this sort of thing.

    These marriage experts treat Christians as though they are interchangeable widgets in a machine, pertaining to marriage and dating. They believe any old Christian man can be paired up with any old Christian woman.

    They think the only thing required to make a Christian marriage work is if each partner knows Jesus.

    A big ‘no’ on that. There are Christians I did not like to hang out with as friends, so I avoided them. The Apostle Paul got into arguments with Peter and other New Testament guys and parted company with some of them, and we’re talking about people who all met Jesus in person at some point.

    Clearly, it takes something more than knowing Jesus to have lasting relationships (romantic or platonic) with other people.

    The author said,

    Both [Christian marriages] ended up in the situations they are in today – broken hearts and deteriorating marriages – because of the teachings of men like Challies. These ideas don’t exist in a vacuum. These ideas have consequences

    The same can be said for a lot of secular relationship ideals and attitudes, and relationship advice. Non-Christian divorce rates are high too, and they sometimes marry for unwise reasons.

  76. @ Lynn:

    I think the standard understanding (which will be disputed only by the King James Only guys) is that any translation / version of the Bible is correct and trustworthy in so far as it has accurately translated from the underlying original languages.

    We no longer have the Biblical autographa (the very first, original copies) but do not need them since we do have (particularly in the case of the New Testament have thousands) of manuscripts, copies of the originals (and some of the copies are early) from which the original readings can be reconstructed.

  77. anaonymous, at 9:27:

    “The best approach to take regarding the Bible, I believe, as a disciple of Christ, is to follow Christ’s approach to and reverence for the Scripture.”

    This would be limited to writings in the OT, then, right?

  78. Quote,

    … we noted that 40% of self-identified “nones” still held onto their faith. They just did not want to be part of the church culture.

    I am of the opinion that at least one reason why more and more are leaving church is that most churches and denominations are not meeting the needs (especially the emotional needs) of the average Janes and Joes who attend weekly, and they are dismal about expressing, or even having, empathy for people who admit to having problems or to hurting. They prefer either issuing judgement or platitudes towards the hurting.

    Quote:

    “on the issue of fraud and young earth creationism here.”

    Aww, I am a Young Earth Creationist.

    Quote,

    Mark Driscoll- most number of posts

    He is the train wreck or Jerry Springer of contemporary Christianity, or one of the biggest ones. It’s hard to look away from a freaky side show.

    Quote,

    John Piper … says women do not have to ask their husbands’ permission to go to the bathroom here

    That’s all good. But what about widowed, never married, or divorced women? Are we in the clear on that, or are we supposed to never drink anything and keep our legs crossed at all times?

  79. Daisy

    TWW offfers a “we’ve got you covered” insurance policy. For a nominal, annual fee, my husband will say that he offically has you covered. We will also send you a certificate, printed on Staples “90 brightness” paper, proving this coverage He says, as a symbol of his good will, that he will give you, free of charge, his permission to use the restrooms in any and all settings. If you find this service of help, you may invest in our more extensive coverage.

  80. @ Shato:

    I know I get disheartened when I come across Christians who are hypocritical or who don’t seem loving, but…

    To be fair, Non Christians can be hypocritical at times, or make painful or rude comments.

    I think part of the issue is that because someone says she (or he) follows Christ, we expect a higher standard of behavior from him/her, whereas, I guess most of us don’t expect sterling character or behavior from Non-Christians.

    With a self professing Christian, you can immediately conjure up some set of standards you think they should be following, but you can’t really do that so easily with someone who is not one, or you might not expect the Non Christian to follow Christian values (or not consistently). It makes judging believers much easier to have standards or a set of rules to compare them to.

  81. @ dee:

    Oh that is a relief! I am broke, but I can repay in the form of bringing my charming personality around to this blog every so often – or that might result in a heavier fee or a banning? LOL :)

  82. Hi Debbie

    Happy New Year! Its good to hear from you.

    I learned that Scripture interprets Scripture from an Arminianist preacher which means that every serious student of Scripture takes that approach, no matter the theoloigcal bent.

    Question: How do you handle the fact that the earliest manuscripts do not include the story of the woman caught in adultery? Was the Bible that we had, until recently, in error by including that story?

    As you know, I neither adhere to Calvinism or Arminianism-believing that it is a far more complex than an “either or” choice. Here is my probem with one perspective being more obvious than the other. I am not the brightest bulb in the pack. When I look at excellent theologians and preachers who come out on all sides of this issue, I have come to a personal conclusion that the issue is not solvable in this world. I have studied the Scriptures for myself, read so many of the most persuasive Christians on all sides, and I am still stumped. 

    I have so many questions that are not answered by one stream of theology or another. But, then again, I have always had too many questions. My mother begged the local elementary school to take me a year early because she was overwhlemed with my constant questions. Recently she said that I still have not settled down in the question department. Thankfully, the Almighty gives me even more questions to ponder. I look forward to discovering the answers in the world to come.

    So, color me firmly in the “I don’t know” department. I see all sides and no sides. One morning I feel more reformed, the other I am ready to embrace “walk the aisle.”

    Hows the weather in Enid? It is cold and rainy here.

     

  83. Moniker you’re right I am speculating. And I didn’t mean to give the impression that Shannon Harris wanted the job. I do know she was a new believer (from what I remember) and CLC was a large church.

    And the thing is I’m fine with that. I’m fine that she may not have felt prepared or even called to the task.

    But here’s the thing, and bear with me as I try to explain…

    I trust you understand SGM adheres to a strict form of gender hierarchy. Woman are barred from taking on leadership positions within any sphere of the church. The Mahaney’s believe our culture is literally “polluted with the air of feminism.” Anyone familiar with CJ is aware of his militancy in this area. Keeping women in their place is so important to Mahaney that he likens it to preserving the integrity of the gospel. In his church, in CLC, the flagship, women were a threat to the gospel the moment they walked through the doors. Men were the leaders. All men. And women were the followers. And the house was where they belonged. There were no opportunities given to women aside from that of children’s ministry. The only women who were given any kind of spiritual authority were the wives of pastor’s and to a lesser degree caregroup leader’s wives.

    A woman was never recognized for her leadership skills, nor were her spiritual gifts given any recognition unless her husband was recognized as a leader. A woman could have no more authority or leadership than that if her husband.

    But like I said, this was something automatically assumed if you were the wife of a leader. It was as though being married to a man made you a leader, because through him you were expected to rise to a place of prominence in response to or as a demonstration of his skill as a leader in the home and as a husband. To not show this potential didn’t reflect well on the husband, and that could be a problem.

    I’m not saying every leaders wife was expected to lead other women in her husband’s sphere, but she was expected to participate together with him. And only the wife, no other woman, would ever be called upon to co-labor in any sense with any of the men. A woman had to be married to the man she served with in ministry. And like I said, there was an automatic spiritual authority she carried within the church as the wife of a pastor. SGM would deny this, but its totally true.

    I cannot think of any other situation in SGM where you had a Senior Pastor and a woman other than his wife being in charge or overseeing the women’s ministry. CLC is one of the few that I was ever aware of. Carolyn Mahaney remained in charge of the women of CLC after her husband was no longer a pastor there. Contrary to what she taught, she had a job, a position and she kept it in spite of the fact she was no longer the wife of the Senior Pastor. She may have been the wife of the SGM president, but by what right did she also take on the role of the wife of the CLC pastor Josh Harris?

    There’s also that bit of history where there was an expectation that Josh Harris would marry Nicole Mahaney. It certanly seemed to be her desire. And he lived with the Mahaney’s in their home. CJ talked about how he was like his son. I’m 99% certain the Mahaneys worked hard to bring about more than just a family feel. They kept Joshua continuosly exposed to their daughter’s in every hope that a relationship woul form that would result in marriage. Then one of their daughters would carry on the leadership role as a pastor’s wife and CLC would remain safely under Mahaney control.

    Relinguishing control of the women’s ministry to the authority of Joshua Harris as the Senior Pastor, without him being married to one of the Mahaney girls, was giving over too much authority, too much control. And it would take away Carolyns platform too, you see? Because once CJ left his post as Sr. Pastor, where did that leave Carolyn? She couldn’t go out and start a ministry of her own. She had to stay connected to the church so she would have a job. A position. Because SGM women don’t get jobs. Certainly not the Mahaney women. Any identity they get to have outside of the home is derived from their husband’s role as a Pastor. That gives them a position and a place of authority. And incidently, all of the girls are married to SGM PASTORS. If not, they would be nobodies as women in the church. Their husband’s have to be somebodies. And CJ has made sure of that. Look what’s happened. You have all the girls and their husband’s down there together in Louisville, all part of the “authority” of the church.

    So I don’t know what haoened or why Joshua was not allowed to function as the true Senior Pastor, and why the Mahaneys kept control of CLCs women’s ministry. I think it was so Carolyn could retain her platform. Also, she had the CLC Pastors wives completely under her control. The kind of stuff I witnessed was pathetic. Seriously, she had those women feeling afraid of her, although it was masked behind this annoying awe. You had to be in awe of Carolyn Mahaney if you were a Pastors wife. And I’m telling you, I was disgusted at the way she received accolades after accolades, as if praising her was some kind of requirement, which it was.

    And because of her influence, I think its made it virtually impossible for CLC leadership to truly come together. I’d be asking the question of the Pastors wives as to how they feel about Carolyn. And if I were them, and my heart was in the right place for them to move forward together as a unit, I would be so so so glad that she’s gone.

  84. Muff–

    “Muff is chief kitchen-cleaner-upper & general scullery person.

    Although he can move stuff (the Queen’s stuff) at will to wipe down counters & such, if it is not all put back to within a millimeter, the Queen (Mrs. Muff) will become wroth and Muff’s ass will become as grass.”
    ********

    Muff, you’re hilarious.

    I consider the kitchen to be my office (where most of the tools of the domestic engineer trade are kept). I tell my husband to imagine what he would do if I came into his office and, in pursuit of a project I was working on, gathered all his papers, notebooks, & post-its, put them here and there — drawers, trays, hanging files, boxes in the closet. And then
    I attempt to make the correlation to the kitchen as “my office”, where all my tools and works in progress are housed. He always a little bemused.

    Mrs. Muff is very lucky to have you as a “scullery person”. I did a little research — the male form of the word maid (as in “scullery maid”) would be “houseboy”. So, perhaps technically you are the “scullery boy”.

  85. @ dee, regarding some of your posts about SBC and Calvinism.

    Re:

    “The Calvinistas will portray themselves as the only identifiable Christians.”

    I can see that happening.

    But, about 12 or 13 years ago, when I began investigating other denominations (I was seriously considering leaving the Southern Baptist denomination), I started looking at denominations that believe in Calvinism, among other ones that don’t.

    I read a little bit about Calvinism, then I began e-mailing Calvinists and different churches that believe in it and asking them about it.

    They kept saying on their sites that only “the elect” are saved and going to Heaven.

    So I asked them, “How do I get to be one of the elect, or, how do I tell if I’m one of the elect?”

    (I was taking these people seriously. I was willing to consider that maybe my understanding of salvation and the Gospel was all wrong.)

    None of them seemed to be clear about salvation, or how to tell who gets to be elect.

    A small number of them told me because I am concerned about my eternal fate and the elect question, I must be one of the elect, because Hell-bound sinners have no interest in this stuff at all (according to them).

    After having talked to Calvinists, it sounded to me as though most Calvinists don’t know if they are truly Christian (“elect”) or not, or who is, exactly.

    I’ve seen Calvinists who are arrogant about it, though – a few I came across claimed they know that they know that THEY are the elect (and some include their spouses, kids, parents, etc. as being the elect), but they question everyone else’s ‘election’ as not being sure.

    When I see that many Calvinists can’t definitively tell me who is the elect and who is not, or how does one go about becoming elect, and they say they don’t know, it makes me think about that verse from 1 John 5:13,

    I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    It looks to me as though Bible says you can know with certainty if you’re elect and how to be the elect.

  86. @ Nicholas:

    Someone can be totally wrong about King James Only (and King James Only is indeed, so very, very wrong) but can still right about other stuff. :)

    This is usually something lost on King James Onlys.

    They are so far into that “separate” stuff, I used to (when I used to have a site about theology and cutls) have them chew me out for linking to sites where I agreed with only one page on said site but not the rest of the site.

    It was that factor, and also, years ago, many of them did not understand the nature of the internet. They think if you link to a site, you must own that other site, or approve of everything on it.

    Seriously, I had a King James Only guy or two e-mail me telling me to remove some pages on some site – it was someone else’s site I had nothing to do with. He assumed it was my site because I had linked to a page on it from mine.

    I later worked for a boss who was just as clueless about the internet (and my job was kind of internet- related), which made working there painful.

  87. @ Evie:

    Holy cow, based on everything you said about those people and how obsessed they are with keeping power and control, and keeping other people down, (and entire categories of other people down, ie, women), are they totally oblivious to this teaching of Jesus Christ:

    Luke 22: 25-30, from v 25, 26:

    Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that.

  88. Anon 1 wrote:

    Mohler, who has written about marrying young and how selfish couples are for not having children or waiting to have children…

    This is one thing that drives me up the wall about the gender complementarians or the Christians who pout all the time about how marriage is faltering in the United States, is the blaming that goes on about delayed marriage, or perpetual singlehood for others.

    They act like we have complete control to get married any time we want to. Like, how when I want a pizza, I can just order one off the phone or buy one at the grocery store anytime I want. They act like getting a spouse is like getting a pizza.

    I honestly thought God would have provided me with a spouse by the time I was 30, or by 35, and certainly before the big 4-0, but it didn’t happen.

    I went to a few churches here and there over the years, tried a dating site or two, but could not meet hardly any men, and the ones I did? They weren’t right for me. I was not too picky, and I was not placing my career before marriage.

    These complementarians don’t seem to understand there are two people involved in getting married. I don’t really have much control over when or if I marry, unless I choose to have no standards at all. I suppose if you have no standards, it’s possible to get married to anyone.

    About the child thing. Wouldn’t it be wrong if you are married, but you have little to no desire at all to have children, but only have them to please Mohler, or people like him, or someone else’s expectations?

    The New Testament teaches that God’s family is increased via spiritual conversion, not physical procreation. I don’t see any commandments in the New Testament ordering Christians to reproduce.

  89. Evie wrote:

    …So, you got to give the Mahaneys some credit for their energy and industry. They’re certainly not lazy people. But they have worked to construct a type of tower that they designed, one in which others have to labor according to their will. And they think its their tower that is THE gateway to heaven…

    I got exhausted just reading all that.

    How it sounds so different from Matthew 10:28-30 (Jesus speaking),

    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

  90. @Eagle on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 03:00 PM

    Appreciate your rich thoughts about Dee and Deb the wonderful and faithful Blog Queens! Go Girls Go!!!

    @Deb
    “And to think that I was hesitant to start blogging because I didn’t think there would be enough to write about…”

    Hahahahaha! And the rest–is history!

    Happy New Year–Ladies and All!

  91. @ dee:

    I’m not Debbie but… if memory serves, some of the earlier mss left empty space for the ‘woman caught in adultery’ story to appear, as though the scribe were thinking whether to include it or not.

    I remember one source I read speculated that it could be that the woman caught in adultery story really happened and was a story passed down orally but just was not committed to writing as early as the other stories.

    I have other books about the history of the Bible and Bible translations I could probably consult about it. It’s been years since I looked at this stuff.

  92. @ dee:

    As you know, I neither adhere to Calvinism or Arminianism

    I don’t believe in, or completely agree, with either Calvinism or Arminianism, which really confuses Calvinists.

    I do think both positions might be somewhat correct on some points, but I am neither one.

    Most Calvinists I’ve come across online can’t conceive of a reality where both are wrong, or can be wrong.

    They think one has to be either one or the other, either one or the other has to be wrong. They can’t wrap their heads around the fact that maybe both positions are wrong.

  93. This is about Christian network TBN, about the grand daughter of Jan and Paul Crouch Sr. claiming she was raped when she was 13 years old by a 30 year old TBN employee, and that her grandparents covered it up:

    Suit alleges TBN covered up rape of 13-year-old

    There are many more links on that page, to recent stories about other TBN trouble, like the Crouches fired their other grand daughter because she was about to expose some kind of financial misdeeds at TBN.

  94. Evie – thanks for your reply. I do understand what you’re talking about, having spent 30 years in SGM, and five of those at CLC. I also experienced the pressure put on wives of leaders, albeit at a much lower level in the hierarchy, as my husband was a care group leader for a number of years. I think your analysis is pretty accurate, from what I’ve seen personally. I’m so glad to be out.

  95. @Dee, you are most welcome and the labradoodles will love you. Have just returned to mountain country where there is no beach and no gorgeous Great Dane, who disappeared by following another sucker. I even volunteer to cook up a Peta Mathias food storm. Cheese and apple gougeres? I can see you undertaking a TWW couch surfing expedition extraordinaire…

  96. Evie

    That has to be one of the most interesting looks into SGM I have ever read. You certainly spent your time in that system. I always wondered why Harris did not marry one of the Mahaney girls. Perhaps, even then, there were glimpses into the difficulties of being tied to Mahaney.

  97. gavin white,

    As the mother of two grown children, I find it most interesting when those with young children share their parenting advice. They’ve got a long road ahead…

  98. Daisy

    It has always been a curiousity to me that the “elect” assume that their kids will be the elect. My understanding is that God does the choosing, the choice is not based on merit and therefore it has nothing to do with the parents. So, why do ministries make pastors step down if their kids are rebellious. It’s not as if the parents can do anything about htat if they have a nonelect kids. And what about all the books, etc about growing godly kids? No matter how hard you try, you can’t make someone become elect.

    However, most Calvinists that I know “know” their kids are the elect. There is even a Calvinista pastor here, well loved in the Calvinista crowd, who called my friends “unregenerate” because they opposed his view on the role of women in the diaconate. So, it appears that they believe that God has given them the ability to judge “elect.” Why is it that their friends are all the elect?

    Once again, Dee falls over the question cliff.

  99. Daisy

    I had a KJVO guy go after me in the early days of this blog. I knew I was headed for trouble with him so I told him that I deeply disagreed with him and told him that I would not allw him to hijack the blog for a KJVO debate. 

  100. Daist

    The problme with oral tradition within the Protestant faith is that it has never been accepted like it has in the Catholic tradtion. Sola Scriptura means precisely that. My view on the Bible is that it is authoritative and effective for salvation. It is the witness to God’s story on this earth. The Bible certainly does that.

    So, when a story that we thought was in the Bible is later to be found not in the earliest manuscripts, it does not change my point of view. The removal of that story does not change the Biblical narrative one iota.

  101. I’ve read here but never commented before, as a long time member of clc, I would agree with Evies account on 1/1@10:56pm. I haven’t read all the comments on this subject, but I agree with this one. So many times I have wanted to say something. I know first hand about some of what is being talked about. I would like to see this power structure taken down.

  102. The whole inerrancy issue is very uncomfortable for people. It has become one of those issues that if you question, people think you are disrespecting Holy Scripture. That facts are that translators throughout history have added words that are not there, changed words that bring a different meaning and other sorts of things. That is another reason we have translation nazi’s like the ESV or KJO folks.

    There are periods of history that common people had no clue what the scriptures said because only “official” people were allowed to read it. I do not think for one minute there are people who were not saved because they were not allowed to read the scripture. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to those who believe and the Holy Spirit is a witness to us for truth.

    I do think there is some confusion about the Bible. When Jesus referred to the scriptures he was not referring to the NT at all. And the “word” in the NT refers to Jesus Christ Himself.

    There are contradictions in the “translations” that a reader would need to pursue with the help fo the Holy Spirit. Not mere humans. One glaring example is in 1 Corin 11 which contradicts the translation of 1 Corin 14. Sadly,this is in most modern translations and has wrecked havoc in the Body of Christ for centuries.

    If anything, I fear too much focus has been on periphial issues and not on the grand narrative. Like Dee, I like to ask questions and one I had as a kid was how did Moses write about his own death in such detail if he wrote the Pentateuch. NOw I do not believe he did. I believe it was oral tradition written because of the Babylonian exile. And I do not believe things like that change the Glory of God at all.

  103. Anon 1 wrote:

    The whole inerrancy issue is very uncomfortable for people. It has become one of those issues that if you question, people think you are disrespecting Holy Scripture.

    Inerrancy: Just like the Koran, dictated word-for-word by Al’lah to Mohammed.

    If anything, I fear too much focus has been on periphial issues and not on the grand narrative. Like Dee, I like to ask questions and one I had as a kid was how did Moses write about his own death in such detail if he wrote the Pentateuch. NOw I do not believe he did. I believe it was oral tradition written because of the Babylonian exile.

    Because the Bible is NOT a Spiritual Engineering Manual or Checklist of Fact, Fact, Fact. Using terminology from one pulp fiction writer, they are “The Old, Old Stories” of God and Man. The Old, Old Stories of first the Jews, then the Christians. Oral tradition at first (in the case of Torah), then written down.

  104. gavin white wrote:

    Does anyone like the 1599 Geneva Bible translation?
    Gavin

    I have not read all of it, but do not have a problem with what I have read. I could pick up any translation of the Bible and be able to read and glean from it.

    For example, @ dee:

    Dee: I have to just be straight with you in that I believe the women caught in adultery was in the original manuscripts. I have not seen evidence that would convince me otherwise. Again, it has to do with faith. I am not 100% reformed in that I am a believer in Grace and the New Covenant, but I do embrace and see in scripture a lot of the Reformed theology such as election and TULIP. I believe strongly in these concepts.

    I do not believe that women are not a part of the church nor do I agree with those who believe God hates. I do not agree with the lack of freedom and the abuse that is out there. I disagree with as much as I agree with. I am saying that we need to be reading scripture to filter out what is wrong theologically and what is correct. It can be done.

    For example, much of what Wade has been preaching can be checked out and I believe found in scripture. If it is there, I believe it. I in faith, believe all of scripture to be true and the Word of God no matter what men say. Does that answer? I do not think a lot of Reformed theology need be thrown out without a Biblical examination. I believe that much of what the Reformed teach is Biblical and true. Some is not.

  105. The words of the 1689 Baptist Confession sum up my view quite well:

    The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of its writing was most generally known to the nations) were immediately inspired by God, and were kept pure through subsequent ages by His singular care and providence. They are therefore authentic , so that in all controversies of religion , the church must appeal to them as final.
    But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God who have a right to, and an interest in the Scriptures, and who are commanded to read and search them in the fear of God, the Scriptures are therefore to be translated into the ordinary language of every nation into which they come, so that, with the Word of God living richly in all, people may worship God in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.

    The infallible rule for the interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself, and therefore whenever there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched by other passages which speak more clearly.
    The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and by which must be examined all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, and doctrines of men and private spirits can be no other than the Holy Scripture, delivered by the Spirit. And in the sentence of Scripture we are to rest, for it is in Scripture, delivered by the Spirit, that our faith is finally resolved.

    By the way Dee, we had a wonderful New Year and Christmas. Today is my birthday(said less loudly as the years go by).

  106. @ gavin white:

    Some of your personal humor, Gavin :)

    I’m pretty sure that translation along with the KJV (and many others) would have come through the filters of Calvinism.

    I think it would interesting to have a purely academic translation of the Bible from the origianal languages by the best scholars in their fields. It wouldn’t matter if they were Christians or not — just completely honest.

  107. dee wrote:

    The problme with oral tradition within the Protestant faith is that it has never been accepted like it has in the Catholic tradtion. Sola Scriptura means precisely that.

    And as entropy sets in, “Sola Scriptura” has a way of becoming “EES PARTY LINE, COMRADE!!! QUOTE!!! QUOTE!!! QUOTE!!! QUOTE!!! QUOTE!!!!!”

  108. dee wrote:

    However, most Calvinists that I know “know” their kids are the elect. There is even a Calvinista pastor here, well loved in the Calvinista crowd, who called my friends “unregenerate” because they opposed his view on the role of women in the diaconate. So, it appears that they believe that God has given them the ability to judge “elect.” Why is it that their friends are all the elect?

    Royal Bloodline (for the kids) and/or Old Boys’ Network (for the friends).

    Also known as the Divine Right of Calvinistas.

    “Oh, the more it changes
    The more it stays the same;
    And the Hand just rearranges
    The players in the game…”
    — Al Stewart, “Nostradamus”, 1973

  109. Elastigirl,

    Correct. The only scripture existing at the time of Jesus’ teaching was the OT.

    So having the reference for the OT scriptures that Jesus had is the proper approach for Jesus’ disciples.

    I feel certain that textual difficulties, questions about origins and time of writing etc. existed even in the first century, if not in the Jewish community alone, certainly in the dialogue between the pagans and the Jews.

    I suppose Jesus could engaged in all of that and straightened all of our questions out. I am glad he did not.

    Instead, all we find is very simple and complete trust and devotion by Jesus in the truth of the OT.

    Christians would do well to start here and be “Christ followers.”

    Jesus’ attitude toward the OT scriputre reflects the attitude of the psalmist in Ps. 119 very well.

    And of course, being God in the flesh, Jesus had the correct interpretation, which many in his generation had missed or did not have.

    As for the NT, we are left with the choice of believing the written testimony of Christ’s apostles about Christ and what he said and taught (and Jesus’ promise about what his followers would write about him.)

    There is no other historical Jesus, other than the Jesus portrayed in the NT. Unless we want to invent a Jesus we like better, which is what people have been trying to do since Jesus’ time.

    The same is true of the epistles and Revelation. They stand as a witness of Christ’s apostles.

    Of course, we are free to choose not to believe any of this. This is all a faith based thing.

    Or we are free to inject some unbelief into the equation to coexist with our belief in the places where it suits us.

    Of course, those who choose to do so have the burden of explaining their approach and why they approach things in such a fashion.

    I hope that this is helpful to you.

    There are some really good books written on this topic from the perspective of those who believe in the OT and the NT and the Jesus presented in the NT.

    There are also books written by persepctives that completley disbelieve in the truth of the scriptures, and those that fall somewhere in believing some and not believing other portions.

  110. @ gavin white:
    Although my old church is “ESV Only” from the pulpit, several members carry Very Large Geneva Bibles. I never asked them about their choice, assuming it was due to an abundance of Calvinist commentary. A quick search today reveals the Geneva Bible to be greatly beloved by Oliver Cromwell and Kirk Cameron!
    By contrast, at my new church, a couple people (including women– don’t tell Mr Challies) have read aloud from The Message. Not one I’d want to study from, but at least it’s in modern English!

  111. Turtle

    Thank you for backing up Evie’s account. I have gottten to know her over time and am aware of her story within SGM. I want to see the pain in the stories be acknowledged by those who were involved. When we asked a local famous pastor to intervene and speak to hsi friend CJ, we were attacked and were accused of character assassination. Well, the character of SGM is now on trial. I wonder if said pastor has ever thought about those words.

  112. Dee said “It has always been a curiousity to me that the “elect” assume that their kids will be the elect”

    The way it was explained to me was through the the NT scripture that says the ‘child is sanctified by the believing spouse.’ this was taught to me during catechism at the Christian Reformed church and was one of their reasons for infant baptism. I was required to make a public ‘profession of faith’ at age 17 in order to partake of communion and become a separate from my parents member of that congregation. It meant nothing to me at the time, I just didn’t dare not to do it at the expected time with the rest of my church peers.
    Quite a few years later when I wasn’t attending church at all but would occasionally attend my parents new found AG church, the CRC sent that church my membership which was accepted without me ever doing anything. What I find curious is how no one ever sat down with me to find out what kind of, or if I even had any relationship God, which I did not.

  113. Patti

    Fascinating. So a child, who at the age of 14 who says they do not believe in God cannot say that sicne they are sanctified? In other words, at which age must they “fess” up to the faith? Is it then the  parent’s fault if the child is rebellious?

  114. Daisy wrote:

    The author of the page, Libby Anne, said,

    …the purity culture’s answer is to simply dump physical and emotional attraction entirely. Their answer is to make marriage about choosing someone who fits a checklist of godly character qualities and assuming that that’s all that’s needed to make things work.

    Has Libby Anne ever heard of the phrase “Our Duty to The Party”? (G.Orwell, 1984)

    And I can attest from experience (flushing over a grand down the crapper of Christian dating services in the Nineties) that the “checklist of godly character qualities” mentioned above describes a Christian Edward Cullen (sparkle sparkle) so “godly” and “spiritual” than even Christ Himself couldn’t measure up.

  115. Hmmm?

    Different Bible Versions? What are we gonna do?

    How about – ALL Versions are written just the way God wants them written.

    One of the really cool things about the Bible is… (And I have 30 Versions on my computer)
    We can ALL use the Bible, quote from the Bible, to validate our life style, our “I believes.”

    And now, with ALL these different versions, I can enjoy reading ALL of them…
    And then choosing the version that best fits with what – “I believe.” ;-)

    How good is God. ;-)

    Or, I can choose the one that best de-bunks the stated beliefs of todays un-qualified “Pulpiteers.”
    You know the ones – Those who take “Titles” NOT in the Bible – NO matter what version.
    Those who call themselves “Elder/Overseers” but do NOT meet the qualifications.
    Those “Pastors who Abuse.” Those “Pastors addicted to Exercising Authority and Control.”

    It’s the things you learn after you know it all – that really count.

    Yup – I’ve found ALL Versions have a benefit. ALL things work together for good…
    All we have to do is look for Jesus – And what is Jesus saying to me in this version…

    Jesus really loves me…

  116. Daisy wrote:

    They act like we have complete control to get married any time we want to. Like, how when I want a pizza, I can just order one off the phone or buy one at the grocery store anytime I want. They act like getting a spouse is like getting a pizza.

    Haven’t you heard all the Christian Testimonies(TM) about “How I Met My Wife/Husband”? God delivered the pizza in question just like Domino’s, via direct miracle.

    I honestly thought God would have provided me with a spouse by the time I was 30, or by 35, and certainly before the big 4-0, but it didn’t happen.

    I’m 57 and it never happened. And what I’ve seen of Christian(TM) women does not impress me.

    These complementarians don’t seem to understand there are two people involved in getting married.

    No, they don’t. Only the man is “people”; the woman is just an accessory called a “wife”.

    About the child thing. Wouldn’t it be wrong if you are married, but you have little to no desire at all to have children, but only have them to please Mohler, or people like him, or someone else’s expectations?

    Again, “Our Duty to The Party” (G.Orwell, 1984).

    With (if you’re a Reconstructionist as well as a Complementarian/Male Supremacist), an additional duty to Outbreed the Heathen.

    “We Conquer the Lands of the Infidel! Our Wombs Shall Be Our Weapons!” (Attributed to an Extremist Islamic Euro-Mullah)

  117. Daisy wrote:

    Quote,

    Mark Driscoll- most number of posts
    He is the train wreck or Jerry Springer of contemporary Christianity, or one of the biggest ones. It’s hard to look away from a freaky side show.

    “Jerry Springer of contemporary Christianity” — GREAT ONE-LINER!

  118. HUG,Debbie, Anon1, et al

    There is more to inerrancy than mere words. The words of the Bible were meant to be applied. I call it “the rules of the game.” In otehr words, it is not just the written words, it is what is done with the written words. The fact that we have  thousands of “denominations” within Protestants, along with the split with Catholics and a myriad of Orthodox, it is obvious that we have an interpretation problem.

    If God wanted these words to be understood and practiced accordingly, He would have made them saliently clear, wouldn’t He? Yet, students of the faith deeply disagree with the “understanding” and then develop practices that differentiate us from one another-infant baptism vs believer baptism; Calvinism vs Armianism as another example.

    We are left with a couple of ways to handle this. We can tell all those who disagree with our interpretation that they are unregenerate or are biblically stupid.Then we invent the perfect little commune of the “real” Christians. Or we begin to admit that the Bible is not alway clear on these subissues and agree that we major on the majors. I am of the latter point of view. However, some the Calvinistas are redefining major issues to include gender roles, etc.

  119. dee

    Enjoying your explanation. We have literly thousands of Denominations.
    And most will say – “the Bible is the Word of God.” And ALL dis-gree about sumptin… ;-)

    Today when someone attempts to end, or win, the discussion with – “It Is Clearly Written.”

    I send them this from the Dictionary on my computer…

    clearly
    Exaggerators like this word, along with its cousins
    ( obviously, undeniably, undoubtedly, and the like).
    Often a statement prefaced with one of these words is conclusory,
    and sometimes even exceedingly dubious.
    As a result—though some readers don’t consciously realize it—
    **clearly and its ilk are ‘weasel words’**—
    that is, **unnecessary words* that supposedly intensify the meaning of a statement,
    but actually weaken it.

    Just how much clearly can weaken a statement is evident in the following example,
    in which the author uses the word to buttress a claim about his own state of mind:

    “Clearly, I am not to be convinced that this is a small matter.”

    (Stephen White, The Written Word; 1984.).

    It’s clear to me that the Bible is clearly written for those who can see clearly thru mud.

    Yeah – If it’s so clear – How come we have thousands of denominations.

  120. Dee, my mother still doesn’t believe that I wasn’t a Christian then, even though I tell her that I meant it when I told my Dad I wanted nothing to do with this God you have rraised me to believe in. Ironically, I was 17 at the time. And I tell her the instant difference in my heart, soul and spirit from the day I believe that I actually became born again as Jesus described. I was 30. The only reconciling I can do with her belief and mine is that maybe there is some sort of reverse ‘Damascas road’ experience, meaning that the God I was rejecting wasn’t the true God, so I may have had a zeal for the true God, had I a true knowledge about God. My idea of God was that God was just a big male spirit in the sky and we were merely his molded chess pieces and he was just playing his games with us, and the game was fixed. And if we didn’t please him his wrath and hatred for us would wipe us off the chess board, but if it was fixed anyway, why even try?
    I really do believe that my mother had/has a true relationship with the Lord from her childhood, somehow even though all she ever knew was Calvinism, she never picked up on just how the Calvinistic God can be viewed, as not being righteous or holy at all, certainly nothing like Jesus. I think that lack of understanding is common among Calvinists who have always had a relationship with God. And the ones who don’t are just faking, hoping that they are elect.

  121. Dee>/b>

    But even on the “major” issues there is disagreement, whether we are talking about the divinity of Christ, the Trinity, Faith vs Grace, Bodily vs Spiritual Resurrection etc. Those differences also then impugn the general belief that the Holy Spirit helps “Christians” understand the Word of God in a way not available to non-believers.

  122. Fendrel

    There is a basis of belief that was captured by the Nicene Creed. The early church found it necessary to state the basic in order to differentiate itself from a number of beliefs that were outside of the faith. So, for us, the Nicene Creed explains the nonnegotiables.

  123. anonymous,

    “The same is true of the epistles and Revelation. They stand as a witness of Christ’s apostles.”
    ********************

    –“stand as a witness” — I don’t understand the language. Does that mean they agree? Or, at least, don’t contradict? Are you sure? If so, is that your basis for accepting every word of the epistles and Revelation as divinely inspired, & presumably inerrant / infallible?
    ————————————————————–

    “Of course, we are free to choose not to believe any of this. This is all a faith based thing.

    Or we are free to inject some unbelief into the equation to coexist with our belief in the places where it suits us.”
    ******

    –I may be mistaken, but it sounds like you’re shaming anyone who questions the bible. That anyone who does so is obviously doing it for their own convenience, & is taking the spiritual low road. Whereas a non-scrutinizing approach is heralded as the spiritual high road.
    ————————————————————————

    “Of course, those who choose to do so have the burden of explaining their approach and why they approach things in such a fashion.”

    –The onus is on those who have a very simple and complete trust and devotion in the truth of the bible from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 to explain their approach and why they approach things in such fashion.

    Simplistic explanations are entirely unconvincing and unsatisfactory. I don’t think christians who are in a christian-culture-bubble realize this.

  124. @ dee:

    We will have to agree to disagree and I do strongly disagree. I do believe so much of scripture is so clear. More than people want to believe. There are absolute truths. The Bible can be well understood if studied and read. The Holy Spirit which is in every born again Christian is the reason. It’s not complicated and one does not have to have a degree or even be a brain to understand it. It’s one of the few things I am adamant on.

  125. @ Daisy:

    My short answer to the Challies thing:

    1. Lots of people in the purity culture (which, in Libby Anne’s vocab, basically = Vision Forum) actually do teach that attraction before marriage is sin. The argument runs that if you get even just a crush on a guy whom you don’t end up marrying, you have committed “adultery” with another woman’s future husband. Logically, then, to avoid sin, you should not be attracted to your spouse until after you marry them. (Consistently applied, this teaching ought to lead to mandated celibacy for all Christians. It also happens to completely ignore the legal definition of adultery in the Bible, which is really funny coming from a bunch of theonomists.) So Libby Anne is not necessarily wrong to say the purity culture has dumped physical/emotional attraction.
    2. The young man seems to fully recognize and admire the godliness of his girlfriend. Also, they don’t appear to be engaged and certainly aren’t married so there’s not necessarily any promise-breaking involved here. Thus the real question is, if you’re not physically attracted to someone at all, should you marry them? I would say, for most people, no. Sex is one of the central and primary purposes of marriage and in most cases, a complete lack of attraction would make fulfilling the sexual duties of marriage unnecessarily difficult for one or both partners and probably set the couple up for affairs. It’s asking for trouble. (Personally, I know I certainly wouldn’t make a vow before God to commit sexually to someone who wasn’t even attracted to me.)
    3. Per whether attraction is “more important” than character, etc. in looking for a spouse – I think there are several things to look for in a spouse and that they tend to all be equally important. Attraction and spirituality are only two of them. I know guys who are attractive but have no character whatsoever, and Christian guys who have lots of character but are not attractive at all. I would not date a guy in either one of those categories. So I think the whole idea of there being one MOST important factor is a little artificial.

    I may post a longer more detailed answer tonight when I have more time. Also, good points in your response about singles and the double standard for women.

  126. I realize this offends so many but folks I believe in Christianity there are some things we cannot compromise on and this is one I can’t compromise on. God gave us the scriptures for a reason and it’s not to say that there are different religions so there is more than one truth. That is wrong.

  127. Not being particularly creedal, I prefer the Nicene to the one that misstates that Jesus descended into “hell”. The word so translated is “sheol”, which better translates “grave” than “hell”, so I do not say those words in that particular creed, even when in a church that recites the creed. My personal creed is: Jesus, God incarnate, loved me, forgave me, died for me, rose again and is in heaven, where he shall judge me, his loved child, and I will be with him, because I believe in him and his gift of love.

  128. turtle wrote:

    I’ve read here but never commented before, as a long time member of clc, I would agree with Evies account on 1/1@10:56pm. I haven’t read all the comments on this subject, but I agree with this one. So many times I have wanted to say something. I know first hand about some of what is being talked about. I would like to see this power structure taken down.

    Turtle, you are exactly right – it is the power structure that needs to be taken down. What we have seen is spiritual abuse coming from the top down.

    Debbie: Happy birthday!

    I have really enjoyed the discussion on Calvinism/elect/children of elders. So much of it is ringing true with my experiences. I find it so divisive. Where’s God in all of this mess?

  129. @ Hester: It’s much the same in SGM (whose Josh Harris wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye) and in other churches that follow Harris’ ideas/advice.

  130. Debbie,

    I believe that the Bible has been abused by scribes adding things in, mis-copying, omitting, etc. I also believe that many translators have mis-translated, e.g., the KJV which has many bad word choices that have been carried over into more recent translations. So I am careful when studying, to go to the oldest/best manuscript available on-line or in our home library (several hundred volumes in the section devoted to Christian faith), and read about the interpretation of the Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic words. Then, in prayer, I read the passage as I have translated it. As a result, I find the TNIV or NIV to be the closest most of the time, but not all, particularly if you get over the idea that God is of the male gender, and that writers’ use of the male includes the female most of the time, especially when there is no specific definite reference to a particular person.

    And I do not believe that the parables are literally true, but are theologically true, which is a higher order of truth. I treat most of the OT as parable, due to the oral tradition that was put in writing in Babylon after the texts were destroyed in the razing of Jerusalem. The reconstruction may have been guided by the holy spirit, but there are clearly some problems, like people living several hundred years, likely put in to cover for the lack of information about missing generations lost to antiquity.

  131. O.K. I get it, now. It took me a while.

    Your questions are not really questions.

    Do you have a perspective on the Bible that would explain how you approach it? And that is an honest question.

    You can say whatever you wish.

    I’ll let you have the last word.

    Numo:

    Indeed!

    That word makes me feel so smart!!

  132. Debbie

    Most of us do not want to compromise on the Scriptures either. Could you tell me what you mean by compromise? For example, I believe in an old earth. Is that a compromise? Which of the 50+ definitions of “yom”(day)  do I accept so that I do not compromise? I do not believe the sun rotates around the earth as the Bible says it does. Is that compromise? I believe that women can teach men even when Paul appears to say something different. Is that compromise? I do not wear a veil and I do have gold jewelry. Is that a compromise?

    I love the Scriptures and would never knowingly compromise them. That is our problem. There are differences on how to interpret secondary passages. And all of those interpretations are made by those who love the Scriptures and take those very seriously.I also believe that Christianity embodies the truth in spite of these disagreements. 

     

  133. Hi 56 years

    Happy New Year! Did you know that “descended into hell” is now being bracketed as optional? I am seeing that show up more and more. The Scripture is pretty clear. Jesus told the thief on the cross that “Today you will be with my in paradise.” So, I agree with you.

  134. @ dee: Hmm… I think that you’d have a hard time convincing anyone who’s a devout Orthodox xtian that Jesus *didn’t* at least “visit” the abode of the dead.

  135. @ dee: In fact, I am not terribly convincible (is that even a word?!) re. this, since Jesus *did* die – but Sheol is *not* the same thing as “hell.” Sheol is the abode of the dead.

    We have a serious problem with mistranslations of many terms, and this is one of them (Sheol, Tartarus and Gehenna being rendered with one word, “hell,” which doesn’t even begin to address what was meant by those words in their original languages).

  136. “–I may be mistaken, but it sounds like you’re shaming anyone who questions the bible. That anyone who does so is obviously doing it for their own convenience, & is taking the spiritual low road. Whereas a non-scrutinizing approach is heralded as the spiritual high road.

    Elastigirl, I got the same impression. The problem becomes when we question “inerrancy”. And that is totally different than questioning even whether it was inspired or not. But the ” Christian bubble culture speak” seems to have made them the same thing. It seems questioning the concept of inerrancy brings questions of whether you think Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. I can understand this position because I was once immersed in that culture. Now, I tend to want to understand word meanings and how so many different translations can all be inerrant.

    . What happened to me is that the more I studied it, the more I questioned inerrancy. Note: I did not say I questioned the Gospel or Jesus Christ as God in teh flesh. I believe the Holy Spirit affirms that truth. How could it be anything else since for centuries only official people were allowed to reaad scripture and tell others what it meant?

  137. The words of the 1689 Baptist Confession sum up my view quite well:

    “The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of its writing was most generally known to the nations) were immediately inspired by God, and were kept pure through subsequent ages by His singular care and providence. They are therefore authentic , so that in all controversies of religion , the church must appeal to them as final.”

    What is interesting about this is that Jesus and Paul both quoted from the Septuagint, often.

    But just a quick perusal of how divorce laws from the OT, and quoted by Christ in the NT, were so badly translated shows us the huge problems that become mainstream teaching out of very bad translations for many centuries.

    This example is one reason I am not a creedal or confessional person.

  138. Debbie Kaufman,

    “I do believe so much of scripture is so clear…. There are absolute truths. The Bible can be well understood if studied and read. The Holy Spirit which is in every born again Christian is the reason.”
    *************

    The Holy Spirit must have multiple personalities, then. Revealing certain things to some people with accompanying personality. Revealing different things to other people with a different accompanying personality.

    Honestly questioning and honestly frustrated.

  139. Debbie Kaufman,

    In recalling your comments above, I understand where you’re coming from. My impression is you have good grounds for believing as you do, which don’t rest on “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”.

    Can you take apart your beliefs a little more? Explain in more detail, articulate the basis of your beliefs on a finer level? I know it would take some time and mental energy, perhaps more than you have available.

  140. About “official people” – well, yes and no, since there were no vernacular translations of Scripture and also because very few people could read – many priests, nuns and monks were illiterate, and there are accounts of priests who lived in isolated areas having learned the liturgy by ear alone. (Sometimes not very well!)

    Books were precious, rare objects until the advent of movable type, and very few people had the resources to be able to purchase them.

    I think it was even harder for Western European Christians than for those in the Greek-speaking East, since Greek is a living language, but Latin… not so much.

  141. “I realize this offends so many but folks I believe in Christianity there are some things we cannot compromise on and this is one I can’t compromise on. God gave us the scriptures for a reason and it’s not to say that there are different religions so there is more than one truth. That is wrong.”

    As a REformed reader I can understand your position. If God controls every act and event then the translators could NOT be errant because God was controlling their written word choices which would ultimately be the same as Inspired. I just do not have that same filter. I think that filters brings more problems and scripture becomes a club and often very confusing for folks. I do believe we are given the Holy Spirit to discern truth and even problems with the text where we see some contradictions in translations. That only means to me we should discuss it with open minds. Not claim others are compromising or whatever if they question translation choices.

    I can remember being blown away at reading how one “jot” in a passage in Isaiah completely changed the meaning for women from demeaning them and contradicting other passages in the OT to not being about them at all! Was it translator error? Scribe error?

    I also remember doing a deep study on Gen 3 and finding the word Teshuqa translated as ‘turning” up until about the 1300’s and what a difference that made in how we read it. None of that would have happened if the Holy Spirit had not led me to go deeper and question the “translation”.

    I fear we have made translations of translations the 4th person of the Trinity. That is not really necessary when we have the Holy Spirit. From what I can glean from very early Christianity, doctrine (as we term it), was much less important than relationship with Christ and living as He lived. The wars, power struggles, blood being spilled in the name of Christ etc, started with the doctrinal wars of interpreting scriptures. I am talking so early as to many had not seen an Epistle we now know as part of the NT.

    The problem is when any intellectual, reason or logic is not allowed when we go straight to any suggestion that questioning inerrancy is a compromise. It shuts down learning and seeking to go deeper. But it is everywhere and I once bought into that, too.

  142. Forgot to mention that you had to have a good knowledge of Latin in order to be able to read the Bible and many other works (from science and medicine to treatises on things like geometry and architecture) for much of Western European history.

  143. “About “official people” – well, yes and no, since there were no vernacular translations of Scripture and also because very few people could read – many priests, nuns and monks were illiterate, and there are accounts of priests who lived in isolated areas having learned the liturgy by ear alone. (Sometimes not very well!)

    Books were precious, rare objects until the advent of movable type, and very few people had the resources to be able to purchase them.

    I think it was even harder for Western European Christians than for those in the Greek-speaking East, since Greek is a living language, but Latin… not so much.”

    Totally agree with this. I guess using “official” was not a good word choice. Perhaps you could suggest a better term? I just did not want to write more of a novel than I did. :o)

    The bottomline is that most people could not read the scriptures for themselves for various reasons…so what then? I guess that was my main point.

  144. Dee, You want an exercise in frustration? Go to Amazon and look for the TNIV for kindle.

    The propaganda war against the TNIV has been very successful.

  145. anonymous —

    I suspect the following was in response to my comment.

    “O.K. I get it, now. It took me a while.

    Your questions are not really questions.”
    ********

    –on the contrary. they are very honest questions. You’re picking up on my intense frustration with the subject matter. Masking frustration with a happy tone is not a prerequesite for dialogue between people who both believe in Father/Son/Holy Spirit. I sincerely desire dialogue, merely in a quest for deeper knowledge and understanding (of historical fact & probability & possibility, the many forms of truth, as well as spiritual mysteries).

    honest questions:
    1. ”stand as a witness” — I truly don’t understand the language. Does that mean they agree? Or, at least, don’t contradict? Are you sure? If so, is that your basis for accepting every word of the epistles and Revelation as divinely inspired, & presumably inerrant / infallible?

    2. I may be mistaken, but it sounds like you’re shaming anyone who questions the bible. That anyone who does so is obviously doing it for their own convenience, & is taking the spiritual low road. Whereas a non-scrutinizing approach is heralded as the spiritual high road. (not a direct question, but an implied request for clarification. This is how you come across, and it is not helpful. Can you respond?)
    —————————————

    “Do you have a perspective on the Bible that would explain how you approach it? And that is an honest question.”

    –I’ll try to be succinct. I’ve grown up in church. Had my life turned upside down a few times — near death experience with longterm recovery involving dark depression. No knowledge I had gained from church or my own bible-reading was helpful or relevant in getting through the many years of it. Several years of pastoral manipulation/control, church died = then, 3 years of panic/anxiety reflex & relearning how to think my own thoughts.

    In the aftermaths, i realized i couldn’t give any explanation for why I’ve believed as I have about the bible. Inerrant? Infallible? Inspired? On what basis have I believed these things? And what do these words mean, anyway?

    Turns out, I believed them because that’s just what you do in christian culture.

    Now, I want to understand why i should. Enormous question.
    ————————–

    “You can say whatever you wish.

    I’ll let you have the last word.”
    *******

    I desire no last word. I desire dialogue. And the freedom to be frustrated without a frosted sugar-coat.

  146. numo

    Now, on this die and live thing, I am no expert. There is the deal of “changed in the twinkling of an eye.” How long is a twinkle? Is a twinkle enough time to visit the abode of the dead?

  147. @ dee:

    Not to mention I can’t accomplish much of anything in the twinkling of an eye . . . but who knows what God accomplish in the same time . . .

  148. @ Numo:

    “It’s much the same in SGM (whose Josh Harris wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye) and in other churches that follow Harris’ ideas/advice.”

    Yup. That’s what I was aiming at with my original comment on Challies. It should scare everybody that ideas which originated in extreme patriarchal circles are now infiltrating more “mainstream” conservative evangelicalism (and not just Calvinist evangelicalism, either).

    Also, I read an article once from a courtship website where the parents listed all the questions they were planning to ask a potential suitor (note: “suitor” is a big red flag word). There were about 50+ questions and they ranged from vegetarianism to detailed theological inquiries – but if I recall correctly, the basic starter questions of “Does this person make your skin crawl?” and “Can you even hold a civil conversation with this person?” were not on the list. Facepalm.

  149. Dee:

    The “Descended into Hell” part of the Apostles’ Creed was a later addition, so I learned, recently, from of all people – Dr. Grudem. Has a fairly lenghtly explanation of the development of the Apostles Creed in his book on Christ. It’s easy to follow and very interesting.

    I recited the Apostles’ Creed in my church growing up as a young boy.

    I have not been in a church that regularly recites it since that time.

  150. Mrs. Muff is very lucky to have you as a “scullery person”. I did a little research — the male form of the word maid (as in “scullery maid”) would be “houseboy”. So, perhaps technically you are the “scullery boy”.
    ~ elastigirl ~

    Thanks elastigirl! Mrs. Muff thinks so too!

    However there are some [Driscoll, Piper, Grudem, Mohler, MacArthur, Mahaney,...did I miss anybody?] who think that Muff should get tough and step into his proper “biblical role” (small ‘b’ intended).

    No wait! It was decreed before the foundation of the world that Muff would be of reprobate mind, unregenerate, unsaved, and bound for the fires of hell. So in the end, it really doesn’t matter one rip whether Muff gets tough with his wife or not.

  151. Elastigirl:

    Thanks so much for talking about your past. I am sorry that you were mistreated or treated disrespectively.

    This medium (typing on the internet) is not good for conveying either emotion or sincerity. It seems like some of my answers to you appear to be coded or simplistic or judgmental. They are not meant to be.

    You are asking the right questions. And you certainly should not believe things just because you came from a certain church culture.

    You may never have all of your questions answered to your satisfaction. I suspect none of us do. But I do hope that you continue to expereince the most important thing as it relates to our relationship with the Lord – His presence.

    I wish you the best and look foward to chatting again on this site.

  152. Deb:

    I saw your comment above about adult children, and how having them brings a certain perspective that one doesn’t have when children are young. How true that is.

    I have some friends, a couple, who are some of the most wonderful people I know. They are devout Christians and have ministered together for many years.

    I respect them greatly – for what they have endured, mainly.

    Years ago, they wrote “The” book (so they thought) on child rearing. They had conferences across the country.

    They noticed whenever they would divide up the attendees into 2 groups – those with younger children and those with older children, that the group with younger children were excited, enthusiasitc, optimistic and thought that anything could be accomplished.

    The group with the older children were quiet, weepy, despondent and doubtful. They all had been disappointed in some way.

    No one who has children in this culture – or really in any time, gets out alive with one’s idealism in tact.

    You just cannot manage and program other humans. You can try. We should try to teach good values to them. But each person’s make up, their DNA, their judgment, the response to stimuli and their moral choices are all different.

    That’s what is behind a lot of homeschooling, courting, patriarchy etc. It’s all reaching out for some fool-proof plan that guarantees a good outcome.

    Life is not about that. It’s about service and faithfulness. And parents are often called to serve children who are not obedient and don’t turn out the way we should. Serving a person like that, one who may have disappointed us, brings us as close to true love as anything.

    The other stuff just feeds our pride.

    Count me in your club as one who is trying to continue to get through rearing children and letting go of expectations. When something great happens – praise God. He gets all of the glory.

    When something bad happens – weep and pray, but also praise God because we get a chance to serve and die to our pride and expectations.

  153. Anonymous wrote:

    That’s what is behind a lot of homeschooling, courting, patriarchy etc. It’s all reaching out for some fool-proof plan that guarantees a good outcome.
    Life is not about that. It’s about service and faithfulness. And parents are often called to serve children who are not obedient and don’t turn out the way we should. Serving a person like that, one who may have disappointed us, brings us as close to true love as anything.
    The other stuff just feeds our pride.

    Exactly – – and now we have a generation of adult children who have grown up in this environment. They are now “coming out”. My daughter is one and I’m watching her peers. It’s not looking very pretty. We must learn from their stories: the homeschool movement does not work very well (and by that I mean the super-controlled, patriarchy, courtship, purity, modesty, full-quiver agenda). For those in it deeply, it is cult-like. I’ve been dealing with many who are requiring years of therapy to simply function as an adult away from their parents.

  154. Muff

    I believe that Mrs. Muff is one smart lady for finding Mr. Muff-reprobate that he is! However, let me state that you are my kind of reprobate!

  155. Anonymous,

    Thanks for your comment. I’d still be interested in hearing further elaboration on the epistles and Revelation “standing as a witness” of Christ’s apostles. Does that mean they agree? Or least don’t contradict?

  156. @ Anon 1: No worries! I doubt much of anyone could read much of anything past a certain point (within the 1st couple of centuries after the fall of the western Roman Empire).

    Charlemagne’s efforts at re-establishing schools was very progressive and started to change things, but even he never learned to read and write… I can’t imagine being the ruler of such a large tract of western Europe and having to rely on others for reading, interpreting and writing documents, especially because people could easily lie or fudge information, but…

  157. @ Hester: with respect, I think Harris’ ideas started “infiltrating” mainstream evangelical culture a long time ago, given the way his book was being displayed in yer average xtian “bookstore.” but I think the sales figures speak more to that than anything I could say.

    Seems that the broader (outside the VF) “purity” movement – “silver ring thing,” etc. – began not long after I Kissed Dating Goodbye came out. And that was *definitely* a “mainstream evangelical” phenomenon.

  158. @ dee: What Bridget said!

    If he is Lord of all space and time, why not? (Maybe that’s just my Doctor Who-addled self speaking, re. “alternate time streams” and all, but it seems as if it should be more than possible, even from what tiny little bit of understanding re. physics that I possess… which is very much the popularized sort of physics, since I could never, ever follow all the math involved.)

  159. @ Muff Potter:

    And Jesus cooked food, washed peoples’ feet, etc. So I’m not exactly sure how/why anyone should – or could – truly object to your doing work in the kitchen. :)

  160. @ Anonymous:

    “That’s what is behind a lot of homeschooling, courting, patriarchy etc. It’s all reaching out for some fool-proof plan that guarantees a good outcome. Life is not about that. It’s about service and faithfulness. And parents are often called to serve children who are not obedient and don’t turn out the way we should. Serving a person like that, one who may have disappointed us, brings us as close to true love as anything. The other stuff just feeds our pride.”

    AMEN.

  161. @ Numo:

    You’re probably right. Only being 22 I don’t always have the benefit of memory, or at least not conscious memory. Probably I perceive it as “infiltration” because I’m now mature enough to understand all the ramifications and notice how deep-seated it is – not just something “those crazy conservative families” do. Even most “moderate” families have imbibed some of it and it’s usually enough to cause some sort of negative quirk.

    They’re not always a romantic/sexual quirks, either. There’s just SO MUCH weirdness in the Christian homeschool community. Just today I found out that someone we know doesn’t like to watch It’s A Wonderful Life because of the line about angels getting their wings when bells ring (“Humans don’t have the power to give angels wings!”).

  162. @ Hester: Hey, no need to apologize!

    I saw – and read about – this stuff happening back in the 90s, so… (the Washington Post even published a big story on the abstinence/silver ring thing craze.)

    It seems as if a lot of people who took the “purity”/abstinence pledges got pretty messed up by the whole thing – I know there are books, and certainly many blog posts, about it all.

  163. Hester wrote

    There’s just SO MUCH weirdness in the Christian homeschool community. Just today I found out that someone we know doesn’t like to watch It’s A Wonderful Life because of the line about angels getting their wings when bells ring (“Humans don’t have the power to give angels wings!”).

    Believe me, that’s NOT an isolated phenomenon – I had my own weird quirks not all that long ago (on the same level as this one), and I was in no way associated with the homeschooling movement.

    I feel that this kind of strange reaction is really superstition, and afaik, evangelical/charismatic culture is full to bursting with all kinds of weird beliefs that are very much along the liens of “Step on a crack /you’ll break your mother’s back.” (Not just superstitious, but outrightly immature and childish.)

  164. @ Numo:

    “I had my own weird quirks not all that long ago”

    Just a few short years ago I was glued to every vicissitude of the conservative political blogosphere, happily eating up YEC teen tracks and trying to convince myself that CBMW-style complementarianism was really a good deal for me as a female. And I can tell you exactly where, when and why the cracks started forming in each of those areas.

    What I think is funny about the Wonderful Life thing is that she fixated on whether humans could give angels wings…not on the fact that angels are spiritual beings who don’t have physical feathery wings at all. : )

  165. I only briefly tried a Christian dating service, free trial, maybe a decade ago. Was specific about not wanting any matches out of state or even out of the city region. Mentioned that the last book I’d read was something by N. T. Wright, another by John Murray, another by Bonhoeffer and that I was into T. S. Eliot.

    First match I remember getting sent my way by the Christian dating service was to a woman in Colorado who loved the Left Behind series …

    for obvious reasons I didn’t go out of my way to pay for that service once the free trial was over.

  166. numo wrote:

    If he is Lord of all space and time, why not? (Maybe that’s just my Doctor Who-addled self speaking, re. “alternate time streams” and all, but it seems as if it should be more than possible, even from what tiny little bit of understanding re. physics that I possess… which is very much the popularized sort of physics, since I could never, ever follow all the math involved.)

    Because otherwise, the writers of Doctor Who could imagine/create a grander Universe/Multiverse than God Almighty.

  167. Hester wrote:

    Also, I read an article once from a courtship website where the parents listed all the questions they were planning to ask a potential suitor (note: “suitor” is a big red flag word). There were about 50+ questions and they ranged from vegetarianism to detailed theological inquiries – but if I recall correctly, the basic starter questions of “Does this person make your skin crawl?” and “Can you even hold a civil conversation with this person?” were not on the list. Facepalm.

    Because all that matters is “detailed theological inquiries”. Or should I say…

    Purity of Ideology. Just like the Communists.

  168. It’s a New Year!

    All the best for a New Year of growth and networking with others around these topics!

    Wanted to inform people that my Church Exiters website has been in transition over Christmas. My site developer has been busy at the task the past while. Wanted to let people know that my website email address still needs to be connected.

    If anyone has been trying to connect with me using: info@churchexiters.com and not getting any response then this is the reason. Hoping to get everything working asap! Times of transition.

  169. @Daisy: Thanks for the link on the TBN lawsuit. You’re right, lots more to read there, how awful!

    I still remember the night I flipped the TV over to TBN and heard what sounded like a demonic voice screech over the audio, “Money money money!”

    Just sayin’…

  170. WTH

    Good night! You mention NT Wright/TSEliot and they think you might be compatible with someone who has read the left Behind series?? Now that is a demonstration of the limitation of computers.

  171. You mean Mark Driscoll won’t be the leading story in 2013? Daaawwwwww! I so enjoyed 2012, though! ;)

  172. Hester wrote:

    @ Numo:
    “I had my own weird quirks not all that long ago”
    Just a few short years ago I was glued to every vicissitude of the conservative political blogosphere, happily eating up YEC teen tracks and trying to convince myself that CBMW-style complementarianism was really a good deal for me as a female. And I can tell you exactly where, when and why the cracks started forming in each of those areas.

    Hester,

    Me too. I was never into it a great deal, but enough for it to have a short term impact. It is promoted as though it is the best thing ever for women especially and I wanted to believe it was all just that simple. The weird thing was, God actually did use one of what turned out to be the more egregious sites to settle a long term nagging issue in my own life.

    However, there was no denying the cultic nature of the whole thing. It became clear pretty fast that this woman at home thing just was not feasible for everyone, and if it’s not feasible for everyone, it is not a command of Scripture. Then I began to notice how they all sounded alike and were all after the same extra biblical things, like a house in the country and living off the land, “simplicity and sustainability,” etc. which is fine I guess if it floats your boat, but these people made it sound like it was some kind of obligation or how it was supposed to be, like you are in sin if you’re not growing your own food or baking your own bread and using cloth diapers. Then there was the nagging sense that this was all Bill Gothard all over again. I was there (alas) during the Gothard heyday and I thought his “ministry” had died the death and good riddance. But here was all that same teaching all over again.

    Then I started feeling like some of the women on these blogs didn’t really believe what they were saying. It seemed strained and forced, like they had to please someone else. Not all of them, some of them really are True Believers. But enough of them that I was seriously questioning the source of all this. And all the while was the nagging sense that something just doesn’t add up here. I had questions like “what about a wife who’s abused?” I didn’t know much about the dynamics of abuse at that time and little did I know how prevalent that is in these groups!

    Then there was the weird idyllic theme with their Victorian paintings, and the earth-boundedness of it all. Then came up the “200 year” plan. The tie in to theonomy was blatant. And they all were saying the same thing at the same time. It was like they got some kind of “issue of the month” memo for what they were supposed to blog about and lo and behold! they all just happened to be thinking about the same issue/s at the same time and seemed to feel the Lord was leading them in this or that direction.

    Then I learned about the underside of it all….

  173. anonymous wrote:

    Then there was the weird idyllic theme with their Victorian paintings, and the earth-boundedness of it all. Then came up the “200 year” plan. The tie in to theonomy was blatant. And they all were saying the same thing at the same time. It was like they got some kind of “issue of the month” memo for what they were supposed to blog about and lo and behold! they all just happened to be thinking about the same issue/s at the same time and seemed to feel the Lord was leading them in this or that direction.

    Just like Spontaneous People’s Demonstrations(TM) in the old Soviet Union and current North Korea.

  174. numo wrote:

    I kind of doubt that God is subject to time paradoxes…

    Shifting from Doctor Who to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, you can make a case that Lauren Faust is more creative than God Almighty (at least after God gets filtered through comps, patrios, Bee Jay Driscoll, and Cee Jay Mahaney) when it comes to archetypes of male and female, and what is masculine and feminine.

    Either that or somebody or somebodies Speaking for God have really got their signals crossed.

  175. dee wrote:

    Daisy
    It has always been a curiousity to me that the “elect” assume that their kids will be the elect. My understanding is that God does the choosing, the choice is not based on merit and therefore it has nothing to do with the parents. So, why do ministries make pastors step down if their kids are rebellious. It’s not as if the parents can do anything about htat if they have a nonelect kids. And what about all the books, etc about growing godly kids? No matter how hard you try, you can’t make someone become elect.
    However, most Calvinists that I know “know” their kids are the elect. There is even a Calvinista pastor here, well loved in the Calvinista crowd, who called my friends “unregenerate” because they opposed his view on the role of women in the diaconate. So, it appears that they believe that God has given them the ability to judge “elect.” Why is it that their friends are all the elect?
    Once again, Dee falls over the question cliff.

    1 Timothy 3:4 an overseer must be able to manage his household well, for if he can’t manage his own household, how can he manage the house of God?

    In what circumstances should a parent be responsible for the acts of his children? Especially since these days adult children are moving back with their parents? Is it different for men and women? And what kinds of children’s sin are pastors required to step down for? Maybe the Northeast is different.

  176. numo wrote:

    Hester wrote
    There’s just SO MUCH weirdness in the Christian homeschool community. Just today I found out that someone we know doesn’t like to watch It’s A Wonderful Life because of the line about angels getting their wings when bells ring (“Humans don’t have the power to give angels wings!”).
    Believe me, that’s NOT an isolated phenomenon – I had my own weird quirks not all that long ago (on the same level as this one), and I was in no way associated with the homeschooling movement.
    I feel that this kind of strange reaction is really superstition, and afaik, evangelical/charismatic culture is full to bursting with all kinds of weird beliefs that are very much along the liens of “Step on a crack /you’ll break your mother’s back.” (Not just superstitious, but outrightly immature and childish.)

    I know homeschoolers that never even heard of the movie. Never saw The Ten Commandments either! To me that is both sacreligious and unAmerican.

  177. Velvet Voice

    Even God had rebellious children: Adam and Eve.  The manage the household thing? I think that such a thing might be directed at parents who spend precious little time with their kids, rarely being at home with them etc. So many parents, myself included, blame themselves when their kids go down the wrong path. But, if the parent cared about their childraising, took time to do so, etc., then I think we can begin to blame the fact that we are all sinners and bound to fall.

    Way too many people are burdened about this area of their lives and SGM made it an integral part of their pastoral qualification-making people step down when their kids had difficulties. However, CJ got a pass and so did Dave Harvey for years. 

  178. Not seeing “The Ten Commandments” is sacreligious & unAmerican?? Surely you hyperbolize.

  179. @ anonymous:

    “Then I began to notice how they all sounded alike and were all after the same extra biblical things, like a house in the country and living off the land, ‘simplicity and sustainability,’ etc. which is fine I guess if it floats your boat, but these people made it sound like it was some kind of obligation or how it was supposed to be, like you are in sin if you’re not growing your own food or baking your own bread and using cloth diapers.”

    Ah, yes, the hidden connections to the Christian survivalist community. Gotta have a rural retreat to survive the coming collapse of civilization brought on by big government, ungodliness and peak oil. That way you will be able to fight off the zombie hordes and survive to reconstruct society in Rushdoony’s image, at the technological level of the 1790s. Also GUNS.

  180. Elastigirl:

    Sorry to be so late getting back.

    In short, I just meant that the apostles wrote the epistles and Revelation. Those books are a witness to them and their appointed leadership.

    It was probably inartfully stated. Sorry for the confusion.

  181. I’m sorry I have not answered questions thrown my way, I do work and life sometimes does not afford me time for internet. Dee: On your question concerning old earth and compromise of scripture, I would say in all honesty, yes, I do believe it to be a compromise as it puts science before scripture in my view and depending on which old earth view you hold to involves evolution which I also have a hard time with Biblically. If you could show me using scripture more or along with science, knowing scripture would trump science, I could see the old earth view, but for now strongly believe it compromises scripture and therefore is a problem for me.

    As for women, scripture interprets scripture and I do see women teaching men in scripture and have written about this several times in the past. One set of articles was printed in the Sun. It is large passages of scripture that complementarians or patriarchals tend to skip over and frankly ignore, but using scripture interpreting scripture I do not believe Paul was speaking to all women for all generations but to a set of women who were teaching a false doctrine. Women and teaching, leading, being a part of the church are all through scripture therefore I believe it.

  182. This discussion on my part began because of some who questioned the inerrancy of scripture and others who agreed. The Bible says “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” I believe in the inerrancy of scripture and I also believe(Michael Spencer and I have had this discussion on his blog when he was alive and I do miss him greatly)that it is essential to the Christian faith.

  183. @ Debbie Kaufman:
    I believe in the truth of scripture, but not in inerrancy. If you read the Chicago statement on inerrancy, it applies only to the original writings, and not the the present Bible that we now have. I believe in the truth, but not inerrancy, of the current Bible and the translations and versions that we now have, with a caveat regarding what I mean by truth. As a life-long student of how we “know” what we know that we come by through living in a society, sometimes called social epistemology, my understanding of truth goes to the message and not to the specific words. And the message of the Bible is that God created, cared for, loved, became human, died for us, was resurrected, and will come again to redeem and judge those he loves.

    Specifics, especially in the OT, are a different matter, due to the manner in which the OT we have came to be. Keep in mind that the quotes from the OT attributed to Jesus are from the Septuagint, and not the Hebrew OT. Thus, I have no trouble accepting OE and evolution as the means and manner of creation by God. If he set the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology, and then, at some point, “breathed” a soul into humanity, that is consistent with the message of the Bible as well as science.

  184. elastigirl wrote:

    Not seeing “The Ten Commandments” is sacreligious & unAmerican?? Surely you hyperbolize.

    Of course, of course. Being the TV junkie that I am, I was considered the resident heretic at my former church for even owning a television. And when I discovered that there are Star Trek and Doctor Who fans here, it makes me want to stay. BTW elastigirl, were you ever a regular at Answerpool.com? Your nickname sounds familiar.

  185. “The Bible says “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

    Jesus is the “Word” of God.

  186. Hi, Velvet Voice.

    For starters, I’m sure your pseudonym is as such for a reason. I’m guessing you would sound good on the radio. Who do you sound like? (or more correctly, who sounds like you?)

    No, never been to Answerpool.com. I’m sure others have taken on my name, though, considering how I have my way with a vacuum & a jet, take out burglars on roof tops, and co-lead my family team.

  187. @ Anon 1:

    In this particular passage anonymous the written word, the scriptures are the word of God that is being spoken of. Faith comes through the reading and preaching of the scriptures. If you will read the rest of the chapter this is pretty clear, Paul is not speaking of Christ.

  188. @ Arce:

    Arce: I agree, but I also believe this applies to any translation today. God has miraculously preserved the scriptures so that we can trust as true what is in our hands today no matter the translation. Again, that is where faith comes in. If not, then the Bible in our hands is pretty worthless and that just is not the case.

  189. Debbie Kaufman,

    Not worthless, but I think distorted to some degree is not an unreasonable way to look at it.

  190. Debbie, My understanding is scripture uses the word ‘scripture’ when referring to written scripture and uses Logos to describe Christ.

    Romans 10:

    11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”[f]

    Here the word for scripture is used as in “writing” or Greek “graphE”. In verse 17 the Greek for “word” is not scripture but “declaration” as in speaking “rEmatos”.

    The problem with your interpretation is that means very few in the dark ages would have been able to read the bible for themselves including priests.

  191. Debbie, strike that last sentence if your filter is Calvinistic where God forces us to believe in Christ.

  192. Debbie Kaufman wrote:

    God has miraculously preserved the scriptures so that we can trust as true what is in our hands today no matter the translation.

    So what about the parts of the Christian Bible that are incorporated into the Koran? With some major details changed?

  193. Arce:

    It’s good to see you on this thread. Hope and trust that all is well.

    This is meant as a sincere question and not a trick.

    But from a conceptual standpoint, if the original human authors who wrote the scriptures were not protected from error and it is believed that they wrote down erroneous information, how can one claim with confidence that the Bible is true in the places it is true? And how can we distinguish between the true parts and the untrue parts?

    Most modern biblical scholars see the Bible as collection of ancient stories written down over time by an ancient semetic tribe. It is no different than the Koran or other holy books from other cultures.

    This seems to be true from a scientific/historical standpoint.

    The OT, modern scholars say, is filled with myth and legend, gets lots of facts wrong, exaggerates about Israel’s greatness, has horrific moral teachings, and thus is to be regarded as other ancient religious literature.

    Most modern biblical scholars also claim that the NT is not much different. It was written by the promoters of a sect of Judaism that came to be known as Christianity. And that it contains lots of exaggerated claims attributed to Jesus, including miracles that are included to build our faith. The modern scholars in the Jesus seminar believe that it is very doubtful that Jesus spoke most of the words of the NT that are attributed to him. Also, the miralces, the resurrection, the ascension, did not literally happen. The church was trying to build Jesus up, so there is a lot of error in the NT that was intentionally included to support and bolster the authority of the church. The scholars basically say that the moral ideas of the NT are worthy, but that the specific stories and claims are not any more true than the stories and mythology of the OT.

    Your approach appears to agree that both the OT and the NT contain myth and get facts wrong. The writers were not protected by any divine power to get words rights, but they got concepts right.

    That is obviously a faith construct, and thus, not provable.

    But it also seems to present a challenge as to just how far this error was allowed to go. To facts only, but not to general teachings? And if so – which facts are wrong? Why could not the so-called “facts” of the incarnation, the virgin birth, the resurrection, the ascension etc. be in error, but correct in that they teach some bigger moral truth.

    And it does seem to also be true that the writers of OT scripture and NT scripture got some moral truths wrong too – God telling Abraham to sacrifice his own child, God tell the Isaelites to kill others, God killing all the first born of Egypt. In the NT we have a very strict, essential Jewish code, regarding sexuality and some statements about gender role restrictions, and the concept that God will only forgive those who believe certain things about Jesus, and send the rest of humanity to hell.

    How can it be claimed that those ideas or concepts are without error and morally correct.

    I am interested in your thoughts on these things. Others can jump in, too, if they have a thought to share.

  194. I absolutely believe the Bible was inspired. I think it is illogical to say it is inerrant but I can understand how a Calvinist would think that since ALL the translators throughout history had no free will and were being directed by God. And nevermind all those added words that are not to be found in the earliest manuscripts we have, etc. Perhaps God wanted it changed several times? When we believe the translators were “inspired” in translating then we have a book tht becomes a club and Paul becomes Jesus in that paradigm. Not understanding Paul FROM Jesus Christ.

    What I fear is that we have replaced the Holy Spirit with our favorite translation. We need to combine the Spirit of Truth with our reading. We should take responsibility but that is impossible in the Aug/Cal paradigm. God is controlling everything and the totally depraved are reading it.

  195. Anonymous

    I believe that the Bible is inspired and God breathed. However, we have a problem. We all interpret various verses in differing ways. So, the hardcore young earthers believe in a 6000 year earth and the theistic evoutionists would disagree. But, both sides would agree that God created which is a core belief. 

    The Mennonites interpret the various issues on what not to wear in a specific manner, simplistic dress, while the Dallas women flash jewlery, expenisve clothes and decolletage. Both would say they are Biblical and both could have a food fight flinging around inerrant verses. Some say the Bible “proves” that Jesus drank grape juice while others disagree.The food fight is alive and well and continues 2,000 years after the NT books were written. 

    Here is our problem. We have Scriptures that I believe are to be studied and taught with care. But, the teachings of the best theologians come out all over the place, right down to the issue of men’s free will. Then we get into screaming matches as to who is correct. 

    Let me put it another way. I get a gas grill and need to put it together. The instructions are worded in such a way that one might hook up the gas line in several ways. This poor wording leads to an explosion and the person land in the local burn unit in critical condition. Can I expect an lawsuit based on the poorly written directions? You betcha.

    So, if the Scriptures are inerrant, and we cannot agree on what the inerrant Scriptures say, isn’t the “inerrancy” issue rather moot?

    It appears we cannot agree on what they say. And then we go at each other,claiming that we (specific group) are the true Christians. If these issues were of supreme importance to the carrying out of, and understanding of, our faith, then why were the Scriptures given to us in such a way that cause a gazillion denominations along with major splits like Catholicism and Orthodoxy?

    I believe that the rules of the game must be clearly spelled out. So, when a Piper says a man is in “sin” for not loving “election”, then I shake my head and throw up my hands. That man is in sin for not understanding and joyously accepting a doctrine that is not even accepted by many Christians?So some would say he is a sinner and others would say he is correct. Since sin is important in the scheme of things, this lack of clarity leads to potential problems.

    So, even if I believe the Scriptures are inerrant, that does not mean that the application of Scriptures is iinerrant. Yet we get our panties in a wad and call each other “unregenerate,” “sinful,” etc based on an inerrant Scripture which we cannot seem to interpret in an inerrant manner. 

  196. Thank you for your response, Dee (to anonymous). Athough my frustration is still at Defcon 3.

    Can you define “inspired and God breathed”, as you see it? Those can mean many things down to almost nothing.

  197. Dee:

    I agree that even if the scriptures are highly regarded and believed to be inerrant, that does not settle many issues that are caused by differences in interpretation.

    But to even discuss issues of interpretation, it seems to me that there needs to be an understanding of what the Bible is.

    If the Bible is ancient religious literature, as I described above, it seems that interpreting the Bible would not lead to any debates, except in academic quarters.

    It seems that fights regarding the various interpretations of the Bible only occur among those who have some intensity in the belief that the Bible is true.

    The less a person believes in the truthfulness of the Bible, in whole or in part, the less likely that person is going to get worked up about interpreting the Bible.

    Christians don’t get worked up about whether the Koran is interpreted correctly. They don’t see the Koran as God’s word or anything like that.

  198. Not only is interpretation of the Bible an issue, but you must also consider the “selection” of books that constitute “God breathed” from the various church councils.

    In addition you must explain why one book which was NOT selected as scripture is referred to by another book which was selected.

    Isn’t this fun!

  199. Anonymous

    But your answer begs the question. If something is supposed to be inerrant, would it not be incumbent on the Almighty to present to his children a book that they would all understand? Is He incapable of doing that? Since He values unity, should he not gives us a Bible that brings unity instead of a book that brings division within the Body?If a misunderstanding of doctrine such as election leads to sin as Piper would suggest, then is the book inerrant since it is written in such a way that leads people who wish to sincerely follow Him into error?  I refer you to my lawsuit example.

  200. “The less a person believes in the truthfulness of the Bible, in whole or in part, the less likely that person is going to get worked up about interpreting the Bible.”

    Oh my word. Talk about big brother speak. I think your premise is dangerous. It says those that fight about it are more truth loving than others.

  201. “But your answer begs the question. If something is supposed to be inerrant….”

    Good point because Anonymous bypassed the inerrancy issue in his last comment trying to reframe the debate. So far, most who have engaged have agreed it is inspired. Let us stick with the concept of inerrancy.

  202. I guess I should add that the problem we have in a discussion like this is that this inerrancy issue really hinges on the whole free will issue. If the translators had no free will and were directed by God for every word, then it means God chose different words at certain times or had others added not in the earliest manuscripts. That would make any translation inerrant because God directs every molecule. Including the Message. :o)

  203. Let me put it another way. I get a gas grill and need to put it together. The instructions are worded in such a way that one might hook up the gas line in several ways. This poor wording leads to an explosion and the person land in the local burn unit in critical condition. Can I expect an lawsuit based on the poorly written directions? You betcha.
    ~ Dee ~

    You had better hope the critical parts weren’t made in China!

  204. For me, the issue of all translations are also inerrant came to a head when I began digging and comparing and finding that some translations leave this bit out and others that bit (from the original text). And then I found that first rabbis, then Christian translators chose (or were instructed by the one who commissioned that translation) just flat changed words to fit their preferred doctrine. And the result is a book that has been mangled in places to the point that it contradicts itself. This is an issue that niggled at me my whole life as I began studying things as a teen. I have some translations that actually have in the footnotes that ‘this passage contains a known transcription error but we decided to not correct it.’ ???

    And initially, the idea that this beloved book was not what I had been taught that it was scared the crud out of me because I thought that if I let go of the inerrancy/Word of God dogma, I would loose my faith in God and go to hell. But….the Word of God is the words He speaks. Some of them are recorded in the Bible. But, for example, the words that are recorded as being spoken by Job’s friends are not the Word of God. In fact, God said of there words that they “did not speak what is right concerning him.’

    From my experience, when too much emphasis is placed on a book as being the inerrant Word of God, then we get the unhealthy phenomenon of believing that you can pick any verse from the Bible and and say, ‘This is the Word of God’ and wreak havoc on the truth.

    To use the Job’s friends example, their primary admonishment to Job was that he must be hiding some secret sin and needed to come clean because otherwise, this would not have happened to him, because we all know that when bad things happen, it is because God is judging us. This was their primary message to Job in his pain. God was not happy with their assessment of the situation. But I have heard sermon after sermon preached from Job, using the things Job’s friends said as Truth that proves that if it is not going well for you, then it is because you need to repent and Get Right(TM).

    My current view of the Bible is that the original texts were inspired to be a record of God’s continuing revelation of Himself to people. But to insist that all the translations we currently have are all inerrant flies in the face of evidence. And telling me that I had to take their inerrancy on faith actually was damaging my faith rather than building it because it defied the evidence that was in my face.

  205. Debbie

    I agree that God gave us the Bible. But why do committed Christians who love the Lord and want to understand Him come out with all sorts of interpretations of Scripture ranging from the age of the earth to the role of women to Reformed/Arminian theology?

    Please understand that the Bible means everything to me. What I am questioning is the secondary stuff. It is patently obvious that the Redemption story is the pivotal event in the Bible, predicted in Genesis and fulfilled 2000 years ago. We all get that.

    But there are problems. John Piper said a man was in sin for not “liking” the doctrine of election. It is the responsbility of all Christians to reject sin in their lives. Therefore, when men say that certain things are sin, I should be concerned. Yet, for example, I do not believe in election in the way that Piper states. I do not beleve I am in sin. Then, there are those who believe strongly in infant baptism while others, myself included, hold to a believers’ baptism. Yet, I have heard proponenets on both sides claim that the other side is in sin.

    If these issues were important, it would seem to me that God would outline this for us very concisely. Yet, we all disagree so it mean that He did not. I do not buy the argument that men are sinful in their interpretations. I think that, in many instances, it is a matter of deeply held convictions arising out of a heart to understand God’s word.

    As I told anonymous-if I had a manual on how to put together a gas grill that had some confusing directions that led me to put together the gas line in such a way that caused an explosion, I would be in my right to sue the manufacturer for the result. So, if I am to be held responsible for sin for not believing in a young earth or disagreeing with Pper’s interpretation of election, is that fair if the passages have led many people to believe that they can be interpreted in that fashion?

  206. Dee: This is what John Piper said word for word and I agree with him on this.

    The question asked was: “I believe in the doctrine of election, but I don’t like it much. Is it sin for me not to like the doctrine of election?”

    “It’s sin not to like the true doctrine of election. It’s sin not to like what God likes.

    I want to say it like that because many people have conceptions of doctrines—all kinds of doctrines—that are inaccurate. And therefore their good hearts dislike them.

    So you could say, “I dislike election,” and be a good person, because you don’t see election clearly. And what you’re disliking should be disliked. Or you may be a person who is starting to see it clearly and your old self, which is bad, is rising up and not liking what ought to be liked.

    So I don’t know whether this person should be chastised or not. The principle would be, “To the degree that you see biblical truth clearly, you should like it.”

    Hell is a biblical truth. So when I say, “You should like hell,” what I mean is that you should like it the way God does.

    God, it says, “is not willing that any should perish.” God “does not delight in the death of the wicked.” God “afflicts us, but not from his heart” (Lamentations 3). So there is in God himself a willing that hell be and a liking that it exists in that big picture. And yet he grieves over sending anybody there.

    So the word “like” is just a little bit difficult here, because you’re going to have to do double perspectives again.

    If God ordains that Jerusalem be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, should we like that? My answer is both yes and no. We should not like women boiling their children, but we should approve of God’s decision that it happen.

    And so there’s a double perspective in which the things that you see in the small lens should be disliked, whereas what you see in the bigger lens of how God runs the world should be liked.”

  207. I’m sorry I had to leave for a little bit and wanted to say I also agree with what you have said concerning secondary issues. I would not call your disagreeing sin, and think the word sin is thrown around much too often in order to control. We are where we are in our Christian walk. I have changed my theology numerous times as I have dug into studying the Bible deeper and discovered new things. I can agree to disagree on things of theology that are secondary, although what is secondary seems to vary from person to person. :)

  208. Debbie

    I wrote a post on Piper’s statement.  Here is the comment that I focused on. ” It’s sin not to like what God likes.”

    So, if I do not agree with Piper, it means that I am sin since he gets to define the exact meaning of the term “election” through his lens. I am not Catholic and do not believe in the infallibility of men on unclear matters. Does Piper know exactly what God likes? Yet, there are wonderful Christians theologians, like Roger Olson and others who would disagree with his exacting interpretation. Are they “in sin” as well since they do not like what God likes? Or is it really that they do not “like” what Piper likes?

    So, if I were to turn it around and say that all Reformed folks are in sin because they do not see it as Roger sees it, would that be OK? I have a different approach. I do not think the Scripture is perfectly clear on this point. I have studied the matter for so long, read the books, and even made lists to see who made the best points on both sides. I cannot agree with with Piper’s view.

    So, I would agree to disagree and not fling the “sin” word around as Piper does. I am happy that you feel confidant in your Reformed perspective. I eat lunch just about every Sunday with someone who is a 5 pointer. He does not think I am “in sin” because I do not “like” the definition of election that he uses.Vice versa- I do not think he is in sin as well. I subscribe to Wade’s POV which means never letting theology on such matters trump our love. 

    In the end, we will better understand this issue on the other side. I am of the opinion that this is far more complex than any of us can imagine. And, since we will always be the created, and He will always the Creator, we may never fully understand it.

     

  209. Dee: In all fairness, and I do not always agree with John Piper but I have listened to him for years and have learned a lot of Biblical truth from him, so I do not think that the small snippet you concentrated on is saying agree with me or be in sin. I do agree that to see clearly in scripture something(and I do believe there is a lot that is clear and a lot that is ignored or not liked by both Christians and non-Christians) and not like it therefore changing one’s doctrine to more of a liking is sin. This is what I think Piper is saying and I do agree with him.

    I have never known John Piper to be a disagree with me and you are in sin type of speaker and I have listened to and read a lot of John Piper. I think in your zeal you have gone after parts of Reformed theology that are in scripture and gone after John Piper taking a snippet out of context and calling it evil.

  210. There is a lot of corruption in our churches, I know I uncovered a lot as with the Caner scandal and I could have written a lot more than I did, you have recently uncovered a lot which needs to be shown and changed in our churches, but except for his view of women, I would not put John Piper in the corrupt list at all. I do think he loves God, preaches the Bible and is passionate in his love for the Godhead. That is something we need more of in our churches not less. John Piper is not a villain.

  211. Debbie

    I did not say what Piper said was evil. I said I believed it was wrong. The man who came to him and asked him that question got a slap down. Doubt and confusion are a part of a growing Christian life. In fact, my pastor said this past week that we all start out certain about lots of things in the faith and then we go through periods of doubt and questioning. Many mature Christians eventually come to the point in which they view believe deeply in the faith but admit that there is a lot that we don’t understand. John Piper is one of the few that I have heard that appears to grow more certain he understands quite a bit including the reason for the trajectory of certain tornados. I don’t relate but we all have our own faith journey.

    I believe Piper could have deeply hurt the man who asked him that question, causing him to think he was a sinner for asking what appears to me to be a reasonable, common question.  Here is what I would have said.

    “I think issues such as election, are not easy to understand and than good Christians come out on differing sides of this argument. I would suggest that you read people like Roger Olson to get a different point of view. But know this. God understands your confusion as well as your aversion to a doctrine that appears to say that God picks and chooses who goes to heaven and therefore picks those who goes to hell.

    Such questioning is not sin, that is wrestling with the Bible. God is big enough to embrace you while you struggle through this issue. In fact, He delights that you care enough about those words to struggle with them. Many people just throw up their hands and put their heads in the sand or walk away from the faith.  So, be at peace, keep struggling and know that you are deeply loved by God and not looked at as a sinner who just doesn’t get it.”

    Finally, I do not “go after” Reformed theology that is in Scripture. Like Roger Olson, I just disagree how election actually plays out. And I struggle with it just like I struggle with the problem of pain and suffering. In fact, the longer I am a Christian, the more I admit that there is much that I do not fully understand. I ask more questions now than I did early on in my faith.  Strangely, in the midst of this I believe more deeply for the Bible offers me a narrative that rings ture to what I see around me. There is no other faith or non-faith that does so for me and I know because I have read and studied and debated a large number of them.

    Years ago, I decded to study Calvinism and come to a conclusion once and for all. During that journey I read the best-Piper, Sproul, Whilte and Calvin himself.I read sermons by Edwards, Spurgeon and a few of the Puritans. I also read those who refuted some of their premises. I had a notebook and in which I had two columns-pro and agaist the doctrine as expressed in the points. Calvinism had the longer pro list but the points against it hit me the hardest. So, I decided that I could not choose between them and elected, instead, to say I think it is a divine mystery. However, Olson comes out closer to expressing where I am at although not fully.

    I did not choose not to follow Calvinism because I didn’t want to. I chose not to jump into the Reformed column because I think it does not reflect my view of God. I do not think I am rebellious, although all of us are in some ways-be we Reformed or not. I think I am honest and God knows my heart.

     In this month’s Christianity Today, Olson wrote an excellent article called “Election Is For Everyone.” Here is a link to the online version.http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/january-february/election-is-for-everyone.html   In this article he reutes that those who reject 5 point Calvinism believe in a salvation that is effected by man. Once again, he expresses things in a way that seem to outline some of my current thinking on the matter.

    I am happy  that you have found answers for your questions within reformed theology. Trust me, I wish I could say “that’s it” and go on. But I cannot so the journey and questions continue for me.

  212. Dee: I think you are making too much out of this quote. You seem to have more assumptions than fact on the person who asked it. That is dangerous when writing in public.

    I read the whole answer and think it was a very reasonable, humble, factual answer based in scripture as our answers should be. I do have less questions as I have studied, taught and dug into scripture in my Christian life. I had many for years and this time in my life and more sure of what I believe than I have ever been before, so in a way I have said “that’s it” and live what I believe. I think that is a natural part of the Christian life, yet I am also constantly learning. I am simply saying be sure of what you write when you write about someone. This is a public forum, we are Christians, and truth should be first. Facts not assumptions are the rule both in journalism and in Christian journalism. Especially Christian journalism. Do not become the thing you hate.

    To say I believe Piper could have deeply hurt this man, is to not state a fact that you know to be true. I believe Piper could have given this person a good answer and they are better for it, or at the least just fine. I do not know this to be fact however. This is the objection I have.

    If you wish to ask it as a question, then ask it as a question. Then you are seeking the truth.

  213. There comes a time when we are firm in what we believe. If it is in scripture, end of story. We can discern scripture more than we cannot. In the Christian life there is such a thing as absolute truth.

  214. ” am simply saying be sure of what you write when you write about someone. This is a public forum, we are Christians, and truth should be first. Facts not assumptions are the rule both in journalism and in Christian journalism. Especially Christian journalism. Do not become the thing you hate.”

    Some of us have been reading and listening to Piper for many years. I have family who worked for him and studied under him. I think you are naive about him. many get caught up in his “passion” and flowery adjectives and adverbs. I do not want to get into a treatise on why there are so many problems with Pipers teachings but at least be concerned he elelvates secondary doctrines to salvic status as he does with gender roles.

    I personally think his “Scream of the Damned” from 2009 is blasphemy. I do not expect many to agree. As usual, most will try and explain Piper to us as if he is not a public mass communicator. He still needs to be interpreted.

    I think Piper has led more people into confusion and lack of understanding of Christ/Christianity than just about anyone else out there.

    He is a shock jock and has not trouble putting things on video such as women taking abuse for a season or “I love Mark Driscoll’s theology”, etc that people tend to ignore or excuse. In fact, many make excuses for Piper more than any other public preacher than I have ever known who could say such ridiculous things or redefine concepts/words to fit his paradigm.

    I think that makes him more dangerous that some of the more obvious like Driscoll or Mahaney. It is easier to become deceived from his teaching and go along with horrors such as his teaching that Jesus was ‘damned’ on the cross because Piper wants to redefine a word to be a shock jock. Or Christian “hedonism” which is ridiculous to thinking people who are not enamoured with following a human.

    I personally think Piper has done more damage than anyone else because he seems so benign but he really isn’t. I wish more people would take the time to strip away the flowery talk, the gestures and passion and analyze what he is really teaching. He has done a lot of harm to believing women, too. He keeps them in even worse bondage than many comps and he is getting worse.

  215. “I think it does not reflect my view of God”

    Dee: This is something I will caution on as well. Your view of God may well be opposite of scripture. That is the problem with most Christians. They have their view of God, most times it is in opposition with the God of the Bible. This is something the Reformed view cautions on and rightfully so. I don’t have a problem if you fail to embrace the Reformed view, well actually I do a little because I believe it to be true to scripture when I read the Bible, but it’s not salvic to not believe, I just think you need to be careful that you don’t form God into your own image.

    This of course if take it or leave it advice, but the problems I began writing on stemmed from the things I have cautioned you on here, I saw the church going in the direction of making it about what their own image was on church, theology and God, not what the Bible teaches on these subjects. If you can show me through scripture where my beliefs are wrong, I will consider I am wrong. But it has to be through scripture only, not what you think doesn’t fit your view of God.

  216. I’m not saying your view of God is not the God of scripture, I am saying it may be. I want to stress that at this point.

  217. As for the rest, I agree with you. Forgive all my comments, but I think it’s important to discuss what no one wants to discuss. I thank you for allowing this discussion between us. It also I hope proves that two people who I consider friends or would like to consider friends as we have only met once briefly and on here, can disagree and still fellowship with one another and be true friends.

    That is a problem I see in most Baptist churches anyway and as you have shown patriarchal reformed churches as well. Disagree and disfellowship or shunning go hand in hand. That is wrong and I do think sin. I am one who can violently disagree with something yet we can have supper or ice cream that night. I think that is important to bring out too. To be brutally honest with each other, hash things out, but always to love each other despite.

  218. I do not think Piper any of those things you accuse him of. I do think he is a Biblically talented preacher, teacher who I have gleaned a lot from. There is very little(except the tornado incident and his view of women in the church) that I haven’t found in scripture. I think if you go to his site, take his sermons and look them up with the Bible, there is very little you could argue on. I think you have unfairly painted him with a target.

    There is very little you have gotten wrong, but on this one, and as I said I have listened to him for probably 20 plus years, scripture in hand along with Chuck Swindoll, and I wouldn’t trade those teachings for anything. They changed my life completely. If people are confused, it’s not Piper’s doing. I’m sorry you can’t see that. But that is not Piper’s fault either.

  219. Debbie
     I think all of us are guilty of trying to conform God to our own image. Christians fight that each day. We like Him to be comfortable but He is in the business of shaking us up.

  220. Debbie – This is slightly off-topic, but regarding Piper. He put out a tweet yesterday that has left me puzzled. Quite a few people are retweeting and “favoriting” it and I have no idea what it means. However, there were more than a handful of people asking him what it means, but he didn’t respond. I, too, asked and no one could offer an explanation (I even asked my blog readers). Since you are familiar with his teaching, I was wondering if you understand this:

    Here is the tweet: “Deep calls to deep” is true of her necklines and his knowing. The problem is, Jesus is not a fertility god.

    (https://twitter.com/JohnPiper/status/288827542750756865)

  221. That tweet……. Sounds just like the Piper I have been listening to and reading for the last 15 years. It is just 1 more of his Shock jock act.

  222. Here’s the deal with this Piper quote and the problem I see. The dude has over 400K followers on his Twitter feed. He gained 500 more followers from last night when I first reported on this on my blog. 500!! This is a huge audience. I imagine most people are following because they like what he has to say. I am following because I want to see what people like about him.

    I looked at his quote expecting it to be something deep. I understood the first part (deep calls to deep) from Psalms, but “her deep necklines and his knowing” and “Jesus is not a fertility god”? What is THAT????

    Why would a man of this reputation be blasting out a tweet like that to over 400K people? I thought it was me – – that I was missing something and it bugged me. I thought to myself, I must know what this means and I didn’t care whether it made me look like a dummy publicly. I thought – why are these people “favoriting” them and “retweeting” them – – – are they just following their leader? Do they really know what it means? What am I missing?

    This is to me a bigger sign of spiritual abuse. You have a leader that people love and admire saying a bunch of nonsense and blind sheep are following and giving him attaboys for saying virtually nothing but nonsense.

    Yes, I will continue to follow Piper and if I see more of it, I’m going to call it out. It’s ridiculous. I’m upset about it. I know what spiritual abuse has done to me and my family. When he uses this Twitter platform, it has his name on it as pastor, author, Christian leader, etc. If he is saying it on a public platform, then I’m going to publicly question. BTW, I did include his name on the Tweets, so if he looked, he would see my questions. But, alas, no response. Go figure.

  223. JA, I’m pretty sure he’s talking about women’s cleavage seducing men- redefining “Deep calls to deep” to be about sexual attraction in our perverse age rather than a spiritual call on our lives. Then he’s saying this isn’t the way of Christ.

    Or at least, that’s the best I can come up with.

    Agreed it’s creepy and unclear.

  224. Do not become the thing you hate. Best advice I ever got. There is so much meanness in these comments concerning someone who I do not always agree with(and no I do not agree with him on Mark Driscoll) I also believe in grace among Christians because of being a New Covenant and grace filled believer. I just think the venom in these comments is not only wrong but the opposite of what a Christian is.

    You speak of those who were hurt in the church as you should, but are you not doing the same thing by the comments you are currently making? Are you not beating people up? That is something I never tried to do on my blog. I wanted things to change, but I did not try and beat someone up to a pulp.

    John Piper has some wrong ideas. We all do. I do. I did. But as a whole, his right teaching outweighs his wrong ideas.

    As for the tweet, I don’t have a clue. Most times people tweet in response to another tweet or response. I don’t see where it is anything to get in a twist over. I would say that if Mark Driscoll or CJ Mahaney had tweeted it.

    The Blog is powerful, you all have discovered this. With power comes responsibility. There is a reason I do not blog anymore. It’s a personal reason. Power can also corrupt and I wanted to be sure that did not happen to me. I am simply saying be careful. And I would say this if you were going after Fundamentalists or a theology I was more against. Charismatics. Be careful that you don’t destroy the innocent. Don’t become what you hate.

    As for favoriting and retweeting, good grief Julie, so what? I favored and retweeted things because they were good. People do think for themselves. John Piper has some good things to say. When I was tweeting, I retweeted John Piper among others. He’s good.

    I have had to heal from my share of spiritual abuse as well. I grew up Fundamentalist. But, I also am not going to target all ministers. There is right and wrong, there is sin and there are things we must learn to grow and be sanctified. There is nothing wrong with standing against something and tweeting about it.

    When it’s warranted go for it, but even then I would say grace is the key. Grace is a valuable gift to us from God and we should be able to exhibit that through the Holy Spirit to others.

    I wanted repentance from those I wrote about, not punishment. I did not necessarily want Ergun let go from Liberty at the beginning. He lied, he was making money off of churches and he was being shown at our Conventions, selling books, and he lied. But, as I was researching I also saw him as Butch Caner, the guy before all the fame and 9/11. He was a good minister, helping those in need, was there for the families at the Columbine shooting. That was who I wanted to show up again. All he had to do was admit his wrong and change back to ministering the way he used to. That did not happen. I felt I had not choice and with the help of so many others, we kept on digging. The rest you know. But I didn’t want to do it, but it had to stop. The deceiving had to end. Another reason I don’t blog anymore is he did not change, that hurt deeply, and the end result hurt. I can’t blog anymore. I tried for a short while, nothing.

    You see John Piper as this or that, you see he has a bunch of followers. Of course he does, he has been in public ministry for over 30 years. Chuck Swindoll who I also read and listen to is the same way and rightfully, no one has gone after him.

    Just be careful that you don’t throw the abuse card where it should not be. I would not say John Piper is even close to spiritual abuse. Saying things I don’t agree with, yeah, but I have not seen spiritual abuse.

  225. @ Anon 1:

    John Piper is anything but a shock jock. If you have supposedly listened to him for 15 years you could not say this and be honest. Your comment is more shock jock than John Piper is.

  226. “John Piper has some wrong ideas. We all do. I do. I did. But as a whole, his right teaching outweighs his wrong ideas.”

    I lost pretty much my entire community due to a church implementing Piper’s ideas. Suffice to say, for me his right teaching does not outweigh his wrong ideas.

  227. Ms Kaufman, Do you view defending John Piper’ s long track record of flowery speech and redefining spiritual concepts the same as defending Jesus Christ?

    If you do not think that tweet was notmeant to be a shock jock attention getting antic then we will have to agree to disagree. For some reason you seem to take this discussion of John Piper personally. It is always dangerous to defend the celebrities and to take disagreement about them or their teaching personally.

  228. Debbie Kaufman said: I would not say John Piper is even close to spiritual abuse.

    I respectfully disagree with you, Debbie. I would call it spiritual abuse if a battered woman followed his advice about enduring abuse for a season as he suggested in his video. This kind of wrong advice from someone who "cares for your souls" (Heb 13:17), messes with people's heads spiritually. It is a secondary abuse. The first abuse by her husband, the abuser, secondly by her pastor who did not care for her soul as Christ would care for her. Christ would not have a woman endure abuse for a season. Period.

  229. Debbie said: As for favoriting and retweeting, good grief Julie, so what?

    I favored and retweeted things because they were good. People do think for themselves. John Piper has some good things to say. When I was tweeting, I retweeted John Piper among others. He’s good. So those people favorited and tweeted that tweet because it was good?

    What was good about that tweet, Debbie? I have only found one person who made an educated guess. Every other comment was "WTH????." He's good??? I'm sure he has said some good things. That was not very good, IMHO.

  230. Debbie

    I am so glad that John Piper and Chuck Swindoll have been an inspiration to you. All of us usually find comfort in certain writers or theologian, often because their trajectory fits into our unique narrative. For me, I am a fan of CS Lewis, Wade Burleson, The Briscoes and others. I also love Johnny Cash but that is another story! From these folks, you can probably ascertain that I am not heavilty Reformed or into lots of rules. It gives an insight into my soul.

    This blog exists for all sorts of purposes, one of which is to allow people who have been hurt by various ministries to tell their stories. Their stories are precisely that-their stories and no one elses. Their perspectives are unique and their emotional makeups are unique. Some things affect me more than others. For example, I become very, very emotional when it comes to abuse of children or when children become deathly sick. 

    We are not at liberty to share stories that are told to us offline. We get so many emails and phone calls that I think people would be surprised at the number.  However, I can assure you, there has been pain reported wthin the ministry of Piper and that such pain is not limited to those in the periphery of the congregation. I am still reeling from a recent phone conversation. You can be sure that TWW offers help and resources to those who contact us.

    There is a frequent commenter on this site who, a long time ago, shared his story of a family member who became deeply depressed after encountering Piper’s thinking at a conference. That person needed long term counseling.  Eagle has also shared his loss of faith, in part due to some teaching on the part of Piper. You may disagree with their interpretation and aver that it did not happen to you, but that is your experience.

    There are many people who report their pain in various ministries on this blog. For some, this is the first time that they have been heard and believed. It is not for me, or anyone else, to cast judgment on the experiences and pain of others. Also, it is not in our purview to decided when “enough is enough.” Some people take years to integrate and heal, others a few months. Those who heal more quickly are often not the “most spiritual” or “mature Christians” but have a temperment that allows them to more easily blow off things. Temperment is God-given and so we must allow for people to work through things in their own time. They are safe here and Deb and I will not judge them.

    Some people are pleased with us when we expose problems in Mark Driscoll’s ministry but get upset when we do the same for another. Yet often they are intertwined. For example, John Piper has been a big supporter of Driscoll. I will never forget one threatening comment by a reader who agreed with us on an expose of one leader. However, when I mentioned we would look at an issue with Calvary Chapel, he warned us to lay off CC or there would be consequences. Obviously, he is into CC. 

    Also, I understand when people say that Piper is a shock jock. He says things very strongly at times. For you, he is not. But many others perceive him in that fashion. They have a right to express their opinions just as Piper has a right to talk about his concern about muscular women. Frankly, that is shocking to me. I admire muscular women. Once again, our perspectives are just that, “our” perspectives.

    We are not like the others and are in no danger of becoming so. We are one of the few blogs out there that allows difficult comments to be posted. We have been called names and our mission has been questioned. That’s OK. We can take it and I can assure you that we discuss all criticism directed at us. I am sure that Piper is a big boy as well and can take critique.

    I guess I would say that we need to understand that all of us think and react differently to various leaders. I am glad that the concerns are being aired here. For some of these ministries, it is the first time that they have heard the critique since their underlings often protect their leader from criticism. 

    So, I would ask that everyone who writes into this blog to take into consideration the pain of others. And those who are strong and sure of their “beliefs” use that strength to pray for and uphold others.

     

  231. Julie Anne

    I went over to his tweet stream to see if I could find any background on the tweet. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure it out. Perhaps he will attempt a clarification? My guess is that someone wore a tight, low cut shirt in his presence and he was uncomfortable with it. She may also have been “muscular.”

  232. Dee – I “tagged” him – don’t know the proper word (@JohnPiper) asking for clarification and got no response. Yes, maybe that’s it – low shirt, muscular women threatening to him. Maybe he’s concerned about how he’s going to handle his free time after retirement. He’s probably going to run into more muscular women – – he is moving South where the weather is warmer, you know – more visible flesh and all that.

  233. I could only find these references

    http://www.desiringgod.org/searches/neckline?utf8=%E2%9C%93

    I found his desire to preach a sermon to fathers and how they allow their daughters to dress interesting! (Second sermon)

    and this quote from a sermon in the early 1990s

    “Now I know that Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day, our daily bread.” And what could be more natural than the desire to eat? And I know that there are dozens of instances in the Bible of people praying for desires as natural as the desire for protection from enemies and escape from danger and success in vocation and fertility in marriage, recovery from sickness, etc.
    My point is not that those desires are wrong. My point is that they should always be subordinate to spiritual desires; kingdom desires; fruit- bearing desires; gospel- spreading, God- centered desires; Christ- exalting, God- glorifying desires.”

  234. There is so much misinformation out there that passes for knowledge, and if a teacher, preacher or authority figure of any kind (including my own parents) I have had to disregard most of the things people say. One misstep with me means I have to recheck every single thing that teacher believes. What Bible are these people reading?

  235. @ Julie Anne:

    You admit that you have no idea what the tweet means. Neither do I. It could be in response to something or someone. I just think to jump on something you have no idea what it means is somewhat irresponsible. Spreading rumors where there is nothing. If you get clarification and it is what you say it is, then run with it. You can take this advice or not. I always had an accountability team that I would check with periodically as well. I had some very wise and good advisers.

  236. @ Anon 1:

    Anonymous: This has nothing to do with celebrities. I have written against celebrities in the church, the SBC in particular for the past 6 years. I do however think that evidence needs to support what we are against or it is nothing but word of mouth. There has been a lot of evidence displayed up until now. Now it seems if one is Reformed in any way or makes a statement that is wrong, the person is demonized for life. People’s thinking has to be changed. There is no doubt about it. The church has been wrong in the area of women and so many other things for a long time. It needs to be addressed. Just not every single person needs to be villified to the point of almost stalking them, of doing to them what you accuse them of doing. Abuse back is not the answer and that is what has been happening on this and other comment streams. John Piper has been in ministry longer than most of you have been on this earth. He has served well. Not perfectly, but well.

  237. I also want to add, that there are so many that need to be removed from their positions. Perry Noble may be one for example as well as others. I was glad that Julie Anne’s ex-minister was delicensed. But…..there are others that are being attacked to the point of it being wrong that should not be. John Piper is one. Thank you for allowing me to comment on this blog Deb and Dee. I too would eat with you anytime, anywhere.

  238. Debbie,
    “But…..there are others that are being attacked to the point of it being wrong that should not be. John Piper is one”.

    Did you not see that my world was ripped apart in large part due to the public teaching of John Piper? Are you ok with that. Am I to be sacrificed so you can enjoy the rest of Piper’s teaching? Is it that good that it is more important than me and those like me?

    His teaching wasn’t even misapplied. Because of what he publicly teaches on divorce, I lost my entire world of friends who felt that calling me to repentance for divorce was more important than my health and safety. This is what John Piper teaches and it had real world effects on a real person. And I’m not even an abused woman. Heaven help those women who remain in worse situations than I was in out of a duty to submit to their abusive husbands.

    I am not an unreasonable man, and I am one of the first people will find to try and find good in others, even those who have done great wrong. I believe that Piper has done a lot of great things, but he absolutely needs to repent of his teachings that lead people to remain in abusive situations and lose their community when they can no longer hold up.

    I was at the lowest point of my life, facing the worst pain I have ever felt, and my “friends” did not support me. They stepped away from my life believing that handing me material by John Piper was good enough. That is evil, and he is responsible for that evil. It is absolutely correct to call him out on it and make him aware that what he teaches destroys people.

    I’m not OK with anyone being left behind. I survived that mess and am in a much better place, but I grieve for all the people Piper continues to hurt with his teaching.

    And really, I don’t think I am attacking the man- I am attacking his teaching (something he has no problem doing to others, to the point of calling David-Instone Brewer’s views that abuse/neglect victims may biblically divorce “tragic”).

    He has earned this.

  239. I too am a man who is a victim of divorce — a wife who was pregnant with another man’s baby, had an abortion, and blamed me for it. A wife who slept with many men in the last year of our marriage, and refused to stop, even for a season, as a time to work out a way to preserve our marriage.

    So we were divorced, and I suffered ostracism. Until I moved twice and found a church that did not care about the past, but only my beliefs about the sanctity of marriage and my love for Jesus Christ.

  240. Debbie: My former pastor’s license was revoked, but he’s still there preaching. It didn’t do much, and frankly, since he has despised the Grace Brethren group all along, he might have thrown a party to celebrate. It was nice, however, to be validated publicly by pastors.

    Regarding Piper’s tweet, I have been asking what it means publicly. I’m not sure how that is spreading rumors unless you are using the definition of “rumors: that many of our abusers used as in, “don’t talk”. I’m not going with that definition – been there, done that, and it doesn’t work for me anymore. I also don’t know why I need accountability to ask people what he means.

    If Piper, as a public Christian leader, sent the tweet out to over 400,000 people, he certainly opened the door for public communication about his confusing tweet. If I post something strange, I would surely expect people to ask me about it.

  241. Early on he tried to paint NT Wright as a heretic. But that quickly became embarrassing. Not only is Wright a New Testament scholar and a pastor But a gentleman who knows how to disagree.

    Our family also had a run in with his divisiveness. I was personally shocked at the brain washing That went on with some of my family members who went to work and study with him.

    I am a bit shocked to know that Trying to figure out a vague and bizarre tweet Sent out to 400 thousand people, is considered gossip or spreading rumors. That it is not pipers job to be clear….. but our job to find out what he means before we discuss it. I do not find that logical.

  242. Eagle: I agree 100% with the article “Don’t Waste Your Cancer”, I would say this concerning many things that come such as death of a loved one, loss of job etc. I strongly believe this. I even say Amen to this article. In fact this is my core belief concerning God and the Reformed doctrine. This is throughout scripture. I can’t go against what scripture says concerning God. You do realize that John Piper had cancer when he wrote this article. He was going through cancer himself.

  243. @ Debbie Kaufman:

    Eagle, this is not Fundamentalism which is the opposite of Reformed doctrine. Fundamentalism is a false charge here. This is basic Reformed theology, but I see it in scripture everywhere one looks. God is God, he does what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. He is just and good no matter what he does. But He is God. Cancer doesn’t just happen. God permits all that we go through, good and bad. Satan had to ask God to inflict Job(see the book of Job). This is scripture.

  244. @ Debbie Kaufman:

    Debbie, It is through this misinterpretation of scripture that Reformed Theology blasphemes God. It makes all evil the result of a choice by God to allow the particular evil to afflict a particular person or persons, without regard to the nature of the person or their worship and service to Him. Reformed theology makes God a monster. It denies God’s love for all of his creation, and replaces it with caprice.

  245. Debbie, I am Reformed and I would never tell someone “Don’t waste your cancer”. I actually agree with a lot of the principles in the article applied to all kinds of suffering, but there’s a difference between applying these to self and instructing others to do so. If someone with cancer is unable to “use” it, I’m not going to chastise that person. Cancer is first and foremost an affliction of evil that causes suffering. We must start there, acknowledging the great trial that it is. When a person shows a strength of faith to do more, then we can talk abiut what that looks like.

    Also, I disagree with his view that cancer is God’s design. Allowance and design are different things. This is a mystery, but we cannot make God a designer of evil. The scripture says he uses evil, but Piper (and you, apparently) are going beyond this. Either way, theology of “God’s will” is very complicated, and dealing with ultimate suffering is the wrong place to try and suss it out.

    Also, apparently you do not empathize with Eagle’s pain- you have only told him that you agree with the theology that caused his pain. In essence, you have told him that it was OK with you that he has gone through the pain he has. Did his story not affect you in any way? Did it not make you sad? If it did, is your sadness that he was unable to stand strong against his mother who was hurt when he told her she should make sure and not waste her cancer?

    And you have not addressed the personal pain I or other divorced or abused people have endured because of Piper’s teaching. I am not an abused women, but I feel it’s appropriate to include their pain in these questions:

    Do you agree with Piper that women should submit to verbal abuse?
    Do you agree with Piper that women should endure some physical abuse overnight?
    Do you agree with Piper that an abused spouse has no right to divorce?
    Do you agree with Piper that if a spouse is abandoned and the other party remarries, the abandoned spouse must remain single until their former spouse dies?
    Do you agree with Piper that it is appropriate to call a person who has divorced an abusive spouse to repentance?

  246. Eagle, you have much to teach all of us. My two cents: Your mom has forgiven you! You are forgiven, period. You are a better man than so many of us, who NEVER get to the point of actually and truly apologizing for anything.

    Debbie, I know that the internet does not allow for as much clarity of communication as we might like and you mean well, but I must say that when I read this thread and Eagle’s story of the trauma in his life and his mother’s life, and then read your heartless response, it took my breath away, it literally took my breath away. I know that you perceive that God has used John Piper’s writings in your life. He has visited my church a number of times, and I have always perceived him, in person, to be joyless and hyper-critical. I also have never perceived him to be Reformed in his theology, and I have read quite a bit he has written over the years. Evangelical, yes, Reformed, no. My perceptions are just that, my perceptions. And your perceptions are just that, your perceptions.

    Jeff S, I enjoy tracking with everything you write. Your voice is much needed.

    Dee/Deb, this is the best Christian blog around. I am a PCA pastor, which makes me a Calvinist I suppose, but the “Calvinista” tendencies that you put your finger on here SO need to be called out/exposed/chastised/condemned etc. I enjoy tracking with everything you two write as well.

  247. Ms. Kaufman, You have not defended Piper. You have come here to chide/caution the commenters and blog owners to defend someone you like. You have used a lot of the same language that many use as in “this is what the bible teaches”, etc. as if you have a corner on truth and it is Reformed. And as if no one here studies. You have failed to engage exactly how and where we are wrong about Piper. You have not given us examples or even been specific. You just use tired worn out rebukes of gossip or spreading rumor as if you are the arbiter of truth and Piper is not a public teacher who sends out mass tweets. Some here have been badly affected by Piper’s teachings.

    Why not spend your energy defending Piper with specifics instead of rebuking those who have been badly affected by his teaching or those who find him confusing and bizarre. I personally think he is a false teacher for a long list of reasons. I think those who follow him are terribly blinded. Some in my own family.

    I find it odd that Piper worked hard to try and paint Boyd, NT Wright and Instone Brewer as heretics but promoted Mark Driscoll. That in and of itself speaks to discernment issues for him. Even to the point of saying he “loved Driscoll’s theology”. And if you do not think that advising women to “take abuse for a season” is not spiritual abuse then I am not sure what is. You seem to think there is a difference between what he teaches and practices. We do not really know what goes on behind stage at Bethleham so we can only go by what he teaches. And it is spiritual abuse.

    People who can ignore the long list of very serious problems with Piper are the reason he has 400thou followers on twitter. I think there is a strong delusion when it comes to Piper. People buy into his flowery talk that when one strips away the flowery passion, there is little there and most of it makes no sense. And yes, I have listened to him for about 15 years, read most of his books (hard to stomach) and even met him in person visiting his church twice and meeting him at a seminary conference. I think he has a cult of personality following.

    From reading your comments I get the idea your first allegiance is to Reformed doctrine. And I have to agree with another commenter here that your brand of Reformed is very much typical fundamentalism in practice as is most of the YRR movement.

    I do encourage you to spend your energy defending him where you believe we get him wrong instead of just rebuking commenters and accusing them of being gossips or spreading rumors. Piper has chosen to be a very public teacher. He is fair game for analysis.

    Saying that God is God and can do what He wants to explain away some very confusing teachings is to basically say that God’s character and attributes cannot be trusted. It puts God in the position as the author of evil and ignores the volition of man and even Satan’s ability to roam this earth and wreck havoc. What God said to Satan was that he could not kill Job. The whole book is a metaphor for how things worked on earth and who we attribute evil to and it is not God. To make God the author of evil is so blasphemous I do not know where to start. God created the earth with certain immutable laws in motion that were affected by the fall but not wiped out.

    This is the basic problem with REformed doctrine. They want to start with God’s Sovereignty and ignore His other attributes as if they do not matter. They also want to make sure that humans do not even think of their responsibility on this earth. A great recipe for tyranny, I might add, since men like Piper fill that void and lead many astray. I saw it first hand what Piper has taught the young that make them so arrogant and divisive even claiming their long time believing parents do not know the real true Gospel. Because only the 16th Century brand of Christianity coming out of the Reformation is true Christianity.

    I would urge you to read outside your brand of doctrine. Not to change your mind but to broaden your understanding and perhaps give you some empathy for those who do not think Reformed is the only viable doctrine. Read some NT Wright, Kenneth Bailey, Gordon Fee, Ben Witherington even some JC Ryle for practical reasons as his “Practical Christianity” and “Holiness” are very good. It just helps because once you get the Calvin paradigm it is always read back into scripture. This is done by changing definitions of words and concepts so broadening horizons and realizing there are good godly people who disagree with your Reformed teachers.

  248. Eagle, I think you hit the nail on the head about his prostrate cancer. A very treatable cancer with many options. I think he took the opportunity to once again be a shock jock and center of attention he seems to covet. The same reason we did not need to know he was taking a Sabbatical so he could “work on the garden of his marriage” after speaking on stages all over to women and men how to have godly role defined marriages. Most of them could not affored long time Sabbaticals to work on the “garden of their marriages” that he taught them. But Piper could. Nevermind that if what he had been teaching all those years required a Sabbatical to work on, more people should have taken notice that practicing what he preached would eventually require the same thing? Piper has one of the most oppressive doctrines toward women of many in the Reformed movement

    For the life of me, I cannot understand why more people cannot see the cognative dissonance and hypocrisy that is Piper.

    JeffS said:

    “Also, I disagree with his view that cancer is God’s design. Allowance and design are different things”

    Thank you! I have quite a few reformed friends who were appalled at his teaching this.

  249. pcapastor

    Welcome to TWW. You would be welcome whether or not you were positive towards our blog but I am so glad that you like it! Trust me. This has been a rather unexpected journey, largely directed by those who comment here. You struck on something, that, until your comment I had never thought of before.  

    “He (Piper) has visited my church a number of times, and I have always perceived him, in person, to be joyless and hyper-critical.”

    That’s it! You’ve expressed it so well. I, too, see him this way.Some can become so sin focused that they lose the joy of life. One only has to read story after story at the supposed Calvinist group of churches-SGM- to see what happens when this occurs. Combine that with a rigid view on authority and you have, after time, a crisis. 

    Joylessness is a sad thing for one who claims he is a Christian hedonist.Usually, hedonists seeks to maximize pleasure. He claims to find pleasure in God but he looks like he is on a major downer with everything in the faith. Yes, we are sinners but we mist never forget that we are dearly loved sinners who are forgiven.

    We have no problem with Calvinism, only Calvinistas. Thank you for letting us know that you are reading. We do not take that for granted-ever!

  250. Anon1

    Agreed on the tweet. My theory is a good looking woman irritated him by wearing a low cut, tight shirt. And, as one who follows the tweets of many pastors/teachers, I want to know what they meant. I send out a couple of tweets a day. I would hope that, if a tweet was unclear, someone would let me know and then I would clarify it quickly. I went through all of his tweets for the past month and could not find anything that makes any sense to me. Nor has he clarified, at least on his tweet stream. Strange for a man who considers himself a great teacher. Here is his tweet link. https://twitter.com/JohnPiper

  251. pcapastor, thank you for the encouragement. It’s nice to hear from another reformed believer who doesn’t follow in lock-step with the likes of John Piper.

    If you have a chance, I’d love for you to stop by “A Cry For Justice”, a blog I contribute to which is focused on domestic abuse and how the evangelical church responds to it:

    https://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/

    Jeff Crippen, who started the blog and wrote a book of the same title, is a Reformed Baptist pastor; from what you’ve said here, I think you’d track with him very well.

    /shameless plug

  252. Eagle

    Just know that you are dearly loved and that I am so glad you have become a friend. I think your testimony is important so that others who live in a sanitized Christian world can see the effects of some of the teaching that is it out there.

    One thing I have experienced in my life is that God is in the business of taking mistakes and turning them into good. He is already doing that in your life. I find that you are a loving, compassionate, and fun person who is a great encourager of others. How do I know? Just look at all the people who turned out when you were sick. Chaplin Mike and I were in a race to see who had the most people get in touch with you. (I think he won on the bouquet and chocolate side and we won on the visitation side so it is a draw).

  253. Debbie

     What works for Piper and you does not always work for the rest of the world. Please listen to the pain Eagle expresses. “Do not let you theology trump your love”, a wise man once said. Eagle is hurt, badly. The goal is not to duel with who has the best theology but to relate.  Also, Eagle’s mom had pancreatic cancer. That is one of the most painful, cancers with one of the highest moratality rates. You don’t lecture people on embracing their pain until you know that they are on the same page as you theologically.

  254. Eagle, I want to echo what Dee is saying about your testimony. You are the flesh and blood result of what happens when people teach what Piper does. It’s the result of treating the Bible like a puzzle to be solved. The problem is, when we think we have it “solved” people end up falling through the cracks where our theology doesn’t work. And those people threaten the solution so they are ignored- but this is not consistent with the Shepherd who keeps an eye on every sheep.

    I’ve recently written a song called “No More Sacrifices”- I hope some day you get a chance to hear it, because it is a song for people like you who have been sacrificed on the altar of the gray- the altar of not being able to fit within the box of a theologian far removed from the effects of his teaching.

    Piper doesn’t see people like you, but I do, and so do many here. And so does Jesus.

  255. Debbie

    There is a strain of fundamentalism that runs through a subset of the Reformed movement. We write about here. Whether it is expressed by Piper or Bob Jones, it is still rule oriented. 

    Also, in your argumenst, could you preface what you say by “I believe.” I read the same scripture as you do and come out differently than you do as do many others. It might be helpful for you to read Olsons book Against Calvinism to see the alternative way to view the same Scripture.I am not saying that to ask you to change your mind. I am asking so that you will understand that there are intelligent people on sides of this debate. And it is a debate, not a settled issue.  I can assure you that I did so with Calvinisms. Deb can vouch for that. 

     

  256. Eagle!

    You are a budding apologist/theologian! Awesome answer to the Job question. Good for you.

  257. pcapastor wrote:

    Jeff S, I enjoy tracking with everything you write. Your voice is much needed.
    Dee/Deb, this is the best Christian blog around. I am a PCA pastor, which makes me a Calvinist I suppose, but the “Calvinista” tendencies that you put your finger on here SO need to be called out/exposed/chastised/condemned etc. I enjoy tracking with everything you two write as well.

    Jeff S I so appreciate your comments, too.

    Eagle, you really must know that you and your mom’s story is … well, something that is really important for me to read. Thank you for sharing it. I’m sure you’ve told it previously but as a newcomer here I’d not known of it.

    PCApastor I am glad you are here and (no pressure, honest!) will look forward to any future contributions you (may) make to TWW. I’m PCA, too … but been “in transition” for some time now and will likely not be returning. Regardless, your perspective will be of great interest.

  258. pcapastor,

    Welcome to The Wartburg Watch.  I am grateful that the time we invest in this endeavor is benefiting you and others.  Dee and I readily admit that we don’t come close to having all the answers, but we have an awful lot of questions.

    My dad was raised as a Presbyterian, and he has a tremendous amount of Bible knowledge.  I enjoy discussing theological issues with him, and my mom reads TWW every single day. 

    I hope you will continue to comment, and if you would ever consider writing a guest post from your perspective, we would welcome it.

    Blessings!

  259. Anon1

    Well said.” I would urge you to read outside your brand of doctrine. Not to change your mind but to broaden your understanding and perhaps give you some empathy for those who do not think Reformed is the only viable doctrine.”

    I think the problem for all people is to confront the reality that two intellegent people, looking at the same set of constructs, can come out on opposite sides of the debate. Deep down, I think there is another issue at play. When I first became a Christian, I was sure I “knew” all about the faith. I had reached my conclusions and was “quite happy, thank you very much.” About 15 years ago (It may be a bit longer-I am losing track of time), I discovered that the woman caught in adultery was not in the earliest manuscripts and confirmed that with some people at DTS (I was in Dallas at the time).

    Suddenly, my comfortable little world was thrown upside down and I needed to discover what else I didn’t know. I started listen to objections, from within and without, the faith.  It was a long and difficult journey but, huge but, I found the faith far more interesting and mysterious than I had in my past. The blessings were enormous. For me, the shakeup changed me for the better. The results of that journey are an integral part of what I express on this blog-for better or worse.

    For some, however, they cannot go there. They have the answer and their faith is dependent on their chosen paradigm. I saw this with a man at my former church. When I tried to show him that the issue we were discussing had several alternative asnwers, all fitting within the pale of orthodoxy, he said that he couldn’t go there. It rattled his faith. Trust me, I am not talking about the primary stuff.

    My current pastor said something last week that I have found to be true.  He said there are stages in the faith. The first is being sure you know it all. The second is questioning a lot of stuff. The third stage is accpeting that there are lots of questions that may not be answered in this world and being comfortable with that.It is a faith that understands the basics, believes that it holds the best explanation for what we see around us, and is comfortable with knowing that some things are a mystery. For me, that is where I am at with the whole Calvinism/Free Will debate.

  260. Anon1/Eagle

    “Eagle, I think you hit the nail on the head about his prostrate cancer. A very treatable cancer with many options.” You said what I wanted to say. Many people do not understand how widespread prostate cancer is in the older population. 1 in 6 men will get prostate cancer. There are currently 2 million men living with it. http://www.pcf.org/site/c.leJRIROrEpH/b.5800851/k.645A/Prostate_Cancer_FAQs.htm

    On the other hand Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, killing more than 95 percent of people diagnosed with it — usually within six months of diagnosis.

     

  261. dee wrote:

    My current pastor said something last week that I have found to be true. He said there are stages in the faith. The first is being sure you know it all. The second is questioning a lot of stuff. The third stage is accpeting that there are lots of questions that may not be answered in this world and being comfortable with that.

    Wisdom here, Dee.

    If your pastor has any words of encouragement for a former know-it-all like myself, now in Phase 2 but struggling with my awful know-it-all-ness, I’m all ears. :)

  262. Dee, I have had several similar findings that took me on a long journey. I have to come to a conclusion that is hard to express but I will try:

    I have come to the conclusion that Believers should unify around a relationship with Christ. NOT doctrine. Some will argue they are the same thing or they will say that is dangerous. I know how vague it sounds but as I said, it is hard to express. But what would I have in common with a Coptic, Methodist, Calvinist, CAtholic, Mennonite, etc, ….but JEsus Christ, Himself?

    Here is another reason I believe this…it is a spiritual thing not a doctrinal thing. I say “thing” because my pedantic mind cannot come up with something better. Our relationship with Christ is spiritual…dare I say it….. not “biblical”. We do not have a relationship with ink and paper although the ink and paper gives us a great and glorious grand narrative. Christ “with” us in the shape of the Holy Spirit.

    Doctrinal wars have done nothing but leave a bloody trail throughout history. I kinda sorta think we are going to dwell on a new earth with people we have never heard of, obscure people, nobodies, those who would be viewed as losers today….but with great rewards.

    Some of the most interesting reading I have done of late is about the earliest Christians. Doctrine was not important to them at all. Their focus was to live as Christ in the here and now while they were on earth. Some would call that a “works” religion. I would hope it is a natural progression for all of us. Sadly, I have found being involved in the evangelical world has been a detriment to that growth.

    God Bless you both for this venue for the broken hearted and even the angry ones who have come out of the systems of what is deemed “church”.

  263. @ Eagle:

    Job knew who sent those things which is why he responded as he did. Job was a man of God, he knew God intimately.

    Job 2:10:

    He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

  264. I have really appreciated this dialogue as it pertains to things I am going through personally. Just as spiritual abuse stories validated what I went through was actually spiritual abuse, some of you are validating questions in my mind as I am sifting through the old muck of patriarchy, legalism, abuse. I have pretty much had to wipe the slate clean as far as agendas and celebrity pastors. I don’t want that any more. I don’t want to be influenced by men, but by Christ. Through my process, God has been made very real to me through relationships. I treasure those gifts.

    I look at Eagle as he expresses his spiritual struggles and can so relate with much of what he posts in his spiritual journey. I look at how he has been treated even on “Christian” sites that do not allow him to comment. Then I observed how pcapastor cut to the chase with his beautiful response. This response was clearly from a man who cares for souls – just beautiful (thank you, pcapastor!).

    I think we do need to discuss a public figure who has 400K followers and leaves a trail of confusion and hurt. I am concerned about the Eagles of this world. They are the same ones who reached out to me when I was sued and I never knew about them before. Through the hurt they experienced in church, they reached out to me, even though many of them despise Christianity now. They showed more love to me than many Christians. Interesting. I am thankful for TWW, that it is a place of grace where people like Eagle are allowed to hang out without shame while sifting through the rubble.

  265. Theology is the study of human thinking about God, not the study of God!!

    Doctrine is the human attempt to put that thinking into words and sentences that are internally consistent and have some relationship to scripture.

    Both depend upon human ability to read and understand the scripture.

    Human understanding of scripture is limited by the culture of the human attempting to understand, by the culture of the time and place of the writing, by the limitations of human languages both past and present, and by the human endeavor of copying, translating, printing, etc.

    Since all humans have preconceptions about everything they encounter that are impossible to fully put aside, all doctrine and all theology is contaminated with human frailty.

    There is none perfect except One, and look what they did to Him! We should be very careful if we assume we are perfectly correct and the others are in error, for that is the sin of presumption, and it is blasphemy, since only One is without error, the Triune God.

  266. Rafiki

    Well, Pastor Dee :) has some advice. Bart Ehrman, the agnostic professor of religion at UNC Chapel Hill, and darling of the atheists, lost his faith because he found out that the same story that I spoke of in regards to my journey, the woman caught in adultery was not in the ealiest manuscripts. He decided that the whole thing was wrong and threw out Jesus with the bathwater and is dedicated to “proving” that the entire Bible is wrong.

    Howeve, I am a bit more pragmatic. I started with the premise that I am not the brightest bulb in the pack. So, chances are, people smarter than me had already asked the questions that I had. So, I would read a book by an atheist, write down questions, and then go find a theologian who had some answers to those questions. I did the same thing with all other faith systems in the world. 

    So, for example, Bart Ehrman wrote a book, which I read, called Misquoting Jesus. With questions in hand, I went looking for answers and found Timothy Paul Jones book caled Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus. You have no idea how many times I would go back and forth in this manner. It was time consuming but I figured that I was preparing for eternity. And guess what? I found that, for myself, there were enough answers to bolster my faith.

    What is so good for you, Rafiki, is that you have Google to do this sort of thing far easier now then when I went through my questioning period. For example, find verses in the Bible that seem contradictory or confusing (like the Leviticus mandate not to make a garment with two different threads)and then go the internet and find sources that help you to see the possible explanations. Let me caution you that you may not find answers that appeal to you on every question. For example, I am still struggling wit hthe mandate that handicapped folks could not serve in the Temple.

    Also, go to the link in my blog roll to Apt to Teach to get a different spin on some things. 

    As I told Eagle, the Christian narrative best explains the world that I see around me-pain, suffering, beauty, redemption, hope. Do I fully understand how God intervenes and does not intervene? Not at all. I call it the divine mystery. I sometimes wonder if we will ever fully understand what we see because, in eternity, we will still be the created ones and He the eternal Creator. We will understand more but, quite possibly, not all. 

    Let me encourage you. The journey is well worth it, in spite of the frustrations. Wrestle with God and keep at it. 

    Let me know if I can help in any way.

  267. @ Arce:

    Arce: I am copying your comment with “Arce” as author for my files. What you have said is so important. Many people lose sight of this with their agendas/doctrines they push on people.

  268. I think doctrine is really important. What we believe defines how we behave. The Apostles devoted themselves to studying doctrine in the early days.

    But Jesus said love was the highest command and how the world would know Christians. Paul said love was the summation of the law and without it, all of the other gifts were worthless.

    I believe that it is possible to love without losing a passion for doctrine and study about who God is. In fact, I believe the two are inseparably intertwined. The key, though, is that the evidence of Godliness is not ability to speak doctrine, but to practice love.

    I think the core of the Christian life is centered around repentance from sin and a dependence on Christ who sets us free. As new creations, we serve God and one another in love, and doing this means devoting ourselves to knowing God more deeply.

    A fellow Christian need not agree with me in Calvinism for us to bond together in love, and I’m sure through healthy and respectful dialog we can come even closer to understanding better theology. Our common ground is not found in our soteriology, but rather our love for Jesus, one another, and thankfulness for his salvation.

  269. Arce, big time bingo!

    Jeffs, Yes! If what we believe does not produce love and compassion for those broken by the system, it is worthless.

    Julie Anne, I had the same experience. It was the people outside the church who helped me the most and had the most compassion.

  270. Debbie

    There are times to quote Scripture directly and other times to edit it to get across your point. Eagle does not need the first part of Job 2 “You are talking like a foolish woman.”  You would have still made your point by quoting from Job2:10b.

    When you accept this verse on these parameters, in and of itself,  then you must say that God has caused all the pain and suffering in the world-Hitler, Pol Pot, bubonic plague, the rape of a small child- to “bless” everyone and cause everyone to grow.  However, that is leaving out the ramification of man’s fall. There is also pain and suffering as a result of the Fall. There is cancer because we rebelled not because God wants to make a point with Satan with each and everyone of us.

    We cannot take one verse and say it applies to all circumstances at all times. God is not sending Satan to prove a point with each one of us. The wonder of Job is that he constantly looks to God. He accuses Him, questions Him, complains to Him-always looking to Him. So, Eagle in his responses is following a similar path to Job. He is working it out and that is worthy of support and love.

     

  271. “It was the people outside the church who helped me the most and had the most compassion.”

    I remember this joke that someone told me in the midst of me leaving my church as I was going through the divorce:

    Joe: Bob, I love this church. People always greet me and ask me what’s going on. They care about me and miss me when I’m away on a trip. Everyone here listens when I’ve had a rough week, and if I’m ever struggling they always want to pitch in and give me a hand. I don’t know what I’d ever do without this place.

    Bob: There’s just one problem, Joe- this isn’t a church, it’s a bar!

  272. Jeff S

    Have you ever heard the song by the Trans Siberian Orchestra “Old City Bar?”  Makes you cry.

  273. You know, on this whole subject of how we deal with suffering, I’m going to self-plug again because I just posted this blog post two days ago about my favorite hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul”.

    https://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/it-is-well-with-my-soul/

    The thing is, while Spafford responded to intense suffering with this amazing poem, it is far different to read than read Piper’s admonishment to not “Waste Your Cancer”. Spafford didn’t admonish or instruct others on how to suffer correctly- he just pointed to the cross as part of dealing with his grief.

    And do you know that he was essentially ousted from his church because of all of the tragedies that befell him? Christians are great at shooting their wounded.

  274. Anon1

    I think many people want to “know” everything so they can dot the i’s and cross the t’s. For some, perfect doctrine is a way to assure that they are not only saved but that they are being good Christians. They claim to understand grace but then want the “spcifics” on doctrine in order to be really sure. 9 Marks is now going down the path of saying that they hold the keys of the authority of the kingdom and the church can declare who is saved and who isn’t.

    I know a local pastor who called some friends of mine wicked and unregenerate because they believed that women could be deacons. Wicked and unregenrate is code word for “not saved.” This guy must be following  different God than me because these are wonderful Christinas. This pastor wants to be in charge. He can now speak for God on the salvation issue which is tied up in his rigid, Neo-Calvinistic doctrine.

    On Monday, I am going to share a difficult story from my past as I look at a debate going on over at TGC regarding contraception and abortion. I hope it will show that I, as a poorly educated Christian in my early years, did not understand some basic truths. Yet, if you had known me at that time, I wanted to be a “good” Christian but had little understanding of what that meant. But God can use even a poor decision to bring good. 

    And ,the environment here is not due to us, it is due to those who comment here. It is your love and acceptance that makes this thing go.

     

  275. Dee, Looking forward to Monday. Praying for you, too.

    Btw: This free online book written by a former Calvinist has some interesting things to say on the book of Job when it comes to giving God credit for evil. For those interested in doctrinal views. :o) (I want to say that I do think what we believe is important but I am concerned for the way the word “doctrine” is being used these days and I use it, too! It just does not convey “teaching” anymore as in what the Holy Spirit teaches but what man teaches other humans)

    http://www.xcalvinist.com/

  276. Dee: The first part of your comment is something that I do not believe nor is it my point. I do not have the time or space to go deep into this and it is why I do not get involved in discussions. I do have to ask all of you..I disagree with you and still do concerning your treatment of John Piper. Does this mean that I can’t disagree? I have been called uncompassionate and accused of all kinds of debauchery, although I have written against corruption and fought against it for 6 years. I was one of the first women bloggers to take on such subjects, yet I am accused of such things, Dee writes what she does, having met me, reading my blog, yet I disagree here and I am accused even of spiritual abuse against Eagle….yet you think you are not doing spiritual abuse by your comments?

    I would simply ask you to rethink here. I’m done, but feel even more strongly about this than I did before the discussion. Do not become the thing you hate.

  277. Debbie, you have not engaged a single thing I’ve said. Again, Piper teaches things that destroy people. You have not even attempted to refute this.

    I am not the thing I hate.

    P.S. As for your treatment of Eagle- you showed no empathy for a broken man. Call it what you will, but it is not how Jesus responded to people like him.

  278. @ Anon 1:

    Anon 1 –

    I thought his take on Job was quite good. Have you read Olson’s book on Calvinism? It sounds as if it covers many of the same concerns.

  279. “I would simply ask you to rethink here.”

    Rethink what exactly? I am not following you at all. It seemed by your comments you came here to preach not engage. Where are specific examples? When some have tried to engage, you go back into preach mode warnings as if we are in the 1st grade theologically.

    ” Do not become the thing you hate.”

    This is starting to sound like a mantra you heard somewhere. What does it mean, exactly? What thing? How could Dee and Deb become spiritual abusers? They have no power over people. Everyone comes here at their free will. (oops, I know you don’t believe in such a thing) They do not ask for offerings or even for people to believe their teaching. They listen and interject.

    The celebrity pastors have many stages, conferences, book, tweets,and venues to get their teaching out and to even correct things they have said that cause confusion. They are paid for it, too. I think putting this blog and the blog owners in the same category as long time celebrity pastors who teach authority for themselves is very unfair and I do not believe you have made your case. And yes, Piper is big on heirarchies and authority. It colors all his teaching. The irony is you would have no credibility with him for being a woman. You cannot even read scripture aloud in his church.

    As to Eagle, your comments to him were unnecessary and once again using the scripture as a club to prop up a determinist God. A devastating “Piper” experience with his own mother. Because he believed Piper about God. Have some compassion.

  280. “The irony is you would have no credibility with him for being a woman. You cannot even read scripture aloud in his church.”

    And if your husband threatened to kill you and you went to Piper for advice, he would tell you to submit.

  281. Debbie Kaufman said: I would simply ask you to rethink here. I’m done, but feel even more strongly about this than I did before the discussion. Do not become the thing you hate.

    Debbie, you are not owning up to your own words here:

    I just think to jump on something you have no idea what it means is somewhat irresponsible. Spreading rumors where there is nothing. If you get clarification and it is what you say it is, then run with it. You can take this advice or not.

    This comment was addressed to me. Look at your comment about spreading rumors. You implied I was spreading rumors. I asked you how it is spreading rumors by asking for clarification. Have you answered that question? I asked Piper himself on his tweet what he meant, I also engaged those who responded to the tweet by asking them if they knew what Piper meant. Nobody knew. I then posted a blog post asking my readers. No one had a real answer. I brought it here and I’ve only had one person who suggested a reasonable idea. Discussion like this is not spreading rumors. That was an unfounded accusation. And if you see, I did exactly what you suggested: I sought clarification.

    Yet now, you say, “I’m done here” and “do not become what you hate.” Debbie, it felt like you were trying to shut me down with your words by accusing me of gossip. It seemed you had a real problem with me bringing up Piper’s weird tweet. No one has tried to shut you down, even if you disagree.

  282. Bridget, I have not read it. I know I should for another view from an Arminian. I have read his blog a lot and I have a hard time getting into Olson. He seems to be as rabid an Arminian as the YRR are Calvinist!

    I should put it in the kindle queue. I have one in there already by a former SBC Calvinist pastor. I think we are going to see more of that, btw. Right now I am engrossed in Justo Gonzales’ Vol 1 of the History of Christianity. Good stuff.

    I really got tired of the YRR labeling me an Arminian when I said I was not a Calvinist. I had to go and study up on ARminius and the back and forth on that one. Sheesh! History is so nutty. I call it theological politics!

    It is a good thing I know my identity in Christ and have citizenship in the New Jerusalem to come. I am a person with no country in this world. :o)

  283. Debbie

    Who has accused you of debauchery? That means extreme indulgence in sensual pleasures and, although I disagree with you conclusions, I have never thought that of you. Now, Mark Driscoll, perhaps? All I am sayng is that communication on blogs is difficult. We cannot see each others faces or hear our voices. We can mistake each others intentions. Just recently, I made what I thought to be a lighthearted quip but I was in a hurry and did not take the time to clarify that it was meant to be funny. So, I was called on it and I hurriedly made sure that they understood that I was not being serious.

    I have met you, fae to face, but others have not. So, all people have to judge you on is your words. That is why we must take care that we write what we mean.

    For example, a year ago, Deb and I used the word “lie” in a less traditional sense of the word. We meant it to be defined as a fallacy. However, we got slammed from an SGM guy who claimed we were saying that a pastor deliberately lied. When I tried to explain, he shut me down and refused to believe that is what we meant although “fallacy’ is considered a synonym for “lie.” I would have no way of knowing if the pastor deliberately lied since I was not present but I do believe that he espoused a fallacy.

    I have found that blogging requires a lot of me because I must communicate adequately with words when in life, I am an emotional person who is very expressive with my gestures, fascial expressions, tone, etc.  I am not a natural writer and I am learning day by day what works and what does not. 

    So, it can seem that someone is being dismissive or unkind when it might be the furthest thing from that person’s mind. Therefore, I have an obligation to take lots of time to clear up any misperceptions that I have created due to this difficult medium. I hope this makes sense to you.

  284. @ Anon 1:

    I don’t know anything about Olson, just that he had a book out as well. I hear you about the Arminian/Calvin issue. I don’t care to be in one or the other boxes myself. It is almost impossible to declare yourself a believer without people insisting you have to be “labeled” as one or the other. I seem to recall early believers being corrected about claims of I am with so-and-so, or the-other-so-and-so. Why can’t we just be of/in Christ (.)? I am whether or not anyone thinks I can :)

  285. I once took a job with a company that was a leader in the field. Within about three months, I discovered that they were not particularly caring about their employees in fact, although they covered pretty well with some good PR stuff. After an avoidable accident killed a young man after the CEO overruled me on a safety issue, I discovered that the owners were basically using the business to launder money from illegal enterprises. Because I refused to take the blame for the death, I was fired and blackballed, so I moved across country and started my own business. And the CEO and several of the owners were in church every Sunday.

  286. “There are lots of potential difficult situations with lots of gray, and people who are gray fall through the cracks. It happens…. ”

    It does, but my conviction is that the church must not be OK with people falling through the cracks, and we start by not treating theology like a puzzle to be solved. I once heard a guy say the following:

    “One of the things I cover in my leadership seminar is the more times you say “if I did it for you I’d have to do it for everyone”, the easier it is to replace you with a computer.”

    I think this is a similar attitude to much of the evangelical church and it led me to write the following blog entry:
    https://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/are-our-leaders-replaceable-by-computers/

    I’ll quote myself here because I think it’s relevant to your question:

    “Rules are easy. Rules are simple. But they totally fail at deal with the messy and grey, and really if we read the scripture with clear eyes we see that God is intensely interested in the messy and grey. I’m not suggesting that we try to negate or otherwise skate around the direction of scripture in our lives, but I do think that real pastoral care requires more than just hearing a person’s situation, plugging in the scripture “source code” and then rendering a judgement or order of behavior. God gave us minds that not only can do logic and follow instructions like a computer, but minds that can do abstract thought, think intuitively, and empathize. And even THAT wasn’t enough, for he gave believers the Holy Spirit.

    We are to know people, love them, and get involved in their messy lives. God certainly did – that is the evidence of his love for us- that he loved the world so much he sent his only begotten to BE one of us. God could never be replaced with a computer; let us strive to never be replaceable ourselves.”

    To your specific questions- it’s true that a lot of people suffer through no fault of their own. What the church is to do is come beside them and love them; if the situation cannot be fixed, at least each of these people can be elevated in some way.

    I believe in absolute truth, even if we don’t know it. And every time our theology runs into situations that make us unloving, we have to stop and reconsider that what we believe isn’t “there” yet. If it doesn’t work in the grey, it doesn’t work. It’s time to revisit the scripture and go deeper. And you can’t do this without humility and a willingness to get involved in the messy.

    Am I answering your question, or did I veer off in another direction?

  287. Eagle,
    Hopefully I am not trying Dee and Deb’s patience here by self quoting, but this is the song I was talking about earlier. It’s not recorder yet (it will be on my next CD as the final track- my call to action as it were), but this is pretty much how I feel about this topic:

    So many people with big ideas who have it all figured out
    Every puzzle piece in its perfect place, no room for any doubt
    But it doesn’t quite fit they way they think and there’s cracks that they don’t see
    And there are those who have been left behind when they’ve fallen in between

    Hear the cry for justice, and the call to endure
    Hear the cry for justice, to lift our voices until we’re heard

    No more sacrifices
    We’re not leaving you behind
    No more faithful hearts
    Missing from the bottom line
    We’ll work the fields of the Shepherd
    Who keeps every lamb in sight
    No more sacrifices
    This is our bottom line

    On the altar of the simple road is the blood of the messy grey
    Those who fell outside the box and had to be pushed away
    If the answer sometimes doesn’t work then we’ve got more work to do
    Because truth that doesn’t work when you’re in the grey isn’t really truth

    Hear the cry for justice, and the call to endure
    Hear the cry for justice, to lift our voices until we’re heard

    No more sacrifices
    We’re not leaving you behind
    No more faithful hearts
    Missing from the bottom line
    We’ll work the fields of the Shepherd
    Who keeps every lamb in sight
    No more sacrifices
    This is our bottom line

  288. 56 years, I know a mega church elder who wanted to sue his partner to buy him out because of some problems. The partner also attended the same church. The board of elders, all big names in business around here, gave him “Matthew 18 coverage” to go ahead with the suit and he won. The partner who lost the case died shortly after of a heart attack. No one felt a bit guilty or even had one ounce of remorse. Was the business partner totally innocent? No. But neither was the elder. And I know the story up close and personal.

    These are not men to be trifled with. They view their church activities as giving them christian cover in so many cases. They ruin people at the drop of a hat. I trust NONE of them. The celebs also have to keep the PR train alive or they are dead nobodies tomorrow. So many are under a delusion it is all about Christ. It isn’t. You do not stay in the public eye without a lot of hard work to do so. I know this first hand. That is why I do not trust them. I know what it takes.

  289. @ Debbie Kaufman:

    Debbie,

    You say to Dee, “If you can show me through scripture where my beliefs are wrong, I will consider I am wrong. But it has to be through scripture only, not what you think doesn’t fit your view of God.”

    To you, I say, “If you can show me through scripture where your beliefs are right, I will consider that you might be right.”

    Unless I missed some things, I don’t recall once where you justify a single thing you’ve said. The most you seem to say is “it’s true because it is. It’s inerrant because it is.”

    You did explain that you avoid these kinds of discussions because you don’t have time or space to get into it all. That is understandable. But you see, you didn’t avoid the discussion. You seem to have dived right in. Since you never had any intention of explaining and justifying your point of view, it seems you came to lecture everyone.

    I’m frustrated

  290. Thanks so much for the encouragement., Anon 1. I am very hopeful that this album will help a few going through the darkness that I went through.

  291. Eagle/whoever is still up
    The SGM lawsuit has been amended. It will prove to be shocking. More later.