Breaking News on SGM Lawsuit: Appeal Planned Amid Other Actions

Susan Burke, the plaintiff's attorney, has given TWW permission to reprint the following statement, verbatim.

We (the victims and the lawyers) all knew about the statute issue at the outset. But fighting for justice means doing so even against known obstacles. We had a conspiracy theory to overcome the statute but the Court rejected it. The victims are all brave and courageous people whose willingness to fight against evil has already made a difference in the world. Also, please realize going forward with a civil lawsuit does not in any way prevent criminal actions – perhaps may even make it more likely. And please keep praying, as we think the Court erred, and will be appealing her ruling.
All the best,
Susan L. Burke

What does this mean? The law is a bit like sausage. It is disgusting while being made but it can turn out just fine. After analyzing what little I knew last night, I came to the conclusion that yesterday's ruling may, in the long run, be to the benefit of the plaintiffs. Sometimes it is important to get technical issues out of the way before the actual trial. But, then again, I am no lawyer, just someone who likes to watch court cases discussed by pundits.

On Monday, I plan to address the seeming joy of some of the Calvinista brotherhood upon learning that the majority of the lawsuit was thrown out on a technicality. How very illuminating! Do they think that God is more interested in "statutes of limitation" or His children? Did any of them mention concern for the alleged wounded children? I'll answer that on Monday but, more and more, these appear to be rhetorical questions.

Please pray for Attorney Burke, her staff, the plaintiffs and for truth and justice.

Update 5/18 4:42 PM- A statement by Pam Palmer, aka SGM Not, and the mother of Renee Palmer Gamby 

Yesterday, the defendants evaded their day in court on technicalities. This ruling was not judged on the merits of our claim. It does not indicate anything about the truth of the horrific facts of our Second Amended Complaint, nor the guilt of those responsible. Justice is a slow process and this is not the end of that process – we are in this fight for the long haul.

The legal difficulties for SGM, et al is NOT going away anytime soon. We will be appealing this decision. And as reported recently on the news and internet, a criminal investigation is forthcoming. God is faithful and this is ultimately His fight. He hates evil done to the least of His — that definitely includes little, innocent children.

I am so proud of the young women and men, who have stood up, told their stories and joined this legal battle, knowing that criticism or difficulties would come — and they did it anyway, as a step of empowering for themselves and for protection of other little children. That is love. That is being Christ-like. That is true courage.

Comments

Breaking News on SGM Lawsuit: Appeal Planned Amid Other Actions — 269 Comments

  1. Yesterday, the defendants evaded their day in court on technicalities. This ruling was not judged on the merits of our claim. It does not indicate anything about the truth of the horrific facts of our Second Amended Complaint, nor the guilt of those responsible. Justice is a slow process and this is not the end of that process – we are in this fight for the long haul. The legal difficulties for SGM, et al is NOT going away anytime soon. We will be appealing this decision. And as reported recently on the news and internet, a criminal investigation is forthcoming. God is faithful and this is ultimately His fight. He hates evil done to the least of His — that definitely includes little, innocent children. I am so proud of the young women and men, who have stood up, told their stories and joined this legal battle, knowing that criticism or difficulties would come — and they did it anyway, as a step of empowering for themselves and for protection of other little children. That is love. That is being Christ-like. That is true courage.

  2. A few observations (to take or leave):

    When I was a low-level federal employee, I spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out why things were the way they were – the nonsensical, contradictory, often just plain wrong things that happened. My boss kept telling me that I was wasting my time and energy, because ultimately, it’s just how things were/are – and far better to stop fighting that and just get on with things, no matter the weirdnesses (often very petty) that were built into the system.

    She was right. I finally did learn to stop myself from getting p.o.’d (well, most of the time!) and it was a relief.

    I think the law and the legal system is much the same, probably complicated by the fact that different jurisdictions can have wildly conflicting statutes that have a bearing on cases like this one.

    Sometimes you just have to go through the motions in order to get to the more important parts of the process. It’s what lawyers like Burke do every day, for whoever they’re representing. It’s hard, hard work, and long waiting periods and stupid technicalities are part of it – there’s no way they can be avoided.

    And there is no deus ex machina waiting in the wings to “rescue” everyone from these procedures.

  3. I linked to the following quote by Longfellow in the last post, but thought it might be appropriate to add it here –

    Though the mills of God grind slowly;
    Yet they grind exceeding small;
    Though with patience he stands waiting,
    With exactness grinds he all.

    More info. here

  4. numo wrote:

    I linked to the following quote by Longfellow in the last post, but thought it might be appropriate to add it here –

    Though the mills of God grind slowly;
    Yet they grind exceeding small;
    Though with patience he stands waiting,
    With exactness grinds he all.

    A good reminder. Thank you.

  5. Wow!!! Eagle , you had me in tears with your beautiful post. You are so right, as Christians we should be the first ones to respond to the victims of evil. This is how God responds. May you continue to grow in the grace and love of our Lord.

  6. Eagle!!!!! :::::tears:::::: This is such a wonderful comment. Thank you so much for sharing what you have gone through and the struggles and heartache. I don’t see you running away from your pain, but accepting it, learning from it, and showing the love of Christ in the process. Sending cyber hugs all the way from the desert of WA.

    BTW, this is so true: ” You know the real sad part about Mark Dever and CJ Mahaney is that if both of them actually believed what they taught they had an incredible opportunity to embrace adversity and hardship as opportunities for sanctification. They could have shown many people how discipline is
    practiced in a healthy way. Mahaney’s character could have been refined, molded, shaped into something better than what he is right now. But as everyone here knows….that didn’t happen. In the end one ran from sanctification and the other helped him run.”

    And this part: “But where does that faith come from? Well in all honesty I have to say that it rests in part with the plaintiffs.”

    Ok, did the plaintiffs ever have a clue that their horrific experience would help YOU, Eagle? This is so beautiful.

    Thanks so much for posting this. Who’d have thunk it! Remember last year? Wow.

  7. Eagle, I have missed you but am so delighted with where you are right now.

    You said:

    And someone here pointed out to me the courage that the Plaintiffs had in standing up to evil. My thinking began to change to reflect the changing question. How do you respond to evil? And I realized that you had to contest it, you had to confront it, and be upfront with it. And before my eyes I saw this taking place in the brave individuals who stood up to SGM Ministries. Their courage has helped me immensely in helping me find a way forward with the Problem of Evil”

    YES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE NEVER ALLOW IT TO BECOME THE NEW NORMAL WITHOUT A FIGHT. EVER.

  8. Eagle, thank you for this:

    “I consumed his material and in the end had a faith crisis when what I was taught didn’t work.”

    Oh boy is this a hot button for me. Christianity is practical and applicable to life. It is not the deep confusing mystery so many try to sell us so we have to go to them for what to think and do. The open tomb is our key to the narrow road. As Val explained so well: We were ransomed. And I will add–we DO have “ability”

  9. http://christianbookexpo.com/bestseller/all.php?id=0513Eagle wrote:

    The other two options are in a way embracing evil. You can’t be indifferent toward evil, as you are choosing to stand alongside it. If you are choosing to be indifferent you have made a choice. Denny Burk and Kevin DeYoung have chosen to embrace evil. They should know better. Given the lines that are being drawn in the sand I am challenging every person who reads here, and at other blogs (SGM Survivors, Spiritual Sounding Board, etc..) to dispose of all material from John Piper, CJ Mahaney, Kevin DeYoung, Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll, etc…

    Eagle — Although it is common to believe that Piper, Driscoll, DeYoung, Chandler, and Mahaney are best-selling authors, they really aren’t.

    They don’t show up on the Top 50 best-seller list for Christian books right now. And they didn’t make it on the 2012 Christian Top 50 best-seller list either.

    2012: http://www.christianbookexpo.com/bestseller/bestof2012/
    Current: http://christianbookexpo.com/bestseller/all.php?id=0513

  10. Pyromaniacs’ Frank Turk has weighed in with a couple of Tweets.

    Unbelievably, this tragic lawsuit appears to be funny material to this jokester.

    quote:

    Tweets
    Frank Turk @Frank_Turk
    I have a theory: j.mp/Z2mC5q the judge is actually Al Mohler and he’s part of the cover up.
    about 3 hours ago Frank Turk @Frank_Turk
    Well, hell: j.mp/12ijKxW now we’ll never hear the end of it. Or else: CJ paid off the Judge.
    about 4 hours ago

    https://twitter.com/intent/user?screen_name=Frank_Turk&original_referer=http://teampyro.blogspot.com/

  11. @ Eagle:

    I don’t think I’ve ever bought or owned anything by Piper or Driscoll, so no worries there.

    Don’t forget that “helping others” is not just about helping homeless and orphans.

    Anyone who is in your path or vicinity is your neighbor, and they might need help too – and that might be your co-worker at your job, or your neighbor who lives across the street from you.

    One factor of several that drove me to being more agnostic was precisely the situation of going to other Christians during some rough times in my life the last 5 years and either being ignored, brushed off, or getting criticism and judgement.

    I had some Christians who blew me off in my time of great pain say that they volunteer weekly or monthly at soup kitchens for homeless people, or charities that help invalid seniors.

    Yet they could not or would not spare any compassion for me, because I guess in their view, I was not “needy” enough or something.

    It was that sort of treatment and attitude by Christians (among other reasons) that caused me to really re-examine Christianity and think it’s false.

    A few things that have keep me hanging on to Christianity – are the person of Jesus Christ, and my mother.

    One reason I cannot deal with visiting forums by ex-Christians who now identify as atheist is that some of them slam all Christians as a whole. They are vitriolic to all Christians.

    And that bothers me, because my Mom (who is deceased now) was a very loving, sweet Christian woman.

    My Mom used to scrub filth and crud off neighbors’ dirty floors after hurricanes and do other menial tasks like that, even for neighbors who she knew were Non Christian.

    I do think a lot of Christians fall woefully short of living out the teachings of Christ, but there are a few rare ones like my Mom, who did try. (I do what I can where I can to help, but as I don’t have much money and can’t get out much, I’m limited.)

  12. @ Eagle:

    Eagle,

    You are loved, your words today bring tears of joy. Your story reminds me that Jesus shepherds us sheep through our suffering & losses always seeking to bring us back safely into the fold.

    I don’t know if I ever told you that I thought my faith was dead, after being crushed by the church I attended. I thought 99% of all Christians were just like the ones I went to church with. Till, I read an article on Internet Monk that turned my heart inside out, gave me hope that maybe I wasn’t a lost cause.

    I heard new voices over there, voices of grace and compassion, and I heard your voice (and Hug) over there, which brought me here and to Julie Anne at SSB and my faith has been restored because I understand now that I accepted false teaching.

    Kevin DeYoung’s church is in my city, I want to picket his church with a sign that states “I stand with the victims” The creepy thing is it is my old church building. Will continue to pray for you!

  13. @ Carol:

    How he can make jokes about this?

    A jury found O. J. Simpson not guilty, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t murder his wife and the wife’s friend. Sometimes a case being let go on a technicality or some such does not mean there was no wrong doing going on.

  14. @ Eagle:
    Wow!

    Once again I find myself without words, except this time it’s good! :D

    Eagle, you are awesome.

    There. I said it. :)

  15. @ elizabeth seton:

    Oh yeah, Robertson told men it’s okay to divorce their spouses if they have dementia. He did get blow back online for that, and rightly so.

    On previous occasions, Robertson has excused married men’s infidelity by saying, “He’s just a man” or by saying the mistress in question was very physically attractive, so of course, you know the husband couldn’t help but cheat. He did the same thing as recently last week.

    Robertson rarely holds men accountable for their bad / sinful actions and lays all the blame on women / wives for what their husbands do.

  16. Watching his interaction with the other spokesperson, he cuts her off and marginalizes her. Very telling. I used to watch Pat Robertson thousands of years ago and this was not how he was. . . maybe it’s who he’s always been . . . makes me want to throw up.
    @ Daisy:
    Daisy wrote:

    @ elizabeth seton:
    Oh yeah, Robertson told men it’s okay to divorce their spouses if they have dementia. He did get blow back online for that, and rightly so.
    On previous occasions, Robertson has excused married men’s infidelity by saying, “He’s just a man” or by saying the mistress in question was very physically attractive, so of course, you know the husband couldn’t help but cheat. He did the same thing as recently last week.
    Robertson rarely holds men accountable for their bad / sinful actions and lays all the blame on women / wives for what their husbands do.

  17. Pingback: Sovereign Grace Ministries Lawsuit Whirlwind Recap | Spiritual Sounding Board UNITED STATES

  18. Carol,

    It is obvious Turk lacks compassion for molested little children. my guess is he read the wikileaks docs and thought it was normal conversing for grown men. He most likely read the lawsuit and thought the plaintiff’s were sinning for daring to say anything negative about leaders who protected the molesters.

    If there is one thing folks must learn it is that in the Neo Reformed movememnt, their doctrine is more important than anything else. More important than molested little children.

    Which is why the movement is spiritually bankrupt.

  19. @ Eagle: Eagle – wow! :)

    Many hugs… and you’re no different to a *lot* of us out here who were tied up in/by similar (or the same) ideas. I pray that you will be able to let go of what was and embrace what is (along with the One who is always and forever a Yes, full of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness).

    I look forward to hearing from you in the future, and will miss you, but also know that you need to step away for a while.

    with much love,
    n.

  20. @ Eagle:
    Sending love Eagle! Will eagerly look forward to seeing how you get on…I’m hoping one day my faith will be revived, we’ll see. You are much loved here.

  21. @ Anon 1:
    Based on his blog this guy’s IQ is probably in the single digits. I don’t think he’s literate enough to read legal documents.

    I’ve never understood what people see in the Pyromaniacs blog.

  22. Sue wrote:

    it just me or is Al Mohler having a “Benjamin Button” problem? Does anyone else think his tweets are getting sillier and sillier as if he’s turning into a teenager instead of pushing 55?

    Sue. Finally someone else who is seeing it. I have a theory on this since I used to know quite a few in mega industrial complex. The audience does not really know these guys at all. I won’t go into that issue but what social media has done is give us more insight into who they really are.

    Mohler was crafted as a brilliant theologian. An “up and coming evangelical” according to Time Mag back in the 90’s. HIs personal was carefully crafted and being the youngest ever appointed as an entity President at 33. So he was handed great power very young and spent his time consolidating it. He is untouchable now. And quite comfortable.

    He has said many things in the last 5-6 years that would have ruined him back in the 90’s.

    Social media is the best thing to happen for many of us. And it is a wake up call that those we might think we know from books, stages, conferences are persona’s. Evangelicalism really needs to grow up and stop with the People Mag culture. i have been both amused and saddened to hear so many young men praise Mohler’s character when they have only seen him on stage or shook his hand. How would they know?

    What is scary, though, are how many young men cannot the same thing you are seeing. They are indoctrinated to follow man.

  23. Carol wrote:

    Pyromaniacs’ Frank Turk has weighed in with a couple of Tweets.

    Unbelievably, this tragic lawsuit appears to be funny material to this jokester.

    quote:

    Tweets
    Frank Turk @Frank_Turk
    I have a theory: j.mp/Z2mC5q the judge is actually Al Mohler and he’s part of the cover up.
    about 3 hours ago Frank Turk @Frank_Turk
    Well, hell: j.mp/12ijKxW now we’ll never hear the end of it. Or else: CJ paid off the Judge.
    about 4 hours ago

    https://twitter.com/intent/user?screen_name=Frank_Turk&original_referer=http://teampyro.blogspot.com/

    That is just evil. I cannot consider this man a brother in Christ after reading these tweets.

    In another recent tweet (I don’t know how to link to them), Turk says that this sexual abuse scandal is not “morally equivalent” to Gosnell. Apparently, young children being gang-raped by men in masks is not as bad as what Gosnell did, in the fundamentalist mind.

  24. Nicholas wrote:

    In another recent tweet (I don’t know how to link to them), Turk says that this sexual abuse scandal is not “morally equivalent” to Gosnell. Apparently, young children being gang-raped by men in masks is not as bad as what Gosnell did, in the fundamentalist mind.

    Of course, according to the Pyro crowd, “elephant room 2″ was worse than child rape and coverup: http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2011/10/evangelical-freakshow.html?showComment=1317731065780#c2097417836310647879

  25. Pingback: Maryland court dismisses civil suit against Sovereign Grace Ministries | Bene Diction Blogs On UNITED STATES

  26. @ Anon 1: Thanks, Anon 1, I like your theory and it certainly applies to someone like Challies. I’ve noticed that the general quality of Mohler’s work has gone downhill since the lawsuit was filed.

    Thus another theory is that Mohler is cashing in on his brand by writing material for non-intellectuals (I’m trying to be nice) before he gets wiped out by a lawsuit and/or fired by the SBTS.

    His power base is getting a beating and he’s had many enemies in the SBC since he pulled that coup d’etat at Southern Seminary when he was 33.

  27. @ Anon 1 & Sue:

    Al Mohler’s only 55? I guess I assumed he was older than that, like around 65. Honestly I’ve realized recently I know next to nothing about the man because I just never paid attention to him. I didn’t even know he was Calvinist until I started reading up on the SGM stuff. He always seemed to me to be billed as an “America’s Pastor” type.

  28. @ Nicholas:

    “In another recent tweet…Turk says that this sexual abuse scandal is not ‘morally equivalent’ to Gosnell. Apparently, young children being gang-raped by men in masks is not as bad as what Gosnell did, in the fundamentalist mind.”

    I was thinking about this earlier today. These folks claim to be the last bastion of the True Gospel/Christianity in America, and act like they have the moral high ground on abortion, gay marriage, etc. And when it came to Kermit Gosnell, Kasey Anthony, Jerry Sandusky, etc., they had no qualms about confidently pronouncing a guilty verdict before the cases were decided (actually correct me if I’m wrong, isn’t Gosnell’s still in progress?). But when it’s their own people accused of something equally heinous, you get either “innocent until proven guilty” or the loud sound of crickets chirping. I mean, I realize that almost everyone uses double standards sometimes (though we should try to avoid doing it consciously), but you can at least try to pretend you’re objective.

    It also occurred to me today that support for SGM, as a general rule, seems to fall almost perfectly along denominational lines. If you’re Neo-Calvinist, you support SGM. If you’re not Neo-Calvinist, you don’t. Maybe that should tell us something.

  29. @ Carol:

    Carol: May I blame you for my relapse in responding to Frank Turk? I couldn’t convince my fingers to not hit enter. Ugh. I’m so disgusted. He has me blocked. Hopefully I won’t see his responses and be tempted again.

  30. Nicholas wrote:

    In another recent tweet (I don’t know how to link to them), Turk says that this sexual abuse scandal is not “morally equivalent” to Gosnell. Apparently, young children being gang-raped by men in masks is not as bad as what Gosnell did, in the fundamentalist mind.

    I thought Calvinism taught all sin is the same to God. At least that is the way the YRR in my neck of the woods present it.

  31. Sue, if my memory serves me well, Mohler was 34 when he fired Paul Debusman who was about 8 months away from retiring and in his late 60’s. He had worked at SBTS for about 30 yeaars. His crime? He DARED to disagree with a chapel speaker in a letter. The chapel speaker said that conservatives had not been allowed to speak at SBTS until the Conservative Resurgence. Debusman, a librarian and somewhat of a historian of the institution sent him a letter with the name of known conservatives who HAD spoken at SBTS.

    http://mainstreambaptist.blogspot.com/2007/09/whatever-became-of-paul-debusman.html

    Can you imagine the power trip Mohler has been on? He fires a man just shy of a year of retiring who poured his life into the institution for disagreeing! The irony is the YRR he has spawned are just like him. Mean and cruel.The chapel speaker who was offended and told Mohler was Tom Eliff who is now the President of SBC’s International Mission Board.

    BUT….had Mohler dared to utter some of the things he has been saying the last 6 years or so back then, he would not be around. Most of his supporters were not Calvinists. He made his mark as a culture warrior which they loved. In other words, he used them to consolidate power.

    These guys have a long history of censoring and making examples of those who dare correct them. If anyone thinks there is anything but group think and indoctrination at SBTS, I have some Whitewater property in ARk to sell them.

    The SBC now has churches that won’t even consider pastoral candidates from SBTS or SEBTS.

    Hey, did you guys hear that DAnny Akin at SEBTS is having Mahaney in to speak soon?

  32. @ Hester: I looked it up and SBTS had a big 50th birthday party for him in 2010. He used to aim for a broad market and aggressively courted secular intellectuals. But lately he’s been re-printing material from his Conviction book, which is written at a 6th grade level, and keeping a low profile generally.

    And the tweets range from telling bad sex jokes to talking about his model train hobby. I think he knows his days are numbered and is therefore prioritizing sales over scholarship.

    I agree that almost anyone would be better than Mohler yet think the SBC in general leaves a lot to be desired right now.

  33. Julie Anne wrote:

    Carol: May I blame you for my relapse in responding to Frank Turk? I couldn’t convince my fingers to not hit enter. Ugh. I’m so disgusted. He has me blocked. Hopefully I won’t see his responses and be tempted again.

    It takes a while to wean yourself off responding to them. It is a complete waste of time. AS to Turk, he has been around blogdom since day one and most people who have been around know he has tried to make himself as much of a celebrity as he can in that world. For a while there back in the early days of blogging his ambition was to have his blog linked from as many sources as possible. He was not shy about it. His blog never really took off but Pyro was his salvation for minor celebrity blog status.

    I think he has arrested development. He likes any attention whether negative or positive. Every time you respond he loves it.

  34. Nicholas wrote:

    In another recent tweet (I don’t know how to link to them), Turk says that this sexual abuse scandal is not “morally equivalent” to Gosnell.

    I think I found the tweet you mean. Turk was replying to someone else who tweeted to John Piper about the SGM situation.

    You can see Turk’s tweet and the rest of the Twitter conversation here:
    Twitter Conversation between Turk and several others
    .

  35. I know, Anon1. It was complete and utter fail on my part. I need to sit on my hands. I can’t remember if I said it here, but he offered me an “opportunity” to be interviewed about the SGM story via his vast audience. I declined. Thankfully, I had self control there.

  36. “I think he knows his days are numbered and is therefore prioritizing sales over scholarship.”

    He is bored with SBTS. It was his launching pad and he has wanted a national platform he controls for years. I really believe the goal was to Calvinize the SBC by bringing in all these other Non SBC Rrformed groups and have one big Calvinistic denomination and he would be the leader. Why else would Calvinistic doctrine be so important when your entire career was built on mostly NON Cal dollars? That is hypocritical. Now he claims if you want to see the nations rejoice for Christ, New Calvinism is the only place you can go. He makes statements like this all the time about doctrine BUT never in front of the SBC annual convention where there are too many Non Cals paying your salary.

    More and more donors in the SBC are connecting the dots that they have been used by him, though. Some churches are refusing to send any of their money to SBTS.

    The man is a hypocrite. My take is The silly pedantic tweets are his way of soothing his base of non thinking YRR and making them believe he has no worries at all about SGM/Mahaney. Sort of like presidents going golfing during a personal crisis. They do this to send a message they are not wringing their hands.

  37. Nicholas wrote:

    Carol wrote: Pyromaniacs’ Frank Turk has weighed in with a couple of Tweets. Unbelievably, this tragic lawsuit appears to be funny material to this jokester. quote: Tweets Frank Turk @Frank_Turk I have a theory: j.mp/Z2mC5q the judge is actually Al Mohler and he’s part of the cover up. about 3 hours ago Frank Turk @Frank_Turk Well, hell: j.mp/12ijKxW now we’ll never hear the end of it. Or else: CJ paid off the Judge. about 4 hours ago https://twitter.com/intent/user?screen_name=Frank_Turk&original_referer=http://teampyro.blogspot.com/ That is just evil. I cannot consider this man a brother in Christ after reading these tweets. In another recent tweet (I don’t know how to link to them), Turk says that this sexual abuse scandal is not “morally equivalent” to Gosnell. Apparently, young children being gang-raped by men in masks is not as bad as what Gosnell did, in the fundamentalist mind.

    I don't accept the tweets from Burk or Turk. Either they didn't read the documents themselves or this is the attitude toward this horrific act. Either way it is totally unacceptable to me. And to Frank I would say, "Well hell" you are right, you won't hear the end of this.

  38. @ Nicholas:

    You’re welcome.

    If it helps you at all: any time you want to link to a specific tweet, click on the time/date stamp on the tweet.

    The time/date stamp is located on the upper right hand side of the tweet.

    After clicking the time/date stamp, the tweet will then open on its own page, and you can copy/paste the URL of that page.

    That time/date stamp might say “May 10,” or “30 sec” or “1m” or “5m” depending on how long ago they tweeted the message.

  39. Julie Anne wrote:

    Daisy wrote:

    I think I found the tweet you mean. Turk was replying to someone else who tweeted to John Piper about the SGM situation.

    Ok, that looked familiar. Boz Tchividjian commented on that right here, too: https://twitter.com/JohnPiper/status/335598126612217856

    This is soooo Piper. With the flowery words, often misued, that have some deep meaning we are all supposed to swoon over. What does “stand agape at another Gosnell” mean? Piper is like Peter Sellers in Being There….all these young’ens and his peers will just gush over how deep and profound he is.

  40. Nicholas wrote:

    As if anyone else in the SBC is any better than Mohler:

    With a few exceptions (Wade Burleson, Dwight McKissic, and some others).

  41. Eagle, I’ll miss you, too. Loved your righteous sarcasm. I left church and church people as a fairly new believer, for several years. I still loved Jesus and wanted to share Him, although I wasn’t really growing. In His faithfulness and tender love, He brought me through the twists and turns, and is still carrying me slowly upward on my rocky mountain climb of faith. I’m so happy for what you’ll be doing in D.C.! He finishes what He starts!

  42. Eagle,
    Sorry, I just re-read your comment and realized you’ll be taking a break, if you’re still reading know you’re loved and appreciated. Your post brought me to tears. You have our email, don’t hesitate to let us know how you’re doing from time to time.

  43. There will still be a “no comment” approach to this matter from the defendants until the appeals are all over, the claims of the 2 who did not miss the statute of limitations are resolved, and the criminal investigation is completed.

    This is not a time for anyone to gloat or throw up their hands.

    Regardless of what happens in the lawsuit, the questions regarding SGM, its churches and Mahaney remain. That is especially the case if the lawsuits end because of the application of the statute of limitations because there has been no finding on the merits.

    Once all of this ends, SGM, Mahaney and others at that ministry, will have to answer questions related to what might be called “heavy-handed” shepherding and the failure to protect innocent children by contacting the police immediately and by putting people who have molested back in a place where they can molest again.

    There are also many unusual things related to SGM that are unrelated to the lawsuit.

    It is very unusual for the scores (or hundreds) of people who have been involved in a ministry like SGM to set up websites like “Survivors” and such.

    The cult like atmosphere at SGM churches has been noted that is unrelated to the lawsuit.

    It is also unusual for a person like Mahaney to call himself an Apostle. What does that mean?

    It is also unusual for a dear friend to produce documents related to SGM that show what went on at SGM by and among friends.

    It is also unusual for there to be the type of turmoil in an organization like SGM, to have so many churches leave it etc., and for it to really be a healthy situation.

    If Mahaney is going to continue to be treated as a “leader” in the Christian community, he is going to have to answer questions related to these matters. Most people with a past like this are not given the platform that he has been given.

    Eventually, the lawsuit will be over. But the issues remain. And the questions remain. Without addressing them satisfactorily, it’s hard to believe that there will not be a substantial amount of open skepticism expressed by many people. Not just the plaintiffs in the lawsuit and their supporters.

  44. Hester wrote:

    “In another recent tweet…Turk says that this sexual abuse scandal is not ‘morally equivalent’ to Gosnell. Apparently, young children being gang-raped by men in masks is not as bad as what Gosnell did, in the fundamentalist mind.”

    Gosnell was that Philly abortionist, right?

    If so, it’s obvious why. ABORTION. Right up there with Evolution and Homosexuality on the Christianese Two Minutes Hate.

    Culture War Without End, Amen.

  45. Anon 1 wrote:

    Piper is like Peter Sellers in Being There….all these young’ens and his peers will just gush over how deep and profound he is.

    SEE HIS FACE! HEAR HIS VOICE! FUEHRER! FUEHRER! FUEHRER!

  46. anonymous wrote:

    @ Anon 1:
    Anon 1,

    Do you know if Tom Eliff is any relation to Jim Eliff?

    I wonder the same thing a few years back but never bothered to check.

  47. eagle,

    you are an excellent person. so honest. good-hearted. i look forward to hearing from you again.

  48. @ Anonymous:

    “There are also many unusual things related to SGM that are unrelated to the lawsuit.”

    Exactly… I’m not a regular reader at Survivors but from what I have read, it seems like the lawsuit was just the icing on a really nasty cake. Tip of the iceberg, to use a different metaphor. Even if nothing further happens with the suit, that doesn’t mean SGM is “safe” or “good” or has a healthy culture. Not by a long shot.

  49. “I am so proud of the young women and men, who have stood up, told their stories and joined this legal battle, knowing that criticism or difficulties would come — and they did it anyway, as a step of empowering for themselves and for protection of other little children. That is love. That is being Christ-like. That is true courage.

    Amen, Pam Palmer. THAT is how the true kingdom operates. Fighting to protect other innocent children and telling the “christian” perverts and those who protect the perverts —we will not stand for it.

  50. Anonymous wrote:

    There are also many unusual things related to SGM that are unrelated to the lawsuit.

    Yes. Exactly. So does that mean Mohler, Dever, Piper and other YRR Reformed agree with SGM culture and polity? Agree with the church handling molestations?

    There has been too much information out there for too long for them to plead ignorance. And we know there has been a definite push to exonerate Mahaney as “fit for leadership” from that movement

    In fact, we know from Bob M here who met with Piper and asked him about supporting Mahaney and Driscoll that Piper said the Doctrines of Grace were important to the church. So their correct doctrine got them a pass for deviant behavior.

  51. Hey, ….all the victory tweets by the Reformed guys only proves one thing: They have been watching this very closely during their self imposed “silence”. Cowards. Why not sing Mahaney praises and defend him BEFORE the decision?

    You do have to wonder how they can read the 2nd Amended suit and then send victory tweets.

  52. Eagle:

    So sorry to hear you’ll be leaving this community for a while. I’ve enjoyed your insights and your honesty. May you have all the love and support you need on the next part of your journey, wherever it takes you.

    Today Christians have a choice and they can do one of three options.
    1. Stand with the victims
    2. Ignore it and act like it will go away, and chose to be naïve.
    3. Embrace SGM.

    Re: Option 2. Tim Challies, we’re looking at you.

  53. Anon 1 wrote:

    Hey, ….all the victory tweets by the Reformed guys only proves one thing: They have been watching this very closely during their self imposed “silence”.

    Absolutely.

    Anon 1 wrote:

    You do have to wonder how they can read the 2nd Amended suit and then send victory tweets.

    Probably none of them have bothered to read it. They simply read the CT post.

  54. Anon 1 wrote:

    anonymous wrote:
    @ Anon 1:
    Anon 1,
    Do you know if Tom Eliff is any relation to Jim Eliff?
    I wonder the same thing a few years back but never bothered to check.

    Yes.

  55. Victory tweets are wholly inappropriate on this one. So much so that they really don’t need to be responded to or acknowledged.

    Even if all of the legal stuff goes away, the books (on blogs or on paper) that will be written by these young women and their families will be interesting and will keep this matter in the public discussion.

    I am not sure that those who are sending victory tweets really get that. When the discussions continue, what’s the best they can say? “Well, too bad these people didn’t sue earlier.”

    That’s not much of a victory in my book.

  56. Off Topic (kind of. It’s sorta related)

    This guy gave a sermon about how church members need to “protect their pastors.” That part starts around 1.38 of the audio file on this page, it comes after stuff about James Goll and Andy Stanley:

    Sermon Review: Protecting Your Pastor by Clayton King of NewSpring

    This all sounds very backwards to me. Preachers are not Gods. Church members are not there to serve the preacher, not more so than anyone else in the congregation. Your preacher is not your boss.

    A lot of today’s pastors have entitlement attitudes, and they feel that the members are little people to use and step on.

  57. @ Daisy:
    Wouldn’t it be great if their idea of protecting a pastor were to prevent him from tasting the intoxicating temptations of unearned wealth and unquestioned power?

  58. Ecclesiastical Tyranny
    From “The Ruling Elder” by Samuel Miller

    “We know that ministers are subject to the same frailties and imperfections with other men. We know, too, that a love of pre-eminence and of power is not only natural to them, in common with others; but that this principle, very early after the days of the Apostles, began to manifest itself as the reigning sin of ecclesiastics, and produced, first Prelacy, and afterwards Popery, which has so long and so ignobly enslaved the Church of Christ. Does not this plainly show the folly and danger of yielding undefined power to pastors alone? Is it wise or safe to constitute one man a despot over a whole Church? Is it proper to intrust to a single individual the weighty and complicated work of inspecting, trying, judging, admitting, condemning, excluding, and restoring, without control? Ought the members of a Church to consent that all their rights and privileges in reference to Christian communion, should be subject to the will of a single man, as his partiality, kindness, and favoritism, on the one hand; or his caprice, prejudice, or passion, on the other, might dictate? Such a mode of conducting the government of the Church, to say nothing of its unscriptural character, is, in the highest degree, unreasonable and dangerous. It can hardly fail to exert an influence of the most injurious character, both on the clergy and laity. It tends to nurture in the former, a spirit of selfishness, pride and ambition; and instead of ministers of holiness, love, and mercy, to transform them into ecclesiastical tyrants. While its tendency, with regard to the latter, is gradually to beget in them a blind, implicit submission to clerical domination. The ecclesiastical encroachments and despotism of former times, already alluded to, read us a most instructive lesson on this subject. The fact is, committing the whole government of the Church to the hands of pastors alone, may be affirmed to carry in it some of the worst seeds of Popery; which, though under the administration of good men, they may not at once lead to palpable mischief, will seldom fail in producing, in the end, the most serious evils, both to those who govern, and those who obey.”

  59. From “The Reformed Pastor” by Richard Baxter

    “I confess I have often wondered that this most heinous sin should be made so light of, and thought so consistent with a holy frame of heart and life, when far less sins are, by ourselves, proclaimed to be so damnable in our people. And I have wondered more, to see the difference between godly preachers and ungodly sinners, in this respect. When we speak to drunkards, worldlings, or ignorant unconverted persons, we disgrace them to the utmost, and lay it on as plainly as we can speak, and tell them of their sin, and shame, and misery; and we expect that they should not only bear all patiently, but take all thankfully. And most that I deal with do take it patiently, and many gross sinners will commend the closest preachers most, and will say that they care not for hearing a man that will not tell them plainly of their sins. But if we speak to godly ministers against their errors or their sins, if we do not honor them and reverence them, and speak as smoothly as we are able to speak, yea, if we mix not commendations with our reproofs, and if the applause be not predominant, so as to drown all the force of the reproof or confutation, they take it as almost an insufferable injury. Brethren, I know this is a sad confession, but that all this should exist among us, should be more grievous to us than to be told of it. Could the evil be hid, I should not have disclosed it, at least so openly in the view of all. But, alas! it is long ago open to the eyes of the world. We have dishonored ourselves by idolizing our honor; we print our shame, and preach our shame, thus proclaiming it to the whole world. Some will think that I speak overcharitably when I call such persons godly men, in whom so great a sin doth so much prevail. I know, indeed, that where it is predominant, not hated, and bewailed, and mortified in the main, there can be no true godliness; and I beseech every man to exercise a strict jealousy and search of his own heart. But if all be graceless that are guilty of any, or of most of the fore-mentioned discoveries of pride, the Lord be merciful to the ministers of this land, and give us quickly another spirit; for grace is then a rarer thing than most of us have supposed it to be.”

  60. A poster on survivors expressed frustration at the way the lawsuit went. Another poster named “Foot” posted a couple of insightful questions in response, that I think really speaks to the mysterious and profound ways of God, see below:

    Foot
    May 18th, 2013 at 11:58 pm
    famagusta #130

    Hmmm, your question is interesting…

    But, let me answer your question with another one: Why would God choose to have His people leave Egypt the way they did? Why would God have Moses go to Egypt, knowing that Pharaoh would not give in initially, but it would take a long time? What was the ETERNAL purpose in that? And, why would $GM dig in their heels and refuse to repent, hardening their hearts all along the way? What is the ETERNAL purpose in that? Oh, their might be temptation to look at a TEMPORAL setback in this PDI/$GM debacle. HOWEVER, reading the scriptures and seeing how God has moved in the past, and that HE DOES NOT CHANGE, you can bank on God to get glory over Pharaoh in this situation as well. Our Lord Jesus Christ will not be mocked and will end up getting the glory in this present PDI/$GM situation. And, yes, there will be much collateral damage along the way, but in the end you will know that Jesus is the Head of the Church and will not be mocked! Let that sink into your soul.

  61. I’m a stickler for spelling names correctly, and I have observed that sometimes Denny Burk’s last name is misspelled with an ‘e’ at the end.

    It’s interesting that one of the attorneys for those hurt by SGM is also “Burke” but spelled with an ‘e’.

    (‘e’ for excellence!)

    Just remember that Burk rhymes with Turk and neither name ends with an ‘e’. There is nothing excellent about those two dudes IMHO.

     

  62. “Tipping The Scales: One More ‘Good’ ?”

    hmmm….

    Brave and courageous people willing to fight against ‘evil’ make all the difference in the world! ❤

    Join In and Be a Part?

    Sure. You betcha!

    My Jesus has (like Sampson) carted off with the gates of hell… -grin-

    Letz have another go at these cold hearted ba$tard$, shall we?

    (cheeeese)

    The rigorous shall live by their ‘true grit’. -snicker- 

    Into the valley of death road the aggrieved….And they over came  SGM tyranny by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, by prayer, and they thumped not their bibles, but lived them. And Oh! they were thankful, and had a good law firm.

    (grin)

    Yahooooooooo!

    I have found that it is the simple common prayful folk that keep the forces of darkness at bay; Elohim ( אֱלֹהִים ) doth carefully guide them: I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah!

    הריבונית של אנשים רעים של גרייס מעולם לא כאב לי

    Sopy
    ___
    ATB Eagle! (….those who do, and teach, are the greatest in  Jesus’ kingdom) 

  63. Much afraid no more wrote:

    And, why would $GM dig in their heels and refuse to repent, hardening their hearts all along the way? What is the ETERNAL purpose in that?

    Predestination, of course.
    “Your Fate (and those of the raped kids) has been Written on your Forehead before the Foundation of the World.”

  64. TW wrote:

    “I confess I have often wondered that this most heinous sin should be made so light of, and thought so consistent with a holy frame of heart and life, when far less sins are, by ourselves, proclaimed to be so damnable in our people.”

    All depends on whether it’s YOUR “sin” (nudge nudge wink wink) or the Other Guy’s SIN SIN SIN.

  65. I still believe that the Reformed view of salvation is in scripture and that would include predestination. I just don’t believe in men who think they have power over people in the church is in the Bible. And this is beyond evil. But I have not changed in my views.

  66. This does not have anything to do with the Reformed view, this has to do with distortion and evil which has snuck into the church. It is evil among us, and has nothing to do with God, the Bible or Christianity. It is none of these. It is the devil in disguise.

  67. @ Anon 1:

    I agree 100%, Anon 1. Mohler wanted to be the Pope but had the misfortune to be born into a Southern Baptist Family, so the most he could do was try to undermine the congregationalism he supposedly subscribes to and attempt to create a schism in the SBC by imposing his version of Calvinist doctrine on others.

    He’s a hatchet man who sold his soul at age 33 for the opportunity to control a large segment of the Evangelical world. I have no doubt that he planned to start a new denomination with Mahaney and others called “The Great Commission.”

    However, I think Mohler knows that dream is now dead and his decision to ignore (at best) the cover-up of sexual abuse in the SBC will ultimately cost him his job and reputation. It may even cost him his fortune if he’s slapped with a lawsuit for doing some of the things the SGM guys have allegedly done.

    53-year-olds are normally at the apex of their careers rather knowing their life’s work and grandiose dreams of super-power status are in the toilet. I guess I’d be playing with model trains and making sending dumb tweets if I were in Mohler’s position, too.

  68. @ Debbie Kaufman:

    I agree, Debbie. SGM was just as troubled as a Charismatic organization as it is as a supposedly Calvinist denomination. Nor do most mainstream reformed Denominations, that have been around for hundreds of years, bear any resemblance to the so-called Neo-Calvinist community, that has only existed for 15-20 years.

    The true issue is integrity, not doctrine.

  69. Calvinista churches are only about 2% of North American Christianity: SGM has only 79 churches. 9 Marks has only 2,750 churches. There are more than 200,000 U.S. churches and about 20,000 Canadian churches.

    Even if all of those Calvinista churches were in the upper 50% for church attendance (and they aren’t) they wouldn’t represent even 1% of the U.S. population.

    So despite what we might think, they are numerically insignificant. However, some of them are so spiritually abusive they more than make up for it.

    I liked Micah Murray’s tweet: “ProTip: If there are “survivor groups” for people from your church/ministry, you’re doing it wrong.”

    In Matthew 23 Jesus describes spiritual abusers perfectly. http://biblehub.com/matthew/23.htm

  70. Sue wrote:

    53-year-olds are normally at the apex of their careers rather knowing their life’s work and grandiose dreams of super-power status are in the toilet. I guess I’d be playing with model trains and making sending dumb tweets if I were in Mohler’s position, too.

    You know, Eagle’s a model rail, too.

  71. @ Janey:

    Janey wrote:

    So despite what we might think, they are numerically insignificant. However, some of them are so spiritually abusive they more than make up for it.

    Well, that and the fact that they are huge advocates of social media and so their constant presence of pushing their ideas makes that number seem far greater. And it’s like a chain reaction – one person tweets and then all the BFFs retweet. That’s exactly what happened with the recent misleading Christianity Today article – jump-on-the-bandwagon mentality.

    It seems I remember reading that this is not just how they function, but it has been told to these guys to make a social media presence. Was it Mohler? I can’t remember, but I know I read it somewhere. I mean, seriously, did you see all the hoopla when CBMW redid their website? The “groundbreaking ceremony” was going on for days, actually more than a week or two by all the groupies.

  72. Anon 1 wrote:

    Nicholas wrote:
    In another recent tweet (I don’t know how to link to them), Turk says that this sexual abuse scandal is not “morally equivalent” to Gosnell. Apparently, young children being gang-raped by men in masks is not as bad as what Gosnell did, in the fundamentalist mind.

    I thought Calvinism taught all sin is the same to God. At least that is the way the YRR in my neck of the woods present it.
    </
    Sins are only equivalent in the sense that they disqualify us for heaven. I've never heard the idea oreached that all sins are equal and I have seen the notion argued against (in an article I read this week in fact).

  73. Debbie Kaufman wrote:

    I still believe that the Reformed view of salvation is in scripture and that would include predestination. I just don’t believe in men who think they have power over people in the church is in the Bible. And this is beyond evil. But I have not changed in my views.

    I agree

  74. Anonymous wrote:

    Victory tweets are wholly inappropriate on this one. So much so that they really don’t need to be responded to or acknowledged.

    I can understand your thought process on this but I do disagree. One reason is that this movement is so insular and non thinking, they automatically believe and follow the leaders. If the leaders view this as a win and exonerataion of SGM, so will the followers. When a differing view is presented because there are nuances, facts and issues left out, they have not even thought of them!

    I came to this conclusion reading some twitter feeds. Quite a few people were responding to some of the pro SGM tweets from the YRR with questions, points, etc that mosts will not think about unless encouraged by those not in the movement.

  75. Sue wrote:

    @ Anon 1:

    I agree 100%, Anon 1. Mohler wanted to be the Pope but had the misfortune to be born into a Southern Baptist Family, so the most he could do was try to undermine the congregationalism he supposedly subscribes to and attempt to create a schism in the SBC by imposing his version of Calvinist doctrine on others.

    He’s a hatchet man who sold his soul at age 33 for the opportunity to control a large segment of the Evangelical world. I have no doubt that he planned to start a new denomination with Mahaney and others called “The Great Commission.”

    However, I think Mohler knows that dream is now dead and his decision to ignore (at best) the cover-up of sexual abuse in the SBC will ultimately cost him his job and reputation. It may even cost him his fortune if he’s slapped with a lawsuit for doing some of the things the SGM guys have allegedly done.

    53-year-olds are normally at the apex of their careers rather knowing their life’s work and grandiose dreams of super-power status are in the toilet. I guess I’d be playing with model trains and making sending dumb tweets if I were in Mohler’s position, too.

    Sue, I don’t think Mohler’s “dream” is dead at all to him. It is hard to understand guys in these positions, I think. We have believed their words but don’t really know them. It is incredible what accumilating, working for and maintaining power does to a person. Unless you are around it, it is hard to fathom. It is a totally different world that they work hard at keeping you from seeing.

    The SBC YRR resugence was conceived in deception with a book written by Ernest Reisinger 30 years ago. It is all about deceiving people about Calvinism because they are too ignorant to konw the truth. Mohler and some others took that strategy to perfection as the next generation from Reisinger. They were not followers of Reisinger so to speak. Since Mohler controlled a seminary he could indoctrinate. But he was never a rabid Calvinist until the resurgence became a reality. He was known as a culture warrior who had Calvinist leanings which was ok because he was real real conservative.

    Most of the SBC was asleep and had no idea all this was going on in the entities until the YRR bad boys started wrecking havoc in too many churches to ignre there was a huge problem.

    For Mohler, I would bet the farm it was never really about “Cavlinism” and the “True Gospel” that only they have. I think for him it has and always will be about power. As it is for all of them at that level.

    I really do think you are “reading” him wrong. The tweets, in my opinion, are meant to send a message that he is not worried at all. He is ejoying life and nothing big is happening out there at all. He is one cool cumcumber who has so much power in the SBC you cannot begin to understand it.

  76. @ Janey:

    Janey, I love Micah’s tip!!!

    One thing about “Calvinista” churches that is interesting is many attend them and don’t know it. I cannot tell you how many folks I have talked to who attend Acts 29 plants, Sojourn, and SBTS seminary YRR churches that were taken over who have no idea. If you read Reisingers book, Quiet Revolution, you will know why this is the case. I have had people go back and ask after being told and the leaders tell them, we believe in the “doctrines of grace” but do not explain that is basically another term for Calvinism. It is like they will do anything to keep from mentioning the C word. And that makes sense. Once folks start researching Calvin, it is easier to lose them before they are indoctrinated.

    So how would we count those churches that are but don’t identify? :o) Or how would we count the churches that aren’t but have YRR youth ministers that are promoting Calvinista thinking to the youth? There was a church here where 2 SBTS seminary students told a youth group they were volunteering with that the pastor did not preach the true Gospel. The bad part is that the pastors kids were in the group. the pastor did not even ask them to leave. He engaged them irenically but they were such bullies about it and what women were allowed to do in the church that members asked them to leave!

    Onc

  77. Daisy wrote:

    I kinda disagree. It’s like CAIR saying acts of jihad have bupkiss to do with Islam.

    Daisy, I stay perpetually confused. In Calvinism, God is totally in control which they define as Sovereignty (God controllling every molecule) but then God has nothing to do with the evil we see in what passes for Christianity? So was all this predestined to happen or not?

    I think Calvinism sounds pious on paper but no so much in application. But it is considered mean and politically incorrect to say such things. Even though I try to get my Calvinist friends to explain it to me without using big words that give God two wills or going into complete mystery of a special love for some He does not have for others but only wrath He decided for them before Adam sinned. Can’ be done. I know I have tried! A good God as moral monster is all I can come up with. And many of my Calvinist friends are wonderful people who think if they don’t believe this then God is some sort of wimpy grandpa in the sky wringing his hands. They cannot conceive of a God who is big enough to create beings who can say no to Him.

  78. @ Daisy:

    Sheesh. You would think folks would learn and not try to rehab themselves doing the same things. I wish the Reformed movement was as outraged with Mahaney as they were with Caner! Not a peep from James White on Mahaney. I wonder why?

  79. Anon 1 wrote:

    did not preach the true Gospel.

    I’ve seen this thinking before, where die-hard Calvinists think Calvinism = The Gospel.

    So, the thinking goes, if you are not a Calvinist, you’re not a Christian.

  80. @ Anon 1:

    I agree. I’ve had similar experiences when talking to Calvinists online, or lurking on their blogs and forums.

    About ten years ago, I was considering becoming a Calvinist, and I began doing more reading on it, e-mailing church or apologetic sites of Calvinists to ask them more questions about Calvinism.

    They frequently contradict themselves. One Calvinists will say “X” about a topic, but talk to another, and he will say “No, we believe Z.”

    Many Calvinists will tell you that you don’t understand Calvinism, any and all criticisms of it are “straw men arguments.”

    They do love 25 dollar words, too. And the “church fathers,” how they love to quote “church fathers.”

    They usually cannot briefly summarize some point or other of Calvinism but have to spend 45 pages explaining a concept, or they will refer you to a page that is ten feet long if you ask a question.

    I also do not understand their preoccupation with the Sovereignty of God, or why they feel humanity resisting God, saying No to Him makes Him less powerful.

    It doesn’t trouble my mind to know that God is Sovereign but that He also permits people to do as they please, resist Him, say ‘No’ to Him, etc. (And I don’t think that diminishes his glory or sovereignty but actually increases it.)

    I’ve seen a lot of Calvinists who feel that way – I’ve no doubt one or two here will reply to this and say “Oh no, I agree with you!,” but I can tell you Calvinists on other blogs/ sites would disagree.

    They can’t seem to grasp how God can be sovereign but still allow humans to freely choose, even if that means going against God. Not ‘free will is an illusion’ (which seems to be the position of some Calvinists), but I mean to honestly choose of their free accord.

    But anyway, like I said, trying to discourse with Calvinists and understand their positions is like trying to nail Jello to a wall.

  81. @ Hester:
    @ Janey:

    The “innocent until proven guilty” thing – well, yes. But some animals are more equal than others, as you very ably pointed out, Hester.

    By coincidence, RT Kendall (whose stuff I warmly recommend, btw) was speaking here in Stirling tonight, on the topic of “Total Forgiveness”. He had his own opportunities to learn forgiveness; essentially, after some years of faithfully serving as the minister of Westminster Chapel in London (and you may be assured that Kendall was no pampered CEO; he did actually serve) he was accused of antinomianism after preaching a bit too much on grace for somebody’s liking. Antinomianism is, as you know, a registered heresy, which would have made Kendall a heretic, which – as you also know – is far worse than a child-abuser. The point is that I’m not sure that RT Kendall was presumed “innocent until proven guilty” to quite the same extent.

    And if Mahaney had been accused, not of standing by and allowing paedophiles to function, but of consorting with Rob Bell, or allowing into his organisation someone who once questioned the virgin birth – would he still be presumed innocent?

    YRR has joyfully embraced salvation by law; you’re saved by declaring allegiance to “good doctrine” – even if your behaviour towards these little ones, with whom Jesus personally identifies, shows that all of your “doctrine” is mere whitewash on a tomb.

  82. Anon 1 wrote:

    I cannot tell you how many folks I have talked to who attend Acts 29 plants, Sojourn, and SBTS seminary YRR churches that were taken over who have no idea. If you read Reisingers book, Quiet Revolution, you will know why this is the case.

    Add me to that list of person’s who’ve attended a church taken over by the YRR. Thank you for the reference to Reisinger’s book. I plan to give it a read. My family and I had attended a start-up church near Nashville for several years. It was small, meeting in a school but was very organic in how it presented the gospel – it was all about Jesus and encouraging the body to fall in love with him. Ministry and missions followed the relationship. After a few years we hired a young pastor fresh out of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. A gifted, charismatic young man who is one of the best teachers I’ve ever heard. He loves Jesus and, I believe, sincere in his desire to shepherd his flock. A few years ago the pastor made a decision to change from the “organic” approach to a more “systematic” approach to his ministry. Women were one by one removed from leadership positions. “Suggested Reading” became almost exclusively Gospel Coalition authors. Certain doctrines started to make their way into the sermons – such as how regeneration precedes faith. We had a guest speaker named Ray Ortlund deliver the sermon one Sunday who, as it turned out, was helping to mentor our young pastor. All very subtle changed in bearing, but I met with the pastor and he admitted that he was a 5-point Calvinist. We’ve since left, but I hear they are signing on with the Acts 29 church planting movement. I am deeply grieved because I believe the church we joined in good faith several years ago was taken over by a different systematic theology. Again, I believe the pastor sincerely loves Jesus and is seeking to shepherd as he understands the Word, but I resent the manner in which the church body was redirected. It seems very underhanded. Why not just be up front and say what you believe and where you are taking the body with your teaching? I think the subterfuge is wrong.

  83. Daisy wrote:

    @ Debbie Kaufman:
    I kinda disagree. It’s like CAIR saying acts of jihad have bupkiss to do with Islam.

    Some Athiests would say SGM is representative of typical Christianity, and yet we’d all say that isn’t fair. No one likes to be painted with a broad brush and I certainly don’t enjoy being linked to SGM just because they claim to believe the same things that I do. I don’t like them being given the power to make my beliefs invalid, but that’s what it feels like every single time people talk about Calvinism in this SGM mess. I think SGM would have done what they did regardless of their views on predestination.

    The answer to the problem of SGM is not to get rid of Calvinism, but to stop evil people from operating within the church. Get rid of Calvinism and you still are stuck with IFB and a whole host of other folks that do a lot of damage. And you’ve gotten rid of a lot of really great and loving folks.

    As for all the contradictory stuff, people have their own beliefs. I’m sure you’d have tons of contradiction if you asked a bunch of questions to Arminians.

    I don’t believe in Calvinism because of my philosophical ideas about how God must be; I am a “Calvinist” (or I agree with the basic points of Calvinism) because I believe it is what scripture teaches. Other really smart people have come to a different conclusion and I respect that.

    I’m certain you don’t like it when people say Cristianity is by nature oppressive and authoritarian and offer all the examples of Christians behaving badly. You’d probably say that you are not like those folks and Christian belief doesn’t necessarily lead to that bad behavior. Why must you look at Calvinism and say that kind of thing?

  84. Innocent until proven guilty only makes sense if there is someone doing the work to determine guilt. If no one ever does, everyone is innocent of everything and those who are oppressed have no voice.

  85. Daisy: There is not one thing in the Reformed doctrine(not all of which I agree with) that would give creedence or even initiate this kind of behavior. This is a group of power hungry men. Period.

  86. And that sounded harsh, it was not meant to sound that way. There are those who pervert by using religion or Christianity, but that is what evil people do. It’s what Satan does, takes what God gives us, and pervert it to evil. That is what has been done here.

  87. You might be a New Calvinist if…

    1. You talk about Jesus’ uniqueness all the time but never acknowledge any Scripture where he forgave people.

    2. You believe that sex outside of marriage is a sin, unless it’s with children in your church or school.

    3. You read blogs by Gospel Coalition, Challies, DeYoung, and Piper this week, but you insisted that a single mom fill in a 4-page form to get $100 for groceries from the benevolence fund.

    4. You sit in the front row in church so you can count the number of times the pastor mentions the word “sin.”

    5. You strongly disapprove of Jesus’ talking privately with single women and plan to discipline him.

    [Apologies to Jeff Foxworthy]

  88. @ Debbie Kaufman:

    Still disagree with you. CAIR spokes persons also like to say jihad has nothing to do with Islam.

    Their particular brand of theology (I consider Reformed = Calvinism and Calvinism = Reformed btw) is in part what undergirds their odd, cruel views of abuse, and associated issues such as reconciliation, forgiveness, e.g., since all of us are all sinners, it follows (in their view) all sins are equal (so rape of a child is no worse than stealing a paper clip*), ergo, a 3 year old rape victim must apologize to her rapist.

    *except hypocritically, they feel calling out the sins and flaws of preachers is somehow worse.

  89. Daisy wrote:

    @ Jeff S:
    I believe Calvinism is evil, depicts and evil God, even though some naively follow it and certainly not all molest children.

    I don’t subscribe to Calvinism, but I think that you’ve clearly gone too far.

  90. @ Daisy:
    As I said before, it is not universally held (I don’t even know if the majority would hold to it) that all sins are equal. You are attributing the views of some to the majority.

    How can it be Calvinism that undergirds all of this IFB folks do all the same things and they aren’t Calvinists? They have a LOT in common, but soteriology isn’t it.

    I know of NO Calvinist personally that would think it was OK, let alone mandated, to ask a three year old to forgive her abuser. None. And I don’t think that every Calvinist I know is doing it wrong.

  91. You might be a New Calvinist if …

    – You do a You Tube video on how humble you are.

    – You can dish it out, but you can’t take it.

    – You pray Matt. 6:12 – “…And forgive us our debts,” but you can’t think of any.

    – Your church or ministry has a survivor group.

  92. Daisy wrote:

    @ Jeff S:
    I believe Calvinism is evil, depicts and evil God, even though some naively follow it and certainly not all molest children.

    Straight up you just told me that I am naive to believe the Bible teaches a certain form soteriology and that this belief in how salvation is accomplished is evil.

    You have also said the Westminster Confession, which declares that God is not the author of evil, is wrong, even though it is a foundational document of reformed doctrine.

    I work very hard to find common ground with folks on this site because we all want the same thing: to stand up against abuse. But I get extremely disheartened when Calvinism becomes the focus because it means the REAL evil is getting a pass. It’s a form of not holding people accountable for their actions to blame their views on salvation doctrine. IFB, SGM, it’s all the same game under different names: liars in Christian church leading the sheep astray. Paul warned us they would come, and it isn’t their soteriology we must be wary of, but their lies and manipulating that do evil. It is your much despised NeoCals that make soteriology the big issue- don’t let them trap you.

    Please, don’t let SGM win by making this about a secondary issue. That may be what they want, but we should want better. We should want for evildoers to be rightly called out because they do evil, not because of one brand of salvation doctrine or another. We can spend loads of time arguing exactly what the sovereignty of God means and how humans can have free will, but all the while children are getting raped, abused spouses are getting oppressed and excommunicated, and evil men are leading their flocks into behaviors that are sickening.

    I don’t defend Calvinism because I want you all to buy into it. I realize that’s a fools errand and I’m OK with it. I defend it because I think it’s important that the REAL issues not get lost.

    I’m sorry for such a long post, but this really, really hurts my heart. I’m not offended, but I can’t help but think that every time someone takes a shot at Calvinism here, the evildoers have claimed more ground in the war of making this about something other than their narcissistic abuse of power and sense of entitlement.

  93. @ Jeff S: Jeff, I sympathize, but at the same time, I think that taking a long, hard look at how things work in a particular structure (including how the actions of abusers are informed by or excused by their professed beliefs and organizational setup) is necessary – in order to help prevent further abuse.

    It’s true of in – and of – the RC cases of sexual abuse, and it’s true here as well.

    I agree that trashing all of Catholicism – or all Reformed churches/beliefs – is kind of throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater, but I can also understand why people tend to see things in black and white rather than in more nuanced ways. Especially true of those who have been in these organizations/churches and ahve seen abuses or experienced them themselves.

    Sometimes people really need to vent; it takes time for all of the dust to settle. (Speaking as a survivor of several abusive church systems here, also as someone who was discredited, called a liar – over something I didn’t even do! – kicked out, etc. etc.)

    but I can see why this is painful to you, and have to admit that I’d rather see folks focus on how to stop abuse… however, I’m in no position to be able to judge the hearts and minds – and suffering – of those who post here.

  94. Oasis wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “Your Fate (and those of the raped kids) has been Written on your Forehead before the Foundation of the World.”

    A horrible teaching that only harms victims further.

    Yet the logical outcome of tunnel vision on Predestination and emphasizing God’s Soverignity and Omnipotence at the cost of the rest of God’s personality. Both Calvin and Mohammed were into Predestination, and Predestination carried to its theoretical end state results in a “Divine Determinism” and a God who is “Omnipotent but not benevolent.”

    (My writing partner — the burned-out country preacher — has related to me his run-ins with Young Restless and TRULY Reformed Hyper-Calvinists who have gone beyond Omnipotent God into “Socratic Atheism”. These cage-phase Calvinjugend (always in their 20s) have gotten to the point where even God is completely bound by Predestination and can only Will what He hath been Predestined to Will. God is not God, Predestination is.)

  95. HHeLiBe wrote:

    A few years ago the pastor made a decision to change from the “organic” approach to a more “systematic” approach to his ministry. Women were one by one removed from leadership positions. “Suggested Reading” became almost exclusively Gospel Coalition authors. Certain doctrines started to make their way into the sermons – such as how regeneration precedes faith.

    Calvinista stealth takeover, using the same “salami tactics” Stalin used to take over the nations of Eastern Europe — one little slice at a time.

  96. Daisy wrote:

    Ergun Caner was a guest today on the Christian program “The King is Coming,” for an episode about Islam.

    I vaguely remember a Christianese radio show with that title from the Seventies. End Time Prophecy emphasis? (If so, it would explain why they had Caner on; since the Second Russian Revolution, Islam has replaced Communism as The Antichrist.)

    And Ergun Caner is either the next Mike Warnke (with his Occult Gnosis of The Conspiracy, whether Satanic or Islamic) or today’s version of “Psalmanazar the Formosan Cannibal”.

  97. “We would be naïve and dishonest were we to say this is a Roman Catholic problem and has nothing to do with us because we have married and female priests in our church. Sin and abusive behavior know no ecclesial or other boundaries.” -Rt. Rev. William Persell, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, Good Friday Sermon, 2002.

    http://www.reformation.com/

  98. You might be a Calvinista if…

    – You use the word “antinomianism” more than once a month.

    – You celebrate your alleged victims’ 21st birthdays because they can no longer sue you for sexually abusing them.

  99. @ numo:
    I agree that looking at the structure of things is important- and that’s part of the issues. The structure of SGM is not inherint to them being Calvinists. And I would say all of the doctrinal garbage used to justify the awful behavior is just that: garbage. It is not representative of my faith or most of the Calvinists that I know.

    I completely understand the need to vent and look at things in black and white. I promise I’m not judging anyone for feeling the way they do. What I AM trying to do is wake people up to the face that the anti-Calvinist comments WILL hurt the cause by making enemies of people who in all other ways are on your side. Do you realize that I really can’t link any posts to TWW to any of my reformed friends because as soon as they start reading comments about “Calvinistas” (which I realize is a term meant to separate this new breed apart from traditional Calvinists, but they won’t understand that) they are going to feel they have no friends here. The body becomes divided, and this only helps the SGMs of the world.

    Do you know when I’ve told every Calvinist I know about SGM what they’ve said to me? They’ve never heard of SGM or Mahaney and they think the whole thing is disgusting. These are folks that could be allies, but if they consistently read that their Calvinism is to blame and that it is “evil”, they aren’t going to stick around.

    And Numo, I get where you are coming from, and I can’t disagree with what you are saying. I’m just tired and feeling beaten down by this latest news about the trial- and in that weariness it is hard when I see people mistargeting their very much needed ammunition. Now more than ever I see a need for unity to stand against this great evil because the courts may not be able to accomplish what needs to be done, so it’s hard when I feel like I’m not even welcome to participate (which is how it feels when Calvinism is trashed, called evil, and I am labeled as niave). I’m just running out of strength.

  100. And to be clear, I’m NOT in any way take issue with the way this blog is run. I’m trying to appeal to the commenters who take shots at Calvinism.

  101. Jeff S wrote:

    I’m sorry for such a long post, but this really, really hurts my heart. I’m not offended, but I can’t help but think that every time someone takes a shot at Calvinism here, the evildoers have claimed more ground in the war of making this about something other than their narcissistic abuse of power and sense of entitlement.

    Jeff,
    For what it’s worth, I couldn’t care less what your theological belief system is, and I say that respectfully. I would be far more interested in your deeds and the content of your character. ===> (smiley face goes here)

  102. @ Jeff S: Hey… I have known of SGM since it was GOB (Gathering of Believers) and have friends who are still (as far as I know) still members of CLC and Fairfax. In both cases, they’ve been there for about 30 years.

    All that to say that I totally hear what you’re saying about SGM’s problems having nothing to do with classic Reformed theology per se. There were problems from the year dot; CJ Mahaney compounded them by bringing in certain twists to aspects of Calvinism’.

    However, I think it *is* hard for lots of folks to understand things like “limited atonement,” but that’s a discussion for an entirely different time and place.

    I hear you on being tired. Will be praying for you.

  103. Jeff,

    One of the problems is that Calvinism has pretty much flown under the radar for many people until recently. We all knew some of the “frozen chosen” (A joke the Presbyterians told me when I did training there years and years back) and all lived happily together in Protestantland going to our respective churches.

    Now, the YRR is defining the “Calvinist Gospel” for you all in a big loud way. They are in your face and mean as snakes and trying to Calvinize non Calvinist churches in first deceitful and then very arrogant way. They have the true Gospel and the rest of us are ignorant. They cannot coexist and there is a reason for that. It is a different God altogether. I really think we all have to admit this.

    Perhaps it is not fair but this Calvinist resurgence is defining Calvinism for many people. And one reason is because the frozen chosen have been pretty silent and not speaking out. It is like the moderate Muslims. Where were they? A few here and there but we were told there were tons of them. So why not speak up as a united voice?

    A friend of mine who has been in the Calvin world for years in the OPC was really sad that so many in other more quiet Calvinist traditions are starting to join the YRR movement to get in on the action.

    One thing the Calvinist resurgence has done is to bring this doctrinal debate into the public arena. And it is hard for many to swallow–the determinist God paradigm. It does seem contradictory that God is in total control, everything predestined but God is not controlling evil.

    In my talks with the YRR there is absolutely no provision for free will. They have fancy words for why man is free to do evil but not good. In fact, their view is if you do not subscribe to predestination/election (their definition) then you are automatically an universalist.

    As to all the evil in Non Calvinist circles like IFB, etc. This is also result of false doctrinal beliefs because they have to make it “Christian”. It has the same Augustinian gnostic foundation of dualism and believing that some are “special” and appointed by God by proof texting. This dualism plays out in much of Protestant Christianity. We are saturated with it. What is interesting historically is that the Deists saw it for what it was: Tyranny. Don’t ask me why. But they are also called Humanists and it is heresy.

    What is interesting to me is that in the seeker mega world, they worked extra hard to hide the evil. And I think that is because they taught free will and knew they would be held accountable. I do not see that same type of thinking in the Calvinist world at all. In the Calvinist world correct doctrine will get you a pass for almost anything. Because Calvinism is the most important thing. And you are sinning by daring to question the great leaders.

    BTW: the Westminster confession was written by mere mortals. It is not inspired. Here is ONE HUGE problem with it:

    “The Lord Jesus, as King and Head of His Church, hath therein appointed a government, in the hand of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate … To these officers the keys of the kingdom of heaven are committed; by virtue whereof, they have power, respectively, to retain, and remit sins; to shut that kingdom against the impenitent…”

    They have the power to remit sins? They have the keys to the kingdom? They can shut the kingdom off from those they think are impenitent?

    Do you not see the problems inherent in just this part of the confession that pretty much means these are “special people” who have a ton of power simply by virtue of a title? It is man made and man elevating confession. It is part of the problem.

  104. Anon 1 wrote:

    Hey, ….all the victory tweets by the Reformed guys only proves one thing: They have been watching this very closely during their self imposed “silence”. Cowards. Why not sing Mahaney praises and defend him BEFORE the decision?

    What a great point! They’ve given themselves away – they *have* been paying attention.

    Also, for those of us who don’t use twitter, is it possible to help us get an idea of what these “victory tweets” are actually saying? I’m very interested, but not so interested to jump into twitter. :)

  105. @ Muff Potter:
    Thanks Muff and Numo- I appreciate the encouragement.

    And I have no dobut doctrines like “limited atonement” are issues for people. Personally, I didn’t accept LA until recently, and that was only because I understood the definition differently than I do know (I used to think it means Jesus only paid the price for the elect, but recently I understand it to me than in sufficiency he paid enough for all, but in efficiency it only is applied to the elect). As it stands, I find to be almost a meaningless doctrine with no practical application, but at least the sufficiency/effeciency but makes sense of a whole heap of scripture that seems to be contradictory. But that’s a discussion for elsewhere.

  106. @ Anon 1:
    I do not belief e WCF to be anywhere near inspired. There are multiple places where I find it incorrect or in error. And in fact, in the PCA at least, almost every pastor takes issue with some of its points and is permitted to do so with an appeal to scripture.

    My only point in bringing it up is to say that to define Calvinism as believing something that is expressly contradicted in the WCF is uncharitable. I do agree that the emphasis it puts on the authority if the church (and not just in the place you have cited) is concerning.

    I do agree that the resurgence is defining Clavinism for a lot of people, and it makes me shudder because I see a bunch of bullies trying to outdo one another in just how hard core they can be about their ability to put themselves down. Thats not what my faith is about.

    The thing is, most Calvinists that I know don’t know any of these folks at all- they aren’t speaking out because they just don’t know what’s going on. They know of Piper and can give you some nice quotes, but beyond that there’s just no awareness that SGM, Driscoll, etc. even exist. And with Piper, there’s little understanding of the bad stuff that comes from him.

    I recently told a pastor at our church who is a huge Piper fan that there are those who would say not accepting Calvinism is a sin. He laughed and said that was ridiculous.

    I think a lot of the *good* Clavinists are staying silent because they are laborers in the church, ignoring all the glitz and glamor of the “biz” that props up evil like SGM. My guess is if you polled my church, less that 5% would even know who CJ is or what SGM is. My pastors certainly aren’t familiar with him (I’ve asked).

    I do understand the issues you take regarding how it all fits together and makes sense. But I think those can be dealt with as debates of reason and logic in a context appropriate for that (which I think you personally have done). Maybe in some points I’m wrong, but maybe in some points it’s just a differing idea in what certain terms mean. As I’ve said, I don’t believe God is deterministic, nor do any Calvinists I know. We do believe that we were helpless to choose God in our sin pre conversion, but that is far different from saying that we are puppets who make no choices at all.

  107. @ Jeff S:

    You’re not going to get anywhere with people who accuse Augustine of “gnosticism” and “dualism”, (and have no idea what they’re talking about).

  108. The following gentleman is a Pelagian who denies the sinful nature of man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pHqAG_jWm9E

    He, like his Pelagian hero Charles Finney, believes in sinless perfectionism as well. And Pearl is the one who teaches “breaking the will of the child” and advocates beating children with plumbing supply line in his book To Train Up a Child.

    Beware of anyone who would place people under the yoke and bondage of Pelagianism. And there are some people who would do just that: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/04/24/on-yec-interpretation-of-scripture-and-their-use-of-technology/#comment-95884

  109. @ Jeff S.:

    I do think you’re right that Calvinism is not the problem with this abuse and I can understand how you’re feeling. As a Lutheran I catch some of the shrapnel from the criticism of Calvin, etc. when the entire Reformation is dismissed as a power play. And I disagree that Calvinism teaches God is evil/the author of sin. That’s what many people take away from it, but all the Calvinists I’ve ever seen work very hard to make sure no one walks away believing that. Many take issue with their reasoning on that point, but that doesn’t mean the Calvinists in question actually do believe God is evil.

    (For the record, I distinguish slightly between Calvinism and Reformed doctrine. To me, Calvinism = TULIP alone, Reformed = all the other beliefs that tend to go with/pile up around TULIP, such as certain views on church government, etc.)

    That being said, I’m glad you know Calvinists who have never heard of the YRR/Neo-Calvinist crowd, because all the ones in my area are devoted to them. My family got shocked looks for daring to say aloud that we weren’t getting anything out of Don’t Waste Your Life.

    “As it stands, I find [limited atonement] to be almost a meaningless doctrine with no practical application…”

    I wish this were true. Limited atonement, coupled with the common theme in Reformed writing that we can never know for sure if we’re saved, screwed up my head badly. How can I know if Jesus died for me if He didn’t die for everybody? There’s no forensic way I can “prove” that He died for me – I don’t have access to the Book of Life. And if He didn’t die for me, then my sins aren’t covered. I desperately wish I could unthink these thoughts, and that I felt more confident about the arguments that debunk limited atonement so I could just dismiss the whole idea. Honestly, nowadays I hate limited atonement.

  110. @ Jeff S:
    I had breakfast with my best friend’s solidly Christian Reformed parents this past week and they had no idea about the Neo-Calvinists, much less SGM. Roger mildly wondered why they would be called Neo-Calvinists since that was the label given Kuipers et al back in the day. Off the top of his head, he said, combining Southern Baptist sensibilities with conservative Calvinism seems a terrible idea.

    It is hugely important, if we are to learn through SGM-type fiascos, to recognize that all abuse is about power-over. And every time an ideology/theology reverts to law and authority, abuse will occur. And no system has been immune to that reversion at one point or another in its history, often to its demise.

    It is interesting to examine the particular flavor of abuse that emerges from a theology/ideology such as this batch of Neo-Calvinists. But as HUG points out by comparing to Russian Marxism, and Eagle to Mormonism, in the end, all abuse looks remarkably the same. The way abuse happens and the tools abusers use, are brutish and commonplace.

    So I agree that the content of YRR theology is a side issue. And I know some lovely Calvinists: humble, hardworking, loving, generous.

    It is vital for any group of people to have a clear understanding of the limits of law and authority. And the longevity and nurture of that group will be defined by an institutional priority towards transparency and mutuality. It is really that simple. But it is difficult, too, because we need to keep constant watch for reversion. The human heart is inclined to wickedness and no structure, no matter how seemingly perfect, will protect us against it.

  111. Anon 1 wrote:

    Perhaps it is not fair but this Calvinist resurgence is defining Calvinism for many people. And one reason is because the frozen chosen have been pretty silent and not speaking out. It is like the moderate Muslims. Where were they? A few here and there but we were told there were tons of them. So why not speak up as a united voice?

    This is the other half of all abusive systems: that the mass membership stays silent. It is always because of ignorance and fear. It allows abuse and is therefore the back side of the wickedness in the human heart.

    Pertinent quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” (attributed to Margaret Mead)

  112. @ Anon 1:
    The ignorance of mass membership is largely the fault of leaders, I think. After all, a group needs an effective news media (whatever form it takes in a given system: here it is internet blogs) and it needs someone to draw the group together to denounce/dismantle emerging systems of abuse.

    An underlying problem is the atomization of church communities, and its members from each other and their contextual environment. That’s a pervasive USian problem.

  113. @ Hester:
    I agree with your definitions and that Reformed and Calvinism are not the same. I realize I sometime use the terms interchangeably here for the sake of convenience, but my former church (the one that did so much damage) was decidedly NOT reformed but certainly Calvinist (though they didn’t talk about Calvinism much- I remember speaking to the 18 year old daughter of one of the elders who was very involved in church and asked her what she thought about Calvinism; her response was something along the lines of “I’ve heard about it a little- it seems to make sense”).

    My heart hurts for you that LA messed with your head so badly. Remember this is a doctrine that, if true, was so unimportant that Calvin never even mentioned it. The “can never be sure if we’re saved” bit is really anti-Reformed, but I see how these ideas coupled together can be harmful. It is one of the charges that Calvinists make against Arminians that Arminian’s can never be sure of their salvation. The WCF states directly that we have assurance – we should feel no burden to doubt our salvation (but recognize that many times we do). So those folks who preach that kind of message are directly contradicting historic Reformed teaching.

    You say there’s no forensic way to “prove” it, but the Biblical proof is faith, and that is something that you clearly have. I’ve not had much interaction with Lutherans before in my life, but I have been very impressed by the depth and nature of your faith- it makes Lutheranism very attractive. I hope you can find that encouraging- unless you have grossly misrepresented your character (after all, I don’t know you), from what I’ve seen that you’ve written you have no reason Biblically to be concerned for the state of your soul.

    Jesus did die for you- his death was sufficient to cover the sins of all; Scripture says that plainly and many times. There is only a subset of people who believe that Jesus’ death was not sufficient for all (RC Sproul denies that ANYONE believes that, but he is wrong). LA simply states that not every receives the effect of this sufficient sacrifice, which every Christian who isn’t a Universalist believes. If it was EFFECTIVE for all, then everyone would be saved. As it is, it is only effective for those who have faith.

    For years I considered myself a “4 point” Calvinist because of LA- believing that it meant Jesus’ did not “die for all”, even though the scripture says he did. This was easily an option available to me because the churches I went to didn’t really talk about Calvinism much so I was pretty free to believe whatever I wanted. Heck, this is still true even though I go to a PCA church now (my current church will let you be in a leadership position within the church even if you are not a Calvinist- but they do ask that you learn and be able to answer questions about Calvinism/Reformed doctrine). I only started agreeing with LA after reading Sproul’s discussion on it and seeing that I was misunderstanding it (as least as he defines it).

  114. @ Nicholas:

    The people you quote are placing no one under any bondage, Nicholas. They are expressing their own thoughts and beliefs. They cannot force any one to believe anything. I don’t find this to be a very fair statement.

    I also don’t know why people seem to think that Augustine couldn’t have brought some of his pre-conversion thoughts and ideas into Christianity. Or that those pre-conversion concepts didn’t/couldn’t influence his writing. If you read about his life before conversion, you might see where some false ideas and applications could have crept in. I try to never make the assumption that because orthodoxy has held to “x,” or believed because “x” wrote so much that orthodoxy believes, that this orthodoxy therefore is what God intended. It is ways better to go to the texts yourself.

  115. @ Bridget: There’s a big difference between “bringing some of it with [him]” and the claiming that all of his thoughts were wrong and fallacious.

    *Nobody* in this world is a blank slate post-conversion, or post-anything else, for that matter. I don’t think Jesus ever expected anyone to be that – it would be considerably less than human, after all; robotic, really.

    When I was very young and in the first flush of enthusiasm post-“official” conversion, I had the idea that God was somehow going to magically erase all that was wrong in my thinking and even in my very character and self. WRONG.

    That came (partly) from my own misunderstanding, but it also came rather directly from wrong interpretations of Scripture that were in circulation at the time. I was in my mid-teens, and naive.

    I naiveté about many things is a very human tendency, especially for those who are young and/or have led extremely sheltered lives.

  116. @ Jeff S: Per the SGM case, I think last week’s hearing was the opening salvo in a battle, not the beginning and end of the thing.

    throwing something out based on a single technicality is not the same as dismissing it on merit or lack thereof. (am sure you know all of this; just saying.)

    Take care, OK?

  117. @ numo:

    Numo –

    Your experience “might be” that people slam Augustine and disregard “all” his thoughts. My experience has been that people view him as a saint who is infallible. I’m for neither view. As I said, I’m for reading “about” him and his thoughts AND determining for ones’s sell what seems consistent with Jesus’ teaching and what isn’t. You’re right we all bring garbage into post conversion or post belief. It’s impossible not to.

  118. @ Bridget: Oh gosh, I wasn’t thinking of “garbage” so much as that we bring who we are, good, bad and indifferent. for it to be otherwise would be pretty awful.

    As for people thinking augustine was infallible, well… I bet we’ve all thought that someone or other was that, no? I agree that everyone needs to be able to read and think for themselves, as well as to discuss and be open to change.

  119. @ Bridget: Also, I guess my background (Lutheran) has some bearing on the issues surrounding Augustine, in that – for the most part – inquiry and study and learning are welcomed, even encouraged, not slammed, as per SGM and other groups like it.

  120. Jeff S wrote:

    I go to a PCA church now (my current church will let you be in a leadership position within the church even if you are not a Calvinist- but they do ask that you learn and be able to answer questions about Calvinism/Reformed doctrine).

    if this is true, then this is a good church.

  121. Jeff S

    Look at the top of the home page.

    “recently I understand it to me than in sufficiency he paid enough for all, but in efficiency it only is applied to the elect”. This is in regards to limited atonement. You do know that Arminians believe tha same thing. If so, why the debate on both sides?

  122. Bridget wrote:

    Your experience “might be” that people slam Augustine and disregard “all” his thoughts. My experience has been that people view him as a saint who is infallible

    Yeah, that is pretty much what I come across from both Protestant Calvinists and Catholics which is ironic. It is interesting to note that Augustine inserted novel concepts in to Christendom that were later systematized by Calvin. It is a long indepth discussion. What is even more interesting that those of the time who strongly disagreed with his ideas of Total Depravity (inability) as in all material world is evil and only spiritual good, etc, were marginalized.

    I also have huge problems with his behavior AFTER he was saved. His treatment of his long time concubine in banishing her to never see her son again was cruel and unnecessary. She was an embarassment. NOt a nice guy either to the Donatists.

    I really wish we would stop elevating these guys as the go to folks for understanding God.

  123. numo wrote:

    I was in my mid-teens, and naive.
    I naiveté about many things is a very human tendency, especially for those who are young and/or have led extremely sheltered lives.

    Ach, this is why we need mature older people. Everyone is naïve at the beginning; lack of experience is the nature of youth. I was thinking this past week about my youth, how deceived, dissociated and ignorant I was, and how terribly alone. There were no wise aunties/uncles/parents or church members to help me along, even when I asked/looked. They fell down on the job!

    The help I received came through an undergrad emphasis on Dooyeweerd (which shows that one will take whatever one can get and do more with it than intended lol) And then, at 25, I fell into my first depression and ended up at Pine Rest Hospital Not a Medical Facility (it said that on the sign out front!), where they were vaguely kind, attached ridiculous diagnostic labels and put insurmountable barriers in my way to expose my father.

    I suppose, though, that is why a tight-a** community is so attractive to some. They feel a desperate need for others, suspend their analytical skills to obtain it, and then get trapped in awful renditions of it. Perhaps the only reason I escaped such a path is that I knew “church community” was no answer, having been raised in an abusive parsonage.

  124. Anon1

    This statement is important.

    Perhaps it is not fair but this Calvinist resurgence is defining Calvinism for many people.

    We must do more that just say ” we don’t believe this rot.” The decent people within the Reformed community must speak out, loud and clear, and define why they are different.

  125. At some point when there’s a break in the other news, I’d like to see a post covering Turk’s Tweets, answering each in detail. IMO a parcel of damnable lies mixed with a sizable sheep of height.
    Primary lies: 1: A Detwiler-led conspiracy arose whose only aim was to destroy SGM. 2: Said conspiracy trumped up false spiritual abuse charges. 3: These charges were soundly refuted. 4: Conspiracy fell back to Plan B and trumped up false child sex abuse charges. 5: These charges have now been tossed out. 6: Conspirators will now dredge up Plan C in the continued attempt to destroy SGM.

  126. “The following gentleman is a Pelagian who denies the sinful nature of man:”

    Nicholas,

    Sigh. The YRR have made an industry out of calling the Non Cals in the SBC “Semi Pelgaian or Pelagian”. Al Mohler included. Even his peers who are seminary presidents are now heretics. So it is getting old this rush to judgement that any mention of disagreement on the Augustinian definition of total depravity means one is a heretic. I do not believe we are corpses either as taught in that tradition.

    I do not agree with the standard Augustianian/Calvinist definition of total depravity (or inability) That does not mean I deny the sinful nature of humans. We are born into corrupted bodies into a corrupted world. We cannot escape that.

    So please, no more accusations of being a heretic?

  127. Dave A A wrote:

    At some point when there’s a break in the other news, I’d like to see a post covering Turk’s Tweets, answering each in detail. IMO a parcel of damnable lies mixed with a sizable sheep of height.
    Primary lies: 1: A Detwiler-led conspiracy arose whose only aim was to destroy SGM. 2: Said conspiracy trumped up false spiritual abuse charges. 3: These charges were soundly refuted. 4: Conspiracy fell back to Plan B and trumped up false child sex abuse charges. 5: These charges have now been tossed out. 6: Conspirators will now dredge up Plan C in the continued attempt to destroy SGM.

    Oh Dave, Turk would LOVE that. :o)

  128. @ Anon 1: All of this – the development of theology and philosophy in the history of both Eastern and Western xtianity – is much more complex and and involves MANY more people than Augustine and Calvin.

    I wish we could all have more nuanced discussions on these topics, but I fear it’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.

    Please understand, I am not for one second trying to invalidate your pov – or you. It’s just that (not unlike Jeff S) I’m feeling like many things are reduced to a Chick tract-type level of assertion here and in other places – doesn’t matter what the topic is, it happens all the time. I guess it’s something that’s innate to our humanity, really. (I don’t mean that in a bad way or original Sin way or anything of the kind – it just is.)

    I know that I’ve been caught in pendulum swing-type cycles in the past, having very much to do with the church movements that I got caught up in. So I’m not saying that I’m immune, not by any stretch of the imagination.

    But reducing belief and theology from late antiquity onward to what I believe to be somewhat one-dimensional ideas about both Augustine and Calvin just doesn’t cut it for me personally. (Partly because we have no way of calling either of them into the witness box, no? We are reading our own ideas back onto them; me as much as anyone else.)

    Can we please just have a little balance in this?

  129. Patrice wrote:

    Ach, this is why we need mature older people

    YES!!!! This is horribly missing in so many churches esp the YRR ones. I would not trade the seniors in my church for anything. The wisdom of a life lived. Asking you just the right questions to make you think. And what is best, the seniors in my church came of age in the free church tradition and won’t put up with uppity pastors. they are big on the holy priesthood and soul competency. When they die out– there will be few of us left who really understand such things. We have tons of young tyrants out there waiting to take over churches as their own little kingdoms.

    School your children in this, folks. Free church. The true Body. Teach them how to spot a tyrant.

  130. Jeff S

    I’m trying to appeal to the commenters who take shots at Calvinism.

    Here is what I hope. There has been pain festering for years and years over this stuff. Decent Calvinists are allowing themselves to be defined by whacko Calvinism (a woman who is a black belt cannot defend herself when she has a man by her side stuff).

    These commenters are not taking potshots at your type of Calvinism. They are going after the type of Calvinism that allows this stuff to gain in voice in their community. You are suffering the effects of the kooks out there who have let us know that their brand is true Calvinism. 

    That is what I try to do on this blog. We point out nonsense and say “that isn’t the faith.” I do not get defensive when visitors go after me for what the perceive to be the faith. I merely correct them and have been doing so for 4 years. Sometimes I think I am getting no where as the numbers of those leaving churches continues to rise. But, i m committed to being here for as long as possible to preach against abuse in the church. It takes patience.

    However, then one sees someone like Eagle who appeared here angry and agnostic, now attending church and doing all sorts of things that will amaze people one day when he can speak of it. 

    We cannot condemn others for their perceptions of things. The first thing we must do is look at ourselves and figure out how this came to be.

  131. @ Anon 1:

    Michael Pearl (the man in the video) *did* deny the sinful nature of humanity, and thus is an actual Pelagian. And I would say that it colors his views on childrearing (for more on that, search his name on TWW and Google).

  132. @ numo:

    Numo, I am used to your condescention. Balance? I was hoping I WAS bringing balance since the other side which BALANCES Augustine is rarely discussed anywhere at all. Never questioned. You want me to bring balance to something I am totally opposed to? I am not a very good politician! :o)

    “But reducing belief and theology from late antiquity onward to what I believe to be somewhat one-dimensional ideas about both Augustine and Calvin just doesn’t cut it for me personally.”

    This is silly. We go with the names we recognize and who have been promoted as “Great Theologians” or “Church Fathers” or even “Saints”. Calvin has a doctrine named after him that is still being used 500 years later. Calvin has some Institutes you can read to get a “one dimensional” picture of his teaching. Augustine has prolific writings you can analyze. What is that about me being “one dimensional”?

    I could mention the monk John Cassian, would that help? :o)

  133. Nicholas wrote:

    Michael Pearl (the man in the video) *did* deny the sinful nature of humanity, and thus is an actual Pelagian. And I would say that it colors his views on childrearing (for more on that, search his name on TWW and Google).

    Nic I am not familiar with Pearls, actually. But quite frankly that would mean Diests would also be automatic child beaters, wouldn’t it?

  134. Dave A A wrote:

    On second thought, the ideas should be presented as hypothetical tweets from Tweeter X!!!

    Where is Neil when you need him to make up a rhyming name? :o)

  135. @ Anon 1:

    Baptist ecclesiology is part of what is wrong with groups like SGM, SBC, and IFB. Rarely can there be any kind of accountability.

  136. @ Anon 1: Look, I wasn’t intending “condescension” and I don’t know if it serves any purpose to try and discuss this further.

    here’s the thing (or a couple of things): I don’t much like Augustine’s ideas on a lot of things, either and have said so repeatedly. But he never set out to be the original Peck’s Bad Boy (or The Bad Seed or whatever) and I think he’d be truly shocked at the way he’s been elevated so far above most of the ranks, along with Thomas Aquinas and a few others.

    Like you and me, he was human and error-prone. I don’t think he’s as utterly evil and wrong-headed as you think he is, and I don’t see any harm in saying so, any more than I see any harm in Jeff S’ frustration with the way some commenters here paint ALL Reformed theology in the blackest possible hues.

    I don’t mean any of that in a condescending way, really, but I am tired of the way you and Argo and some other commenters continually bash and belittle those who disagree with you. You would not tolerate it if others did it to you – why should we not speak out and say “hey, there’s more to this picture?”

  137. @ numo: should read “bash and belittle the beliefs of those who disagree with you.”

    I am not going to get into a name-calling match, either.

  138. Jeff S wrote:
    IMO, the only worthwhile debates between Calvinism and Arminianism are argued from the strengths of each, not the weaknesses. You do this and I respect you for it. Integrity exists on both sides, but different kinds. Calvinism carries an austere rationality which, I think, is why it sometimes appeals to the more intellectual/academic. (Thus the joy in its “beauty” – it is carefully fitted.)

    But neither side, no matter how finely worked, can make knowledge out of what we do not know. In the end, lines of faith (conviction of things unseen) are drawn in somewhat different places. Which has inevitable repercussions.

    Seems to me that as long as we know the limitations of our chosen viewpoint, they are both useful. I find it fascinating that they are not altogether reconcilable (although more than most admit) and yet I know God best by using both lenses.

    (I used to think it means Jesus only paid the price for the elect, but recently I understand it to me than in sufficiency he paid enough for all, but in efficiency it only is applied to the elect).

    So see, I have little desire for either sufficiency or efficiency. I’m interested in bounty and plethora so I draw my lines elsewhere, and am, on this point, deformed Reformed. :-)

  139. @ Nicholas: Nicholas, my intention was *not* “correction,” it was to try and put things on a slightly more even keel. (Instead of having the ship heel over so far that it capsizes, takes on lots of water and sinks, or runs aground, or whatever – forgive the nautical comparisons; my dad was in the Merchant Marine.)

    Also… using the word “heretic” (or “heresy” or “heretical”) is pretty daggoned charged, too – just saying.

    Ultimately, I think lots of us here are on the same page and arguing over these things is, as Jeff S said last night, *extremely* counterproductive and takes the focus off the real issues. (I plead guilty to this, btw.)

  140. Nicholas wrote:

    @ Anon 1:

    Baptist ecclesiology is part of what is wrong with groups like SGM, SBC, and IFB. Rarely can there be any kind of accountability.

    Which ecclesiology? Free church? congregational voting and decision making? I am confused. There are many different sorts of “Baptists”. And some change over time, too.

  141. @ Patrice:

    “An underlying problem is the atomization of church communities, and its members from each other and their contextual environment. That’s a pervasive USian problem.”
    ****************

    Patrice, could you comment more on this? Do you mean small groups / cell groups / home groups? Denominations? Christian faith traditions at odds with one another? Them versus us?

  142. @ Anon 1: Please, let’s both drop it, OK?

    We disagree on some things (not all); we can agree to disagree and all get along.

    fwiw, as I’ve said before, I no longer believe in Augustine’s conception of original sin, either. So we’re more on the same page than you might think.

    [/bows out]

  143. @ Nicholas:
    Humans have a penchant for dualism. It’s a central issue throughout human thought because we are uncomfortably both mind/body/spirit and in/of/out of the world and it’s difficult to understand and to embrace. I think this discomfort and difficulty is a sign of our brokenness.

    In that sense, Augustine had his issues with it and so do you and I. It is part/parcel of being human. How we end up parsing it out is fascinating. But one can be fairly certain that when a philosophy/theology falls into dualism (rather than emphasizing one aspect for the sake of discussion), or refuses to deal with it at all, it is yet unreconciled to the nature of humanity.

  144. @ Nicholas:

    What do you mean by this, Nicholas? Some Baptists believe in the priesthood of all believers, some believe in elder rule. I don’t get the “Baptist ecclesiology” application.

  145. dee wrote:

    Jeff S
    Look at the top of the home page.

    Good word, Dee. Thank you.

    “recently I understand it to me than in sufficiency he paid enough for all, but in efficiency it only is applied to the elect”. This is in regards to limited atonement. You do know that Arminians believe tha same thing. If so, why the debate on both sides?

    I don’t know- this is why I called it a “meaningless doctrine”. Well, I guess I’ve always believed it to be meaningless. I mean, even if the hyper guys who believe that it is only sufficient for some are right, what then? How does that change anything I do?

    But really, the “sufficient for all, efficient for some” version (that Sproul says is the only real version) seems to be completely non-controversial. Sproul does look at a different aspect of it re-labeling it do “Definite Atonement”, which, as I understand it, highlights the idea that a Calvinist believes Christ knew going into it who would be saved and there definitely WERE specific individual who were going to be effectually saved by his sacrifice. Whereas an Arminian would not believe that- he or she would believe that it would be possible for Jesus to suffer and die not knowing if anyone would accept the gift of salvation or not.

    Again, not sure I see the point here, and I’m not entirely convinced that Sproul is actually representing the historical view of LA anyway. I can accept his definition though, so according to Sproul, I am a 5 point Calvinist. According to others, I might not be. I honestly don’t really care. And no one really knows what Calvin himself would have said, since he didn’t talk about it. And if he did, would it matter?

    To make the idea of the sacrifice sufficient for only some jive with scripture is really hard- there are too many cases of Jesus being described as dying for “all” or “the world”.

    But I don’t think about LA that much because there seems to be no real application in my life.

  146. Patrice wrote:

    Humans have a penchant for dualism. It’s a central issue throughout human thought because we are uncomfortably both mind/body/spirit and in/of/out of the world and it’s difficult to understand and to embrace. I think this discomfort and difficulty is a sign of our brokenness.

    Great point. It is everywhere. And I am starting to wonder if it is because early on believers eschewed the early Jewish paradigm of God which is a large and indepth subject!

  147. numo wrote:

    @ Anon 1: Please, let’s both drop it, OK?

    Gladly, but you always say “please lets drop it” AFTER I respond to something I find an unfair representation of my view or words. Please understand I am going to respond to something like that. It is unfair to expect me not to respond.

  148. @ Patrice: I agree with you, and am beginning to suspect that maybe Jesus is the *only* human being (speaking of the human aspect of his nature) who has ever gotten this right.

    To frame this a little more positively, I think most people struggle – to a greater or lesser degree – with their “worse” selves and know it. We all long for a place and time where those things are no more. That’s worked itself out in pretty much every belief system (or so it seems), at least so far as I know. Even religions without anything like the xtian concept of original sin believe in sin and wrongdoing – I think recognizing right from wrong is part of the image of God in all of us.

    But what we so often do – me, too! – is reduce complex and multifaceted things to “either/or” rather than seeing them as “both/and.”

    I am no better than the next person in this regard (black-and-white thinking) and have struggled with it all my life. Being in the screwed-up evangelical/charismatic churches I was part of only reinforced that tendency.

    It’s taken a LOT of time (10 years and counting) after exit from the last one for me to begin to really start learning to see nuances. It’s not an easy thing at all, for anyone, I’m thinking.

  149. A brief word about Augustine (brief is all that I can offer, not being extremely well read on him). I take no issue with the influence of Plato on his thinking. It seems to me that Socrates/Plato/Aristotle all had some philosophical understand of truth contained in the general revelation. Synergizing this with Christianity is not an issue for me because I think God can reveal himself that way.

    However, when we start down the road of “spirit is good, material is evil”, we are travel a path of heresy, and Platonic thought can definitely go that direction. And yes, I DO see this influence on evangelical thought today. So I think we have to be careful, and I DO think about things like how our view of scripture might be influenced unduly by Greek philosophy when I study the Bible.

    Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, The Westminster Confession- these are all just men and historical documents. They do not represent the raw truth of God and we have to be careful with them, even when they can benefit us.

  150. Sorry if I am changing the subject at hand, but wanted to get back on the SGM lawsuit since I am just now getting caught up reading on the latest in all of this. Trying to sort a lot of this out so some of you might can help me understand this a bit better.

    So from what I understand, the SOL has caused all but two of the (alleged) victims complaints to be thrown out, but they will be appealing this soon.

    I am not that familiar with how this whole process works, but what would happen if the appeal does not work? Will the two alleged victims complaints that remain carry enough weight to bring justice against the alleged cover up and any additional alleged abuse charges? Or will these complaints not be enough?

    I am hoping the appeal will carry through and bring justice to this situation. At this point, it is impossible to fathom that so many of these charges to be false. It is sad to think that there are STILL people who are turning a blind eye to all of this…(and sadly, major news outlets have yet to pick it up as far as I know)…Not to mention people claiming that these accusations are false..(Turk)

    I have been one to defend some of the YRR guys (Chandler, Platt, and Chan) on here before for various reasons (mainly because I am NOT one to frown on a whole group like the YRR because of certain people within the group or certain behaviors), but I must confess..I have been disgusted with their utter silence on all of this along with others. I am sure they are waiting on the storm to pass and the final verdict to come down, but to give no comment, not even one acknowledgement to the accusations is flat out disheartening.

    Unless I have missed something (entirely possible because I haven’t listened to their podcasts lately or followed tweets), I have not heard anything come from Chandler, Platt, or Chan in all of this. I am not sure how “close” Platt and Chan are to Mahaney/SGM but I know Chandler has shared a connection with Mahaney and SGM. For him to say nothing, not matter how much supposed shock or disbelief he may have over the situation regarding his friend, is just wrong.

    I am thankful for Jared Wilson to speak out, as small of a tweet that it was, I am thankful he decided to respond. Hoping more will follow.

    Have been praying and will continue to pray for everyone involved in this situation. Thanks Dee/Deb for staying on top of all this.

  151. @ Anon 1: Please, let’s drop the name-calling.

    I don’t see anything amiss in discussion of beliefs, but I don’t like being called names and neither, I suspect, do you.

    If you think that what I believe is overly simplistic or wrong-headed or whatever, then please, by all means, talk about that – my beliefs. But “passive-aggressive” and “I’m used to your condescension” just don’t cut it. I made it very clear that I was not attacking you personally, yet the 1st sentence of your reply contains a personal attack against me.

    Why?

  152. @ Jeff S: Yes – thanks for this, Jeff!

    Very much agreed. I do not think any of these people deified Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, the neo-Platonists – any of them. There were very few *other* ideas going in their day, and their concepts and understanding of the nature of man were shaped by them in the same way that we are often shaped by our preconceptions (prevalent in both churches and in society as a whole) whether we realize it or not.

    I don’t think it’s possible or even very fair to demand that Augustine (or anyone else) who lived almost two thousand years ago to think like a contemporary US resident with a K-12 (or higher) education. They would likely be baffled by our world and our ideas as we would be by theirs, were we somehow transported back in time.

  153. numo wrote:

    Please, let’s drop the name-calling.

    What name did I call you and I will most sincerely apologize for it.

  154. @ Jeff S: I’d also like to suggest that maybe it’s interpretations of Plato (later ones) that are the primary influence here, not so much Plato himself.

    I also doubt very much that Plato thought he knew all of the truth, and suspect that he’d be amazed if he knew of the reputation he and Socrates and Aristotle have developed as the “fathers” of Western philosophy.

  155. Numo, I have to leave for a meeting. I did not want you to think I was ignoring your replies.

  156. @ Anon 1: I quoted them above, though to be fair, “passive-aggressive”” is from some months back.

    “Condescending” is what comes across to me in what you wrote. (“I’m used to your condescension.”)

    But really, can we just shake hands and bury the blamed hatchet? and that I would be happy if we can just drop the whole thing from this point forward and if you would try and understand that I am not attacking you personally or saying that everything you believe is wrong or whatever. I wasn’t, and I stated that above.

    I want the focus to be off this stuff, though, and back to discussion of the post, as Dee pretty much asked us in the note at the top of the page re. Calvinism vs. Arminianism (although I’m not Arminian or Calvinist; neither fits me, but “Calvinist” certainly does describe the beliefs of some of our regular commenters – like Jeff S).

  157. @ Jeff S.:

    Thanks for your comment. I use Calvinist and Reformed interchangeably for the sake of convenience in more “surface-level” conversations too, but try to maintain the distinction when a fine point is involved. I don’t actually have that big of a problem with TULIP in isolation (except for what I said about LA), but as I went along I discovered I had a lot of problems with Reformed theology, esp. their church practices. There are a lot of differences between Reformed church culture and the Lutheran church culture I was raised in. Heck, it’s even reflected in how we number the Ten Commandments. Luther puts 1 and 2 (“no other gods before me” and “no graven images”) together into just #1; the Reformed keep them separate. This is because Luther saw those two commandments as just different ways of addressing idolatry. The Reformed, however, expanded the definition of “graven image” to include pictures in church, musical instruments in church, etc. This is why Bach was Lutheran and not Reformed. There’s other differences too but I don’t want this comment to turn into a dissertation.

    I’ve come to realize that a lack of assurance touches almost everything about your faith walk. If you’re not sure that you’re saved, you’re inclined to “park” on that topic (at least I am) until you have it figured out (it’s kinda important, after all), which leads to not moving on to other stuff you really should be doing. Plus, since I’m likely on the autism spectrum, I have an overdeveloped ability to construct worst-case scenarios in my mind (HUG has talked about this too), which means when I doubt, I doubt like a pro. (Lucky me!) There are some people who are just like this. A family friend’s daughter has “thought OCD” and obsessively worries about things – for instance, when Tropical Storm Irene was heading for New England a few years ago, they had to take pains to keep her from finding out too early or she would obsess about preparing and be scared for a week or more. This is why I’ve said here before that certain types of people probably just shouldn’t go near certain kinds of Calvinism.

    To my knowledge, I haven’t grossly misrepresented my character. : ) There are of course, areas I wish I was “better” at. Prayer is a huge problem for me due both to the assurance thing and unresolved questions about James 1:5-8. I doubt a lot, so “logically” that verse must mean God won’t answer my prayers. Not a huge motivator in the prayer department. It also doesn’t help when I read English Calvinist writers and they quip “if prayerless, then graceless” all over the place as if that phrase was lifted right out of Holy Writ.

    It’s interesting that you say it’s “anti-Reformed” to preach constant doubt about one’s salvation. I do agree with you, at least on the theological level, which is why I find it so interesting that it seems to work in the opposite direction so often. When I was a kid, growing up in the Lutheran church and Arminian Baptist AWANA groups (weird upbringing, that), I never had any doubt that Jesus died for me. I mean, of course He did – He loves everybody and He died for everybody. But when I started read English Calvinists (I’m not familiar with Dutch or other nationalities, so that’s why I’m using the phrase “English Calvinists,” which probably equals Puritans on some side or another of the Atlantic), I learned that it was a virtue to be in near-constant doubt about your salvation.

    Edmund Morgan wrote an entire book on this subject, sort of. Actually it was about the procedure New England Puritans developed to determine who was qualified to join their churches. And guess what? Doubting your salvation was, essentially, considered an essential step in the conversion process. If you expressed certainty of your salvation, that was a “bad sign” and you might be kept out of the church because of it. (Not surprisingly, this system fell apart in less than fifty years when the churches couldn’t find qualified members.) The attitude almost seemed to be that only elderly, experienced believers were allowed to be certain. How they ever got this if the Westminster Confession states assurance is possible and a good thing, I don’t know. Interestingly, when I first approached Calvinism I figured it would be easier to have assurance under that system because of the perseverance of the saints.

    “You say there’s no forensic way to ‘prove’ it, but the Biblical proof is faith, and that is something that you clearly have.”

    When I get loopy about the assurance topic I always try to go back to John 6:66-69 and Matthew 16:13-16.

    “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (We sing this every week in the Lutheran church, BTW, before the reading of the Gospel text.)

    “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

    Jesus seemed satisfied with Peter’s answers, and I’ve never felt that I could not honestly say what Peter said.

  158. @ elastigirl:
    This issue came up for me because of the sheer number of people over the last five years (inside/outside the church) who have been cruel/disdainful towards me for being on Social Security Disability. If I am disabled, it must be because I am lazy, ignorant, stupid, or just haven’t tried hard enough in the right way.

    It’s been painful and enraging, but after I got over that, I began to wonder where this was coming from. And so I began to read more about the American character. Started with de Tocqueville.

    We think that we are all separate little bits, wholly independent of that which is around us, complete in ourselves, and fully capable/responsible to meet all the issues/problems of our lives. It is an extrapolation of individualism, and to us USians, understanding it is like fish understanding water.

    We tend to forget that humans exist as much in relationship as they do as intact selves. (As do atoms, really, we find.) Abuse is terrible, not only because it trashes internal integrity but it also destroys vital relationships. People have a hard time admitting that abuse damages because it defeats the unspoken assumption that we are complete as units and capable of triumphing over everything (with the help of God added on, for some).

    We can see it in the increasing tendency of our big businesses to think that they can sell whatever anyone will buy because it is the customer’s responsibility to make sure they are getting good value and quality. On. Every. Single. item. We see it in how we attend churches outside of our neighborhoods and by doing so, form communities divorced from where we live and from the concerns of our immediate context. It goes on and on.

    Evangelical Christianity has tried to address this by emphasizing church community and family. But because they also emphasize authority and correct law/doctrine, and because they do not address underlying societal assumptions but think they can simply “escape” by declaration, and because they have no answer for failed families or single people (beyond condemnation), they end up being of limited help, and then people slide back out, into re-atomization. Home churches try to address it by worshipping in their neighborhood, but then they become divorced from the larger Christian context. On and on.

    This is a genuine conundrum because it is the nature of our society and although it is sometimes beautifully resolved in different ways, it isn’t done enough to slow the tide away from the church or change the opinion of our big businesses/banks. Etc.

    Does that clarify? Numo wrote about how we make caricatured statements but I don’t know how we get around that on a comment thread, even when I go on and on. :-)

  159. @ Patrice:

    This issue came up for me because of the sheer number of people over the last five years (inside/outside the church) who have been cruel/disdainful towards me for being on Social Security Disability. If I am disabled, it must be because I am lazy, ignorant, stupid, or just haven’t tried hard enough in the right way.

    You and I should get together and write a book about this, Patrice! One of the reasons I was booted from That Church is that they refused to believe there was any reason for me to apply in the 1st place, and they believed that I had lied my way through the entire thing in order to get money. :(

  160. @ Patrice: I’ve seen the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” deal used against many people… including me, but that’s not the issue, is it? It’s the fact that it’s so ingrained in our thinking and that we tend (me, too) to judge people by it, when in reality, we’re often very unaware of (or ignorant of, maybe) what’s really going on in their lives.

    Dealing with chronic pain and fatigue (my situation) is not easy by any means, but I think – I hope! – that I am becoming more compassionate toward the sufferings of other very real people as a result. (Though the Lord knows, I’m cranky on the days when the pain’s gotten ratcheted up!)

  161. Nicholas wrote:

    Beware of anyone who would place people under the yoke and bondage of Pelagianism. And there are some people who would do just that:

    Nicholas, if you’re referring to the comments made by Argo and myself, I can only speak for myself. There was not the slightest hint of me wanting to “convert” anyone to my view. My comment simply stated that I reject the doctrine of human inability to choose and cultivate good rather than evil.

  162. @ Hester: Excellent points, Hester. I can recall feeling very unsettled/startled about 10 years ago when I looked up topics on church structure on the Desiring God site. It seemed as if Piper believed in “elders” running the show in a way that is very much like an alternative to civil authority.

    Since that kind of setup is very much embedded in the churches I was a part of (and was used against me and others), my reaction was “Run away now!”

    it’s so very different to what goes on in the ELCA, and probably to what happens in your LCMS church, it’s not funny.

    btw, when I told my mom about “limited atonement” a year or so ago, she was utterly horrified. she’s in her late 80s, has been a Lutheran all her life, and in consequence, is very much in the “jesus loves everyone and died for everyone” camp. (As am I.) I was shocked when I 1st came across “limited atonement” and have serious issues with it, but my mom’s horror kind of sums up a lifetime of experience (hers) as a Christian.

    Funny how we can be all on the same page yet have such divergent views of many things, no?

  163. @ numo:
    By That Church, do you mean the church at large? Who did that to you? Shame on them!

    And contrary to a recent news article, it is still difficult to get SSD. The increase is almost completely explained by the increase in Boomers aging. (Which that article admits but only in passing.)

    Yes, so no wonder why we have a hard time with compassion. Not only is it contrary to our rebellious little hearts but there is societal pressure against it. For all those folks who like to talk “culture war”, this would be the issue on which to fight. That they don’t see it shows their continuing desire to operate by “the rules of the world”.

    By the way, the weird judgementalism surrounding Chronic Fatigue/ME is starting to wane. They are finding biological markers—interesting conference at the FDA last month.

    I wouldn’t expect a person who is in pain not to be cranky. It’s an unfortunate side effect lol I ran into that recently with fendrel, impatience/shortness cuz of pain. Gah

  164. @ Patrice: That Church = the church that booted me; Christ Our Shepherd, in D.C. And yes, my SSD played a large part in their reasoning. They thought I had egged on my attorney to lie during my hearing. (I was not even at the hearing and didn’t know it had taken place until after it happened!)

    I have had a CFS diagnosis since 1992 (after a bad siege of mono from ’89-’90) and dealt with weird viral symptoms for about 7 years; fibro probably covers it better now, though. (and I had endo. – after my “I’m getting rid of everything” surgery in early ’92, the people at That Church believed that I was “fixed” and thus making up everything that was going on after the surgery – they wouldn’t even look at some good, brief info. material I had on it, and deemed me lazy, a reprobate, worthy of shunning, etc.)

    In fact, they insisted that I move out of the area, live with my elderly mom and take care of her. Where they expected me to find the $$$ for moving, I have no idea, but they did.

    The whole thing was horrible; the “you’re bad” meetings took place at a TERRIBLE time in my life, and I didn’t hear anything from any of the people I knew well for several months. Lost all of my friends (with 2-3 exceptions, and even they were told to shun me for a while), lost my position in the music ministry, lost what I thought was my family.

    Lost my own integrity in many ways; the cognitive dissonance in my own head (You’re a liar and a worm! – well no, not really!) was terrible for quite a while. And what I said got reported – literally – to the guy who thinks he’s the head honcho. he knew about things in my life that he should NEVER have known, although maybe he was just making accusations based on guesswork.

    I don’t know and really, I don’t care anymore. It’s over, and I’m no longer in the dark woods, wandering around, like I was for a number of years.

  165. @ Patrice: fwiw, I applied in a Virginia office rather than in D.C., because the case backlog there was much greater. Even so, my application (along with who knows how many others) was sent to the Midwest somewhere for processing. (And I lived about an hour from the SSA HQ, where my hearing was held.)

    It took several years for things to move beyond the immediate post-application stage – was that the case with you as well?

  166. @ Jeff S:
    Yes, when we talk about Plato, Augustine, Calvin, Arminius we aren’t really talking about those people but the accretions built on them over time. It’s like referring to original coral in a reef. The names become stand-ins for ways-of-thinking and in the post-modern sense, it’s important for us to deconstruct everyone’s assumptions enough to see what people actually mean. Which sometimes is a lot of work via misunderstanding.

    By the way, Arminius (Jakob Hermanszoon) was a Dutch Reformed theologian. There really isn’t much difference between him and Calvin. This might be angels on pinheads or pinheads who think they are angels or heads who think they’ve pinned the angels… something like that. W00t

  167. Hester wrote:

    The Morgan book is Visible Saints: The History of a Puritan Idea, if you’re interested.

    I am reading that now cos you recommended it here a while back. What is wierd is that I think I read it a long time ago but got very little out of it, obviously. Sometimes we are just not ready for some things. Or they don’t register with us.

    However, I was reading a lot of Puritan writings/Sermons about 6-7 years ago and it was mind numbing and soul killing for me. I finally figured out they seemed to be stuck at the cross and never really embraced the full meaning of the resurrection. The empty tomb and what that means for us.

  168. @ numo:

    I should have said “I” brought garbage into my post conversion. Where you called it the good, “bad,” and indifferent. I called the “bad” – garbage. I also didn’t mean to infer that it was “all” I or anyone brings to post conversion. I believe “all” humans are image bearers to some degree and bring whatever “degree” we have to post conversion life as well.

    To me, anyway, it would be wonderful leave the “bad” behind. Not so much the good and indifferent though.

  169. @ Bridget: My apologies for misreading! I guess it comes from the way I used to think about myself, really – which was reinforced by some of the churches I was in.

    We all have garbage, it’s true.

  170. Patrice wrote:

    By the way, Arminius (Jakob Hermanszoon) was a Dutch Reformed theologian. There really isn’t much difference between him and Calvin. This might be angels on pinheads or pinheads who think they are angels or heads who think they’ve pinned the angels… something like that. W00t

    Thank you. I have always thought the automatic dichotomy of Calvinist vs Arminian was false. Believers do not always fit into either one of those categories!

    Who knows, I might be semi Pelagian! I have it on my list to study his beliefs. I figure if I am going to be called that by the YRR in my neck of the woods because of my different view of original sin (I call it original death), I better study up on him!

  171. @ Hester:

    I get a lot of what you are saying about worst case scenarios. I’m a bit obsessive by nature so I tend to dwell on stuff. I have questioned myself in the past and sometimes still do, but ultimately for me it all comes back to trusting in a good and loving God. I’ve given him all the faith I have- I’m trusting in him to do right and good with that faith. That’s all I can do- have faith.

    A lot of the “spiritual” things that people do and say simply don’t track with me. Unless it’s music, I tend to “experience” God with my mind. I am not good with focused prayer time, but I do feel like I live constantly in touch with God- as if my live is one big conversation. Quiet Time is even more of a challenge for me because I have trust issues. I LOVE to do bible “study”, but it terms of reading scripture for daily meditation, it really doesn’t work for me. Because I’ve seen scripture mistranslated and abused I am very fearful of reading the scripture and not going through the effort to understand what it means. I don’t even trust myself unless I really dig in. A 15 minute session with the Bible doesn’t really seem to benefit me the way it does everyone else. I know I once had a guy tell me that I need to spend time reading the pure word of God (since he knows I tend to listen to sermons), but honestly we don’t HAVE the “pure word of God”. Our translations are very good, but they are not infallible.

    Regarding James and praying without doubts, that can be a tough one- but we have to remember what James was writing about and what his goals where. His book is all about “faith in action”, not just in the head. He says that true religion is helping the oppressed (hmmmm). So in that context, I think this praying without doubts is praying not in some sense of the abstract idea of faith, but to a real and living God who WILL answer our prayers. Or at least, that’s how I view it. But in the end, if we give God what we have, he will take care of the rest. “I believe, help me in my unbelief”.

    And I draw great encouragement from the story of Apollos who was TEACHING ERROR, yet rather than be rebuked he was brought in, taught, and encouraged. I love this, because I realize that it was his heart that was seen, not his doctrine. Not that his misteaching wasn’t important to correct, but it wasn’t the determining factor upon which it was decided he was pleasing to God.

    Finally, regarding the assurance of salvation (not that I believe the WCF is a divine document- I just like that it sets the parameters so there is a baseline to work with in terms of doctrine):

    Chapter XVIII. Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation
    Section I.–Although hypocrites, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions: of being in the favor of God and estate of salvation; which hope of theirs shall perish: yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in a state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God: which hope shall never make them ashamed.
    Section II.–This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probably persuasion, grounded upon a fallible hope; but an infallible assurance of faith, founded upon the divine truth of the promises of salvation, the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made, the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God; which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.

  172. Hester wrote:

    Addendum @ Jeff S.:
    Wow, I just wrote you an autobiography…sorry about that. : )

    LOL, forgiven!

    But now you have to read my equally long response :p

  173. @ numo:
    How absolutely wretched! I didn’t know. You still write cogently—kudos to you! Those people know exactly what hell is; they like it; they run it. Well, maybe they’ll get to continue their little system in the real hell but as recipients (not that I believe in one, I’m an annihilationist, but works for me today) Bah

    Yeah, it’s the kind of situation where you have to endure and sort it out best as you can, and then you come to a time when you just want to forget the whole stupid thing. I can now, finally, look back at my own experiences with bemused interest, but it’s taken 13 years from collapse. Healing from severe abuse takes a looooonnngggg time.

    Re SSD, I was hugely lucky (unexpected grace later in my collapse) because I got it on the first try and without a lawyer—7 mths from application and back pay for my daughter. I don’t know why it happened; so many disabled need to fight and fight. But I am deeply grateful. Like many others, I was out in the cold: my family was a waste and I couldn’t get to a church, even if there was one that liked me.

    My parents used to go on about how the church rather than the state should do charity but since they weren’t even willing to take up their daughter, humbug, I say, humbug to them all.

  174. @ Patrice: Thanks – it kind of reminds me of what I’ve read about some Taoist beliefs (re. hell); that there’s a celestial civil service system (like they used to ahve in China – *extremely* complex bureaucracy). After death, if you’ve been a decent person, you get a job in the heavenly civil service. Those who are not quite up to snuff get to administer what they refer to as “earth prisons” – i.e., hells (definitely plural here!) And that’s exactly where some of these people might fit in, no?

    I no longer believe in hell, either, though I lean more to a Robin parry-style xtian universalism. Annihilationism seems too drastic to me, though maybe reserved for some? I don’t know; the Bible is a curious book in many ways and I think certain parts of the NT that are actually allegorical (especially Revelations) have been taken too literally for too long. I *do* know that Jesus said he has a pretty big place, with room enough for all (many mansions) and that we will be with him. That’s good enough for me!

  175. @ Patrice: you are SO fortunate to have had the entire process take 7 months – wow!!! (Am very happy for you!!!)

    I didn’t have to appeal; it was just that the waiting period was several years from the time I applied to the date of the hearing. Calling the SSA “byzantine” is WAY too generous, believe me! (My attorney – a specialist in disability and workmens’ comp – has stories…)

    I bet the fact that you’re in the upper Midwest helped with the speed of things; the East Coast was – probably still is – gridlocked. (My decision was in 1998, btw.)

  176. @ Patrice: Also… Dee has my email, if you’d ever like to chat off-list. (I don’t want to post it here; that’s an open invitation to spammers and the like.)

  177. numo & Patrice,
    A little off topic, but still pertinent to the topic of theology and human experience on this thread:
    Cloud Atlas is now available on DVD & Blu-ray. In my opinion it is one of the best films to come out in a long while. Here’s a quote from the film:

    “Our lives are not our own.
    From womb to tomb, we are bound to others.
    Past and present.
    And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our own future…”

  178. @ Jeff S: I can relate… music works best for me, too. And a prayer book (like many Catholics, Anglicans/TEC, Lutherans et. al.) use.

    I felt like a complete failure for years and years because I simply could not focus during so-called Quiet Time. My mind would drift away to other things, I’d fall asleep, the works. And – in pretty much every church I was in – they thought we should write down what God showed us during these times. For a while, I kind of made things up; then I stopped altogether. I used to experience tremendous guilt about it; haven’t “done” regimented private prayer for several years now and boy, do I feel better.

    I still have difficult reading the Bible, for multiple reasons. (a lot of it related to negative things I heard for years and years.)

    So… if “quiet time” works out for someone, that’s great. but if not, there are lots of other ways to be, do, hear, and all of that. (I find that looking at the sky and landscape – I’m in a beautiful mountainous area now – does wonders for me and makes me profoundly grateful and full of amazement at the beauty of creation and for/at the God who made it happen.)

  179. Hey guys. I am sitting in a Panera Bread and close to me is a table full of men who earlier finished praying loudly. (Matthew 6 anyone?) Now they are discussing a “new covenant” for their church they are entering into and strategizing how they are going to convince the congregation they have already affirmed this even though they have no vote. (they must be elders). They are full of strategizing because obviously they don’t think the congregation will approve of what ever it is they are planning. Sorry but a few of them talk very loud.

    See? It is everywhere. They are doing great things for God by hoodwinking the donors into thinking they have affirmed something they think they will be against! Oh, this brings back memories.

  180. Anon 1

    Been there done that… If I ever hear about re-writing church covenants in a church I attend, you can be sure I will challenge it.

  181. Deb wrote:

    Anon 1 Been there done that… If I ever hear about re-writing church covenants in a church I attend, you can be sure I will challenge it.

    I’d be surprised if you joined a church that ha a covenant to rewrite :p

  182. @ Jeff & Numo:

    I’ve never been able to make regimented “quiet time” work either. My version of Bible study looks a lot like what Jeff described, using the mind (word studies, cultural background, etc.). But the vibe I inevitably get from the general Christian environment is that intellectual study isn’t as good as experiencing God (which of course they never define), or sometimes that intellectual study is bad in and of itself because it’s “head knowledge” rather than “heart knowledge.” It’s always implied to be some kind of emotional thing that’s the standard. And to be honest, I just don’t get that emotional over this stuff (unless I get mad about someone like Doug Phillips), and certainly not during Bible study. But it must be possible for those of us who are more intellectually-oriented to connect with God.

    Music, I think would be an exception to the emotional rule for me, as would fiction/literature (though I’m still not that person who cries at romantic parts in books). I do have emotions, I’m just not very emotive.

    I also rarely do the “focused prayer” thing (i.e., go lock yourself in your room and pray for xyz minutes), which is I suppose what I meant before when I said I don’t “pray” enough. I spend most of an average day thinking about some kind of theological/spiritual topic. I can think of things to thank God for, situations in my life that need addressing, etc., but I don’t often “sit down and pray” about them. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care and it’s not as if God doesn’t know. Maybe this makes me a spiritual dirtbag or unregenerate. I don’t know. “Pray without ceasing” can’t mean “stay locked in your room 24/7,” right…?

    Then again, maybe I just don’t have enough life experience at 22…

    I feel nervous even putting all this on (digital) paper because I’m afraid somebody’s going to go Judgy McJudgypants all over me for saying it…even though I know rationally that probably won’t happen here.

  183. @ Muff Potter:

    I was referring to Argo’s comment, and had in mind other comments that he’s left where he does imply that he wants Christians to abandon orthodox Christian views of God, man, Original Sin, etc.

  184. @ Hester:

    Well, I for one appreciate you sharing all of that. Your faith journey and the way you experience it is VERY similar to mine. For the longest time I really thought I was secretly broken because I didn’t experience God the way I was supposed to and everyone else described. Through my divorce and all of that, I think I realized how much God loves me and that I really do experience him and his love for me, even if it doesn’t look the way it does for a lot of others.

    As for people judging you for all of this: Pharisees gonna Pharisee (or something like that!) Better to live honestly as God made you then according to the rules of men.

  185. Anon 1 wrote:

    They are full of strategizing because obviously they don’t think the congregation will approve of what ever it is they are planning. Sorry but a few of them talk very loud.

    Anon 1 — Blergh. That’s disgusting. One thing I’ve learned is that church politics are just as ugly corporate politics — perhaps uglier because we don’t expect them. I think the Lord may have put you there at that time to warn the congregation. Are there any clever ideas that come to mind?

  186. Nicholas wrote:

    was referring to Argo’s comment, and had in mind other comments that he’s left where he does imply that he wants Christians to abandon orthodox Christian views of God, man, Original Sin, etc.

    Nicholas, Do you know how many denominations claim to be “orthodox”? Man made concept.

    1. Adhering to the accepted or traditional and established faith, especially in religion.
    2. Adhering to the Christian faith as expressed in the early Christian ecumenical creeds.
    3. Orthodox
    a. Of or relating to any of the churches or rites of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
    b. Of or relating to Orthodox Judaism.
    4. Adhering to what is commonly accepted, customary, or traditional: an orthodox view of world affairs.
    n.
    1. One that is orthodox.
    2. Orthodox A member of an Eastern Orthodox church.

    The problem with using it for Christianity is that Christianity is about “relationship” and quite a few groups/denominations who totally disagree with each other, claim it. What are we to make of that?

    Argo is a former member of SGM and is doing a lot of deep thinking taking him on an exciting journey that is not plotted out for him by man. He loves Jesus Christ.

    One thing I have tried to find is the concept of original sin before Augustine that is not read INTO scripture. He has pretty much defined it for the West. I prefer to see it as original death which I think is more true to the early Christian belief and it pretty much colors everything.

    Here is something else I discovered researching very early Christians. Most of them referred to Jesus as my Lord. Not Jesus the Savior. Isn’t that interesting? Does that mean He was not their Savior? No, of course not. But His being Lord is about sanctification and living the kingdom NOW. Just some really interesting stuff that would not be considered “orthodox” after Christianity was institutionalized.

  187. dee wrote:

    Anon1

    Perhpas you could have dropped a link to TWW on the problems with covenants.

    Hee Hee. I had a friend email who lives in another state to say she is getting weary of everytime she walks in a Starbucks there are a group of guys talking about Piper with Piper stuff all over the table. She asked me whatever happened to Jesus?

  188. Janey wrote:

    One thing I’ve learned is that church politics are just as ugly corporate politics — perhaps uglier because we don’t expect them. I think the Lord may have put you there at that time to warn the congregation. Are there any clever ideas that come to mind?

    Janey, I have done my time in their star chambers and paid the big price. Yes, they are uglier than corporate or even government agency politics because they do their ugly in the Name of Christ. Gives me chills.

  189. @ Hester:

    “Pray without ceasing” means chattering with God thoughout the day (or night) about whatever is impressed on my heart to pray about. It is an ongoing conversation with a being whom I know loves and cares about me more than any earthly person.

  190. Bridget wrote:

    @ Hester:

    “Pray without ceasing” means chattering with God thoughout the day (or night) about whatever is impressed on my heart to pray about. It is an ongoing conversation with a being whom I know loves and cares about me more than any earthly person.

    Bridget that is exactly where I am. I used to be a slave to the “quiet time” failing miserably when I finally came to terms He is with me all day and does not require any formality! It is not a sin to pray with your eyes open when driving. :o)

  191. Jeff S wrote:

    Deb wrote:
    Anon 1 Been there done that… If I ever hear about re-writing church covenants in a church I attend, you can be sure I will challenge it.
    I’d be surprised if you joined a church that ha a covenant to rewrite :p

    I joined a church, and it has a covenant all right – but it will never be re-written, because the person who wrote it is the same yesterday, today and forever. I refer, of course, to The Church, and the new covenant (some might prefer to capitalise that phrase too, and I wouldn’t argue with them). Personally, I reject not just the necessity, but the possibility of any other spiritually legitimate covenant. Of course this raises questions, but that’ll do for now; I suppose there’s a blog post in there, but it’ll have to wait till tomorrow (it being quite late here!).

  192. Anon 1 wrote:

    Do you know how many denominations claim to be “orthodox”? Man made concept.

    Wrong again. Orthodoxy and heresy are very real things, and Pelagianism is deadly heresy.

    “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9)

  193. Anon 1 wrote:

    What is even more interesting that those of the time who strongly disagreed with his ideas of Total Depravity (inability) as in all material world is evil and only spiritual good,

    That, of course, is not at all what Total Depravity means. You seem desperate to tar others with the “gnostic” label, and you have just violated the Eighth Commandment.

  194. @ Nicholas:

    Start at the beginning of that chapter and ask when was this written, who is it written to, what was going on that was being addressed, how was it addressed. Then ask yourself if someone here has done the same thing? Has someone on this blog done what Paul was speaking of?

  195. @ Bridget:

    The situation he was dealing with was the presence of the Judaizers in Galatia. But as Paul says, if a man is preaching a gospel contrary to the one preached by the Apostles, let him be accursed. There are many false gospels, and only one true gospel.

  196. @ Eagle:
    Eagle, I am moved by your words. Peace and good to you. As a Christian, I see this cartoonist (linked here) rendition of her journey as a sort of parable, though, for me, likened to a mustard seed or a touch to the hem of Jesus’ garment. A line from a song a favorite buddy of mine wrote encourages me when wearied, “I may tremble on the rock but the rock never trembles under me.” The rock descriptive of Jesus, the chief cornerstone Mat 21:42. Eph 2: 19-22.
    http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html

  197. @ Hester: I’m very “intellectual” when it comes to reading/studying, too.

    I sometimes wonder if what goes on is like: someone made a rule, somehow, about what prayer, et. al. should be like, and now that rule (and others like it) are so ensconced in evangelical culture that everyone feels like they have to play along – yet secretly, most people don’t really ever experience things in the way the rule says they’re supposed to. (In other words, if you do X, Y should automatically happen, except that it doesn’t.)

    In a way, a lot of those ideas remind me of especially flowery greeting-card verses, or songs like “In the Garden.” It seems as if sentimentality is often confused for actual sentiment, and not just in so-called xtian culture, you know?

    Either way, I’m certainly not gonna go all Judgy McJudgypants, because I’m facing awfully similar things.

    Do I think about God a fair deal? well, yeah, I probably do. Sometimes I pray, though not in any sustained manner. But maybe there *are* no rules, at least, not any that Jesus would recognize, let alone teach.

    Does that make sense?

  198. Hi Nicholas,

    You do understand that many of us know the same scriptures you quote here quite well? We most likely use a different hermenuetic than you might. Not sure. And that hermeneutic will affect how you interpret the entire pericope— so proof texting is of no help.

    “That, of course, is not at all what Total Depravity means. You seem desperate to tar others with the “gnostic” label, and you have just violated the Eighth Commandment.”

    I am taring folks by bringing up interesting things I have read about and from early Christians? I have violated the 8th commandment?

    Please chill. Jesus Christ loves both of us and we both love Him, right?

  199. @ Nicholas: Nicholas, I kind of hate to ask this, but do you think you could go a bit easier on labeling people?

    I know you believe you are right to do so, but maybe you need to cut others a bit of a break.

    Just saying…

  200. Anon 1 wrote:

    I have always thought the automatic dichotomy of Calvinist vs Arminian was false. Believers do not always fit into either one of those categories!

    Yeah, it was when I discovered that Arminius was Dutch and from Reformed tradition that everything came upside-right. I am Arminian Reformed! Thus I am theologically approved to hang my hat on any dang thing that I like. Talk about eclecticism. Just call me a magpie. Lol

    And also, I am a heretic. Sorry, Nicholas. An Arminian Reformed heretic saved by love and walking with the Holy Spirit. (Beaming)

  201. Anon 1 wrote:

    Please chill. Jesus Christ loves both of us and we both love Him, right?

    Certainly.

    numo wrote:

    but do you think you could go a bit easier on labeling people?

    Sure thing.

    @ Patrice:

    Although I am a Lutheran, I do not consider Reformed and Arminians to be heretics. :D

    And the h-word should indeed never be used lightly or flippantly, although many do.

  202. Anon 1 wrote:

    They are doing great things for God by hoodwinking the donors into thinking they have affirmed something they think they will be against! Oh, this brings back memories.

    We have an emergency manager taking over Detroit and we tax-paying citizens (donors) have no idea what plans are being made behind closed doors. All elected officials have been relieved of responsibility and relegated to secretarial status to the manager. Emergency managers in the other cities sold-off and pillaged the remaining goods, taking away even the bits of business monies that were helping support the ravaged cities.

    This is the same attitude as those power-hungry pastors you over-heard at the restaurant, another aspect of the societal zeitgeist. These churchy dingbats have no idea that they are simply imitating the worst of broader culture, even as they insist that they are purer by separation and doctrine.

    These are not leaders; they have neither wisdom nor commitment to their communities. They are there by charisma, smooth-talk, or social position. They must be sent back to the pews. We the people must stop being seduced!

  203. “SGM, Your Mis-behav’in Actions, Will Tell On You?”

    Patrice,

    Hey, glad youze bedder….

    hmmm…

    [Public Perception: April 2013 – Supported in Fact- The city of Detroit “has effectively exhausted its ability to borrow…” ]

    hmmm…

    ….your comment @ Patrice:
    begs the question:

    Is SGM spiritually, morally, and ethically bankrupt? Has SGM central and SGM affiliated  churches effectively exhausted their ability to gardner good will from the public trust?”

    Screeeeeeeeeeech!

    SGM, Your mis-behav’in actions, will tell on you?

    could b.

    S“㋡”py

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  207. + + + + + For those who are new to this story + + + + +

    Know the Basics of the Sovereign Grace Ministries Child Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Allegations in 15 minutes or less

    1. Overview + discussion of defendants that have already been convicted for other sex crimes (4 minutes, ABC TV affiliate WJLA) – http://www.wjla.com/video/2013/05/church-sex-abuse-allegations.html

    2. Update on the lawsuit (2 minutes, ABC TV affiliate WJLA)) – http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/05/sovereign-grace-ministries-class-action-civil-lawsuit-involving-child-sex-abuse-88894.html

    3. Huffington Post article about the evangelical pastors who are standing up for Mahaney, the main defendant - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/24/c-j-mahaney-scandal-evangelical-leaders-defend-pastor-accused-of-abuse-cover-up_n_3334500.html

    + + + + + +

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