The ‘Calvinism Advisory Committee’ Issues Statement

"We should expect all leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention and all entities serving our denomination to affirm, to respect, and to represent all Southern Baptists of good faith and to serve the great unity of our Convention. No entity should be promoting Calvinism or non-Calvinism to the exclusion of the other."

TRUTH, TRUST, and TESTIMONY in a TIME of TENSION

A Statement from the Calvinism Advisory Committee

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As Southern Baptists prepare for their Annual Meeting in Houston next week, the internet is buzzing about the SBC's latest edict on the Calvinism Debate.  You may recall that tensions were high last year when Southern Baptists convened in New Orleans.  Because of that, Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, formed a group to determine how Baptists can learn to get along despite their theological differences.   

According to an article in the Christian Post entitled Calvinism Debate:  Southern Baptists Form Team to Figure Out How to Work Together:

"Only a minority of Southern Baptists are Calvinists but a LifeWay Research survey conducted this year found that more people were signing on to the theological system. Sixteen percent of Southern Baptist pastors now say they are five-point Calvinists, up from 10 percent in 2006.

A majority of Southern Baptists (61 percent), meanwhile, indicated that they are concerned about the impact of Calvinism on the SBC.

Page doesn't believe the Calvinism debate is the biggest issue the denomination is facing. But he believes it's an important one that they must deal with."

When Frank Page was president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2006, he outlined what he considered to be issues of importance.  Here is what he had to say about Calvinism.

"Many people ask me about this issue.  I readily affirm my belief in the doctrines of grace, but as I have stated over and over, I believe the doctrines of grace include the issue of free will.  I have written a book about this issue.  I do not hold to the traditional five points of Calvinist theology.  I believe that while salvation will not be universally accepted, it is universally offered and atoned for by our Lord Jesus Christ!  I believe that human beings can accept or reject the Holy Spirit's call for salvation. 

I have made it abundantly clear that I believe that this argument is a family argument.  In fact, almost every Calvinist with whom I have spoken has a high belief in the integrity of Scripture.  Therefore, I have stated clearly that I will open the table of participation to anyone who (1) has a sweet spirit and (2) who has an evangelistic heart, (3) has a belief in the inerrant word of God, and (4) has strong belief and support in the Cooperative Program."

In case you are wondering whom Page selected for the Calvinism Advisory Team, here are the names as published last summer in the Baptist Press:

— Daniel Akin, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.

— Mark Dever, senior pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington D.C.

— David Dockery, president, Union University, Jackson, Tenn.

— Leo Endel, executive director, Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention. 

— Ken Fentress, senior pastor, Montrose Baptist Church, Rockville, Md.

— Timothy George, dean, Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, Ala.

— Eric Hankins, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Oxford, Miss.

— Johnny Hunt, pastor, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga.

— Tammi Ledbetter, homemaker and layperson, Inglewood Baptist Church, Grand Prairie, Texas.

— Steve Lemke, provost, director of the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

— Fred Luter, senior pastor, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, New Orleans; president, Southern Baptist Convention.

— R. Albert Mohler Jr., president, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky.

— Paige Patterson, president, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.

— Stephen Rummage, senior pastor, Bell Shoals Baptist Church, Brandon, Fla.

— Daniel Sanchez, professor of missions, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.

— Jimmy Scroggins, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, West Palm Beach, Fla.

According to recent reports, the committee currently consists of 19 members.  Here are the additional members (whose names are mentioned at the end of the report entitled TRUTH, TRUST, and TESTIMONY in a TIME of TENSION):

David Allen, dean, School of Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

Tom Ascol, pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, Florida

David Landrith, senior pastor, Long Hollow Baptist Church, Hendersonville, Tennessee

Why has Calvinism become such a hot button issue?  Perhaps this article written by Roger Olson – A report on some recent conversations on Calvinism – will help shed some light on why some Baptists consider Calvinism to be a divisive theological issue.  Olson explains:

"A seminary student told me about his home church. His parents are members there and he grew up in it. It’s a Baptist church that has never had any official position on Calvinism or Arminianism. It’s background is Pietist (as opposed to, say, fundamentalist). In other words, it has traditionally had a policy of not fighting over secondary doctrines such as predestination.

The church recently called a new pastor. He is relatively young, not long out of seminary but with some previous pastoral experience. During the search and interview process he did not reveal to the committee or then to the church’s leaders that he is a five point Calvinist. Hardly anyone in the church has been a five point Calvinist and he knew very well that it would be controversial. After he was called and accepted the call, he began pushing Calvinism in a very heavy handed way. He gives books by Wayne Grudem and Mark Driscoll to adult teachers to use in preparing their lessons. He unilaterally removed books from the church library he considered unbiblical or unorthodox from a Calvinist perspective. (This is an evangelical church and probably didn’t have many, if any, really liberal books in its library.) He began to insist on being present at all church committee meetings. A committee is not supposed to meet if he cannot be there. He is preaching and teaching Calvinism as if it were the one and only truly evangelical theology. He admits to being inspired by John Piper. The students’ parents are not very knowledgeable about theology but sense that the pastor’s behavior and teaching are a problem. The congregation is gradually being disturbed by this situation."

This kind of news gets around in the SBC, and churches, particularly those that are congregationally led, feel terribly threatened by the Young Restless and Reformed seminary graduates.  Al Mohler, for example, just celebrated his 20th anniversary as president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  For over two decades, this five-point Calvinist has been producing disciples who strive to emulate him, and some of Mohler's lieutenants have been wreaking havoc in Southern Baptist churches.     

We hope you will take the time to peruse this seven-page document and provide us with your feedback.  We believe the Southern Baptist Convention is at a crossroads, and it will be interesting to see just how cooperative those on either side of the theological debate are as the SBC attempts to move forward to carry out the Great Commission.  We will definitely be watching and reporting our findings.

Lydia's Corner:  2 Samuel 23:24-24:25   Acts 3:1-26   Psalm 123:1-4   Proverbs 16:21-23

Comments

The ‘Calvinism Advisory Committee’ Issues Statement — 544 Comments

  1. Let me clarify what Brent is saying…when he says leave the children alone he means don’t contact them and ask “did your father really molest you??? Like, I never knew. Gee! And how did you feel?” There is a cost with any worthwhile endeavor in life. In this case, the parents can no longer hide behind their uber-godly facade, and the cost is that some children will be shamed. But don’t prey on the children’s shame. Leave them alone. If you want to harass someone, ask the parents!!! @ Annie:

  2. @ numo:

    Yes, well, we don’t know specifics aside from knowing that Olivia doesn’t have a problem with it. I think people are being overly legalistic about this. She doesn’t mind. What’s the use of arguing over the chicken or the egg? She doesn’t mind!

    But what we also know is Brent has a blog that gets a lot of attention. Olivia, as far as I know, lacks a vehicle like the one Brent has. Now the story is out. And it’s made waves. It’s drawn attention to the lawsuit once again, and provided credible evidence for it – all this soon after the judge denied it and then the T4G guys came out with their dumb endorsement of Mahaney.

    I say the timing of this is great. It adds power to the consistent opposition against SGM. This will not let up as much as CJ and his supporters are wishing it would. And personally, I see God in that. You know why? Because God is on the side of the SGM opposition. I say BRING IT. KEEP BRINGING IT. SHOW NO MERCY.

  3. Dee and Deb, I want to make clear that my comments were not meant in any way to be a criticism toward you or your coverage of this event. You guys are doing an incredible thing here and I know it cannot be easy. These stories stir emotions from people who have suffered many different kinds of abuse. And reactions clash. Sigh. My primary forcus as I read Brent’s post was whether ‘Grace Goe’ was alright. Thanks for the freedom you allow here…..and thanks to the other commenters who avoided allowing this to turn into a flame war.

  4. @ Evie:
    Evie, please understand that this is as easy as that.

    I want to make clear that what I am about to say is not what I think you mean, it is just what I hear. As a victim, when I read comments like the one you just posted, what I hear (through my own damged filters) is, “Tear it down – it must come down, collateral damage be damned.”

    Again, I truly do not believe that is how you feel or mean to come across. But it is what I hear…..

  5. @ Jeannette Altes: Is it possible you’re mistaken in inferring that since Olivias comment she posted here came after Brents blog post, that it necessarily means she’s saying what she did after having been uninformed of his plan or surprised by it?

    I don’t think we should make too many inferences based on the appearance of how things have played out chronologically here today. There’s obviously things going on behind the scenes. And there may be a good reason why both Olivia and Brent are keeping mum about that. Just sayin’

  6. @ Jeannette Altes:

    I don’t know what you mean by “it” as in “tear it down, it must come down.”

    Could you elaborate on what you think the “it” is as regards me, as in what you think I think that is? Hope my question makes sense. Thanks 🙂

  7. @ Evie:

    I understand what you’re saying. IMO no larger picture ever trumps a victims wishes and their right to their own disclosures. I don’t think I attributed any motive to Brent, although I have seen that. I have also seen several new commentors on both blogs try to explain Brent’s possible position.

    IMHO Brent is a big boy and can speak for himself, though for some reason he chooses not to. I’ve simply put one question to him knowing he doesn’t owe me anything. But he could uncomplicate things. The main problem is that most of the people here are concerned for the alleged victims but have trust issues concerning Brent.

    On another note, I’m not sure if Olivia posted anything at Survivor saying she was okay with being known. That might be why there seems to be more dismay about Brent’s post over there than here.

    It’s okay to disagree 🙂

  8. To be honest, as a very distant observer I have kind of thought of Brent as rather like the Starscream to CJ’s Megatron.

  9. This is totally off topic, but in clicking one of the links on one of the recent threads here, I found something posted by someone using a moniker I used about a year ago over at Survivors. Creeps me out, 1, because it was an unusual moniker, (not anon, just saying, or something similar, but very specific) and 2, because the poster was YRR friendly. Yikes and double Yikes.

  10. @ Evie: imo, he’s acting like a vigilante, perhaps to try and deflect attention away from his own wrongdoing.

    outing people is wrong. the courts and the cops are on this; nobody is above the law, but he’s been acting like he is – no matter who gets hurt in the process.

  11. @ Evie: you know, i just cannot agree.

    the case is in good hands; the cops are on it, too.

    talk about unnecessarily stirring the pot, to the plaintiffs’ detriment! how would you feel if you were one of them and someone outed you?

    ithink i’m done with this, as i’ve said all i can say. any more is redundant.

  12. numo, I’ve just been scouring the links on WW’s recent threads and can’t find it now. It was the title of a limerick, one of my father’s favorites, and it just seemed so appropriate at the time.

  13. Evie, do you believe it is OK to out victims other than Olivia who have not said they are OK with it?

    Personally, if Olivia is OK with it, I’m not going to spend too much time worried over the timeline of events. But if victims have been outed that did not want to be outed and are now having to deal with the consequences of that action, that is not OK. This process must put the needs of the victims ahead of punishment of the wicked, because caring for the oppressed is as much a part of justice as punishing the wicked is. Putting the desires of others above their wellbeing is what started this mess to begin with. No one has the right to use them for any agenda, even a positive one.

    But if the siblings are OK with it and did not feel coerced, then it’s time to move on.

  14. numo wrote:

    I keep wondering why he is being given a pass, since he was in the upper echelons.

    yes, he provided the docs two years ago, but there are LOTS of questions about him that remain unanswered. I do not believe he has the moral authority to be blowing the plaintiffs’ cover, let alone the right.

    numo — Why give him a pass? Because to me he seems like the Apostle Paul in Acts 9–

    Back in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him. They didn’t trust him one bit. Then Barnabas took him under his wing. He introduced him to the apostles and stood up for him, told them how Saul had seen and spoken to the Master on the Damascus Road and how in Damascus itself he had laid his life on the line with his bold preaching in Jesus’ name.

    Also, my instincts tell me Brent guards his reputation for accuracy at all costs. His blog is all about precise documentation. It’s in his best interest to have written permission from Olivia before he prints her shocking revelations. I’ll bet he has it in triplicate!

  15. numo wrote:

    I keep wondering why he is being given a pass, since he was in the upper echelons.

    yes, he provided the docs two years ago, but there are LOTS of questions about him that remain unanswered. I do not believe he has the moral authority to be blowing the plaintiffs’ cover, let alone the right.

    numo — By the way, I agree that a lot of pain and misery occurred at SGM under his leadership. And I agree that no one should blow a victim’s cover without permission. I just think he had permission.

  16. @ Daisy:
    @ Mark:

    Let’s end this. Neither of you believes the other is right and neither of you appear to be putting forth an argument that might make other change their mind.

    You are both firm in your convictions and we all understand that.

    Let’s move on.

  17. [[MOD: I’m going to let this stand as it was likely being typed before my comment staying to stop was up. But this is the LAST comment on this thread.]]

    Daisy wrote:

    Yes I recognize heresy – the Roman Catholic Church supports and teaches a lot of them, such as a works-based salvation (a rejection of salvation by faith alone), the addition of un biblical and anti biblical content (such as a belief that Mary is co-redeemer of Christ’s), etc.

    If something is unbiblical it is heresy? You do realize that the Trinity, which all mainstream Protestant denominations teach as a tenant of Christian faith is not found in scripture. It is a tradition of the Catholic Church. Some fringe groups like Church of God, 7th Day, deny the trinity because it is unbiblical. Why adopt Catholic teachings and not others? Christmas and Easter? All traditions.

    Also, unless one believes Once Saved Always Saved (eternal security), then there is an element of works in your salvation. Many Protestant denominations teach that one can lose their salvation.

    It isn’t a leap in logic to see that the whole argument boils down to this: truth to you is if someone believes the same thing that you do. That leaves the individual as the sole arbiter of truth. I reject the idea that the Holy Spirit leads people to different truths.

    That’s the whole reason I even commented on this thread to begin with about authority. The ROOT of the problem found in what is happening in the SBC with regards to Calvinism is that they do not have authority on doctrine. You can choose to ignore it and live blindly, or take a deeper dive into proving what you believe. It’s OK to talk about feelings and this person wronged me over this and I don’t like how I was treated over that, but feelings are fleeting and aren’t trustworthy.

    I thought my faith was settled back in 2003 when I was proved to myself that you could never lose your salvation. Charles Stanley’s book Eternal Security gave me that peace of mind, but you could never come to that conclusion just from reading the new testament. It took a lot of leaps in logic and scripture gymnastics to prove that point to me. But if you look at the apostles, especially Paul, I don’t get the sense that he felt he was eternally secure.

  18. GuyBehindtheCurtain wrote:

    @ Daisy:
    @ Mark:
    Let’s end this. Neither of you believes the other is right and neither of you appear to be putting forth an argument that might make other change their mind.
    You are both firm in your convictions and we all understand that.
    Let’s move on.

    End what? Dialogue about what our convictions are? I appreciate Daisy’s and other’s opinions about their faith and understanding, and I don’t condemn or look down on them for it. I don’t doubt their love for God.

    This blog even uses Wartburg Castle where Luther translated the Bible into German as a hallmark of victory for Christians. While I get that this blog is mainly about sharing *feelings*, there’s still a place for critical analysis of beliefs. Or, maybe not.

  19. @ Mark:
    Talking past each other is not debate. A back and forth of “you’re wrong” is not a dialog. IMO.

    Dee may overrule me here but from the sidelines you both appear to be tossing out talking points.

    Let it drop unless Dee/Deb overrule me.

  20. The real problem with that young, new pastor was not Calvinism. He has bigger problems if he he pushing books by Driscoll and Piper – he has embraced an abusive ministry style. And the SBC has far greater problems than rifts over Calvinism vs Arminianism. Like the fact that some of those names on their committee have a trackrecord of covering up sexual abuse in the SBC. Interesting that the SBC regularly uses the excuse “all of our churches are independent. There is nothing we as a head office can do about your complaints (like sexual abuse).” And yet here is a committee appointed to set policy over the entire denomination. Read Christa Brown’s book This Little Light and you will see the coverup politics in action from a sexual abuse victim’s perspective. It won’t be truth that the committee seeks. It will be all about politics and money. (With the exception of at least one member of the committee: Pastor Tom Ascol. I have trust in him).

  21. Jeff, Not sure how you can say that concerning Ascol, his mission statement of Founders which is divisive because he thinks I do not have the true Gospel, following along with the deception taught in Reisingers book, etc. Seems to me he has helped deception become readily accepted among the YRR elite.

    Anyway, why is he so silent on the T4G statement? he was even asked about it and all he could say was he did not comment. Why not? You have the guts to speak out. Ascol carries a lot of influence in certain segments of the SBC/Reformed movement. Yet, he is silent on this subject concerning Mahaney/SBC/REformed mvoement. Why? What is he scared of?

  22. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    @ Evie:
    Evie, please understand that this is as easy as that.

    I want to make clear that what I am about to say is not what I think you mean, it is just what I hear. As a victim, when I read comments like the one you just posted, what I hear (through my own damged filters) is, “Tear it down – it must come down, collateral damage be damned.”

    Again, I truly do not believe that is how you feel or mean to come across. But it is what I hear…..

    Hi Jeannette 🙂

    By “it” I’m referring to the truth. The sword of the Spirit. I think there’s a battle going on here. On the one side you have people who have deceived, obfuscated, disseminated, covered up, lied, suppressed, and misled people regarding what is true.

    On the other side you have people speaking out and exposing the corrupt ministry practices and teachings of the many leaders within SGM. And not only that, victims who have suffered great personal losses at the hands of people they were told to trust with their lives.

    The “it” I’m also referring to is the evil. It is our duty to expose “it.” The evil that has worked throughout Sovereign Grace Ministries unabated has produced the fruits of wickedness: suffering, pain, loss, sin, despair, torment and bondage that Christ died to set us free from.

    SGM preaches a false gospel.

    The gospel is all about setting the captives free. SGM makes slaves and victims out of God’s people, and turns His gospel into a tool of manipulation.

    This needs to be stopped. God is opposed to this and I’ve seen the evidence against SGM continue to pile up since Day2 of the launch of SGM Survivors when I discovered the site. The light of truth has continued to bear down on CJ Mahaney and his once thriving ministry. Now he sits in a non-church in Kentucky, the well deserved object of scorn and derision. And what is his response? We are evil. We are liars. We are the sinners.

    Lines are drawn.

    And as a battle cry I say BRING IT. KEEP BRINGING IT. SHOW NO MERCY.

  23. Ok, I have what might sound like a dumb question but it is nagging at me. Did Brent call the authorities concerning the name he outed yesterday as a child molester protected by CLC? He might not want to say so outloud, but still…..

  24. @ Evie:
    If our motivation becomes focused on bringing down a ministry/organization, we will easily end up using the same tactics and adopting the same mindsets as those we are so opposed to. If at any point, the victims’ well-being, personal feelings and right to autonomous decision making (including use of names and stories) become secondary, then we’ve just bought into the same mode of thinking that allowed building a ministry to trump truly loving people.
    A zeal for truth and a passionate desire to bring about justice and prevention of further abuse is commendable and exemplary. But we have to refuse to play by their rules, even if it seems to give them the advantage. In the end, we want truth to prevail without people being collateral damage. (Even as a non-victim, I hear the “collateral damage be damned” message in some comments that Patrice is hearing.)

  25. @ Evie:
    Sure, there’s a battle, and it’s important to be clear about it. And truth is beginning to win in this front, at long last.

    But as Jeannette says, you repeatedly sound as if you would be fine sacrificing the lives of the wounded for the sake of the crusade. Throughout history, this has been a frequent fault of those who go to war.

    We don’t want to march on top of the wounded lying on the ground. We don’t want to set captives free by burning down their houses and leaving them without food, tempting them to seek death (freedom indeed).

    Maybe try this battle cry, “Truth for evil, mercy for the wounded.” One need not be sacrificed for the other.

    Knowing *how* to fight is important, not specific to Brent and Olivia&sibs.

  26. Boz Tchividjain, G.R.A.C.E. Founder and Professor of Law at Liberty University, will be on the Janet Mefferd Show today at 4:30 ET. Boz will be talking about his concerns for how the sex abuse scandal is being handled by national leaders. There are also some new developments.

  27. @ Anon 1:
    I suspect Brent hasn’t said anything one way or another because there are behind-the-scenes schemes for which they need plausible deniability.

    I don’t know the guy and have only quickly perused a few of his documentations, so I’ve no idea about your earlier analysis.

    If he outed victims against their will, you can bet that he’ll get in trouble because they are well lawyered-up, thank God.

    But from his precise writing on “getting it exactly right”, I doubt he’d risk it, even if he wanted to. So my conjecture is that there’s lots of talking/debating going on, and plots in plots, and the victims are likely being as protected as much as their position can gain them.

    Which is why I believed him when he asked people to quit trying to contact Olivia et al.

    But who knows, right? In the end, our concerns can be brought into prayer and left there.

  28. This particar subject (Brent’s recent post) is worn out for me, personally. Prayer for truth and peace for victims is on my agenda.

  29. @ Leah:
    Leah, well spoken and in general I agree with you. I would like to clarify that I am calling for the downfall of the sin that has plagued Sovereign Grace Ministires and been the source of countless troubles. I hope we can agree on that basic tenet.

  30. Patrice wrote:

    @ Evie:

    But as Jeannette says, you repeatedly sound as if you would be fine sacrificing the lives of the wounded for the sake of the crusade. Throughout history, this has been a frequent fault of those who go to war.

    Thanks for the feedback Patrice. I will take this into consideration. I think part of the reason why I have given off this impression is due to my belief that SGM lacks the foundations of a true church. This puts me in a different camp than, say, those who see it as having the foundations of an authentic Christian ministry. In terms of my heart toward people, I’m surprised to hear I come across as being so callous. I wholeheartedly believe that the good Lord takes carea of His people and that all things work together for the good for those that love Him and are called according to His purposes. Doing the right and courageous sometimes results in people’s lives being disrupted. But ultimately, that disruption is for the best if it results from faith and obedience. Hope that explains where I’m coming from a bit better. I do see myself as working for peace through the conflict, but I cannot reconcile SGM with peace.

  31. @ Evie:
    It doesn’t matter how evil SGM is or isn’t it how much of a church it is. We cannot be OK with harming the victims. They are not “collateral damage”.

  32. @ Jeff S:
    Jeff S, I’ve struggled to come up with an adequate response to your comments. I’m sorry. In all honesty, I cannot comprehend what you are saying to me. I’m not saying that’s your fault, either. I am certainly not wishing to harm any victims.

    Please help me to understand why you’re saying that to me. Im sure it must be based on my previous comments. Where, in what I have said, have you interpreted me as a willingness for victims to be collateral damage? I’m just not connecting the dots.

  33. @ Evie:
    Revealing the names of victims who have not consented to being named harms them. If Brent did this, he was out of line.

    That is why people are upset. Olivia is OK with it, but she is not the only person whose identity was revealed.

  34. Sorry I haven’t been more clear- been responding in my iPhone.

    You have questioned why people are upset at Brent naming names, when doing so has revealed identities of the victims who previously have wished to remain anonymous. When you say things like the truth will disrupt people’s lives, it sound like you are saying revealing their identities is a mere “disruption” when it is far more than that. If they do not wish to be identified, doing it anyway is using then against their will to further an agenda.

    If I am misinterpreting I apologize- I really do not mean to be hostile. I am not actually convinced Brent has actually done anything wrong- we may not have all of the facts, but I am super sensitive to the issue of trampling on victims and using them for agendas, even if the agendas are good ones.

    I hope this is more clear.

  35. Jeff S wrote:

    Olivia is OK with it, but she is not the only person whose identity was revealed.

    This is truer than you can imagine.

  36. @ Jeff S:
    Jeff S, thank you! Your comment was really helpful. I can see now what you have been saying. It’s helped me to realize I wasn’t taking into consideration the other victims that were named, which I’m taking to mean Oliva’s siblings, right?

    I should review the lawsuit. I’m guessing the only one who has come forward within the family has been Olivia, and what people are objecting to now is her brothers and sisters have been included as having been victimized by their father.

    I’m sorry for my insensitivity.

    It’s a difficult situation to be sure.

    For example, how does Olivia share her story without implicating other family members? If she withheld doing so, or withheld anyone else from doing so out of the context of the lawsuit, wouldn’t that lead to a continuation of the cover-up and the chance for her siblings to receive the help they need?

    I can see that some people are saying its like a law, that no one should ever share their story if it involves other victims. That unless those other victims want to come out and share their story, then it should be kept quiet and handled privately. But I’m wondering, does that unwritten law always apply? Should it be handled on a case to case basis? In this case, is there some benefit to the familly being outed? And how is that different from the principles people have followed regarding outing SGM and the damage that certain individuals have caused other people due to their actions as revealed in their stories and in the lawsuit?

    For example, let’s take Grant Layman. He is a defendant in the lawsuit. He has a wife and children. His entire family has been affected by the revelations regarding his handling of things as a pastor in CLC. And he continues to function as a pastor in CLC, despite his participation in the alleged cover-ups of sexual abuse.

    Drawing on the same mindset as you have expressed it, wouldn’t it be best then to shield his wife and children from public humiliation? I realize no one is saying he personally sexually abused anyone in his own family, but dont his family members fall into the same kind of catagory in a sense, in that its not fair for them to be made victims of something they had no part in?

    I know it’s not a good comparison, since its not nearly the same thing. Olivia’s story is about her own family and it includes the fact others were allegedly abused and have been named as victims.

    Anyway, I’m probably not making good sense here. I know something like this is more than a mere disruption in the lives of Olivia’s family. I’m not wishing for people to suffer disruption unnecessarily. Who does? But as I see it, Olivia’s family is like a small SGM. Everything that has happened within that family has happened in SGM. There are some people still in SGM that have been negatively affected by these ongoing scandals. And some SGM’ers feel outraged and are offended and think the exposure they are receiving is uncalled for. They don’t want their lives disrupted. They want to carry on “business as usual.” And maybe some of Olivia’s family members feel the same way. “Let’s just move on and pretend like nothing happened.” But now the issue has been forced. And forcing the issue has contributed to further exposure of how CLC/SGM played a part in protecting an alleged predator and abuser. I care about how things like this affect people’s lives, but I have a difficult time sympathizing with people who just want it to be kept hush hush. That just further contributes to the culture of submission and abuse as I see it.

    Thoughts?

  37. @ Evie:

    I agree! Can you believe that T4G edited their statement and didn’t note that the statement had been altered!? Unfortunately, I can believe they would do that.

    FYI – There is a comment at Survivor from OL’s aunt, comment 1104.

  38. @ Evie:
    I’m glad we aren’t talking past each other any more- I see now we were just not connecting.

    My thoughts are that it is a huge difference protecting the spouse of someone who is guilty than protecting someone who was sexually assaulted. I believe there are legal ways to protect identities of siblings while prosecuting the guilty, but I am not a lawyer.

    I think it is never ok to reveal the identity of a victim without his or her consent. It’s not covering anything up- it is protecting them from further damage. Victims react in different ways to this stuff and process it in different ways and different timelines. I know just a little about this from seeing the behind the scenes comments at ACFJ- there are some domestic abuse survivors that want everyone to know everything and those whi are too terrified to even talk about the tiniest detail.

    Forcing someone to reveal more than he or she is prepared to do can be HUGELY damaging. It can feel like being victimized all over again. Protecting these victims is completely different from what SGM has done. They have protected perpetrators who deserve to be exposed and whatever trauma comes from that. But even the trauma of a innocent bystanders (like the wife of a perpetrator) is nothing compared to the trauma of someone who has been raped and then had that fact made public against his or her wishes.

    Some of these victims have had their boundaries violated in the worst way possible, as intimately as possible. It is very important not to re-violate their boundaries, ESPECIALLY by people they trust. It is probably hard for many of then to trust anyone. If they trust folks with this lawsuit and then become exposed in a way they don’t want to, how hard will it be for then to ever be vulnerable with another human being again? This is really serious stuff.

    Maybe these siblings are ready to go and Brent knew that. I hope so. If he has re-violated and further harmed them, it cold be seriously damaging.

    I’m not an expert on any of this- I’ve just observed seriously hurting people (and myself, as mild as my situation was I comparison to SGM survivors) and seen how important it is for them to feel safe and in control of their own lives and healing process.

  39. @ Evie:
    Hmm….I think part of the communication problem we seem to be having rests in the assumption that wanting to protect victims’ privacy is the same ad wanting to cover things up and keep them from being dealt with. That is not what I mean at all. Things must be dealt with. But the victims should have some say in how they’re story is used. My concern was that it seemed like you were saying (what i heard) the victims just needed to deal with it because we want this publicly exposed. For me, my reaction was ‘ouch!’

  40. Should we be giving BrentD a free ride?  BrentD, as number two man, oversaw SGM’s shift to a harmful form of Neo-Calvinistic theology.  He has not once repudiated this descent into religious madness, he for a better part of some 25 years engineered. He help’d build a very harmful religious system that is now identified across the Internet as an abusive religious cult.  As logic would have it, this would then make BrentD a former religious cult leader. Now he is seen as  a redeeming saint?

  41. @ Evie:
    And just to be really clear, and I haven’t been in this point, I do appreciate your zeal to punish the wicked. Paul and Peter were not afraid to name names, and we should not be either.

    I believe these folks are wicked and have behaved wickedly. There are too many allegations for me to believe otherwise.

  42. Was SGM designed to be a Neo-Calvinist showcase? Thereby creating the essential conditions for what as considered as extraordinary possibilities; or was SGM only to be a religious Theresienstadt perhaps? A utopian Neo-Calvinist cultural religious production? A shameful and grotesque lie? hmmm… And now extended elements of this proverbial nefarious religious Neo-Cal community want to entangle the SBC in their prolific designs? T4G, TGC, 9Marks, and ACTS 29 come to mind.

  43. @ Jeannette Altes:

    From the little bit I’ve read, the victim being able to make decisions about when and how they will share their story is a key element in the healing process. It is a huge step when a victim finds their voice, so to speak, and stands up for themselves. It’s one thing to report a possible crime, it’s another thing to force a victim to go public. I pray that this wasn’t just letting someone else (Brent) speak for her. This, of course, is the operating procedure in this group. The men (supposedly) speak for the women, daughters, wives. But I hope and pray that Olivia comes to the place where she will freely and proudly speak up for the herself, a beautiful women created in God’s image.

  44. Bill Kinnon wrote:

    @ Bridget: Brian Auten at the BHT pointed out the edit by T4G a few days ago.

    Thanks. I has realized that before Janet mentioned it on the show. The word for that action is “slimy.”

  45. Originally ‘prior’ to Kuyper ‘Reformed’ essentially meant in its basic belief system: 

    1. That man suffers from a terminal sin condition called depravity, which was inherited from the first man (Adam) who disobeyed God’s directive in the garden. To this condition, Adam’s descendants later added their own complicity. 

    2. That Man was now absolutely dependence on God alone for his salvation. 

    Fast forward:

    Apparently  Kuyper, in the late 19 century, transformed this classic Calvinism into Neo-Clvinism; new, in that it represents ideas and teachings that are not found in the original, classic Calvinism or the Reformed faith.

    hmmm….

    The key concept of Calvinism, according to Kuyper, became: “the sovereignty of God over the whole cosmos in all its spheres.” For Kuyper this divine sovereignty was reflected in a three-fold human sovereignty, namely in: (1) the State, (2)  in Society, (3) in the Church. The task as Christians, Kuyper believed, was to bring the principles of Calvinism to bear upon the world so as to influence and change it, redeeming and claiming it for Christ to whom the whole created order belongs. So the Protestant church’s primary mission, which was originally focused upon the salvation of men’s souls, but now Calvinism in the hands of  Kuyper, seeks societal governing bodies, community transformation, and cultural reform .

     Organizations like T4G, TGC, 9Marks, and ACTS 29 are Neo-Calvinist in their theological belief system. It is in essence Kuyper’s threefold system they are aparently fleshing out in the SBC and the greater Protestant church at large, with the overall desire & the will to create a type of unity: State, Society, and the Church? It is not just they want to return to the church temporal authority (now being presented in the guize of church discipline) ; but ultimately a progressive threefold unity goal: The restoration of the Cosmos (State, Society, Church) under God’s Sovereignty; Déjà vu?

  46. Patrice wrote:

    And all will be well and all manner of things will be well.

    Patrice — You are quicker than I am. This is exactly the quote I was going to post.

  47. Patrice wrote:

    I suspect Brent hasn’t said anything one way or another because there are behind-the-scenes schemes for which they need plausible deniability.

    I don’t know the guy and have only quickly perused a few of his documentations, so I’ve no idea about your earlier analysis.

    If he outed victims against their will, you can bet that he’ll get in trouble because they are well lawyered-up, thank God.

    But from his precise writing on “getting it exactly right”, I doubt he’d risk it, even if he wanted to. So my conjecture is that there’s lots of talking/debating going on, and plots in plots, and the victims are likely being as protected as much as their position can gain them.

    Which is why I believed him when he asked people to quit trying to contact Olivia et al.

    Patrice — No one has mentioned the tremendous risk Brent and Olivia took yesterday. When a powerful arrogant multimillionaire who is quite popular in his community gets accused publicly of multiple and repeated allegations of sex crimes against children, he usually files a lawsuit. This is pure speculation on my part — but doesn’t it seem likely to you?

  48. @ Janey: This one is very tricky. The lawsuit now has international attention. Some are calling it the evangelical scandal of the decade. The public is no longer willing to give a pass to churches that allegedly harbor pedophiles. This anger could also boil over onto an associated business. Also, the allegations arise out of his own family. This makes it even worse.

  49. @ Jeff S: De nada – you’re a wonderful advocate for those who have been (allegedly) abused, and I really appreciate what you have to say. (and not just re. abuse and recovery.)

  50. Bridget wrote:

    From the little bit I’ve read, the victim being able to make decisions about when and how they will share their story is a key element in the healing process. It is a huge step when a victim finds their voice, so to speak, and stands up for themselves.

    You have heard correctly. Even when I make the decision to share me story – or pieces of it – with someone, it is still difficult. Often, for me, when I tell it, I either fall apart or one of the old defense/survival mechanism I developed in childhood kicks in – for me, dissociation. The idea of having that forced into the public square….

  51. How women are going to view Baptist churches in the future if the SBC trend continues towards Neo-Calvinism might very well be from the rear-view-mirror.

  52. @ Janey:
    @ Jeannette Altes:
    The parents are Gothardites, right? Do you know whether any of the offspring remain at home? If so, it must be extra awful. It is so difficult to emancipate. It takes a long time.

    When I was an undergrad, I came home summers to work. Those summers were absolutely the bottom because my father was losing control. A normal college kid would’ve gone to a friend’s house, but I was still too mentally imprisoned by the abusive system and the secrets. I married the day after graduation; I did what I could soonest.

    These siblings have supportive people around them, so that likely makes a difference. I was oldest child by five years, and a lonely soldier–the three church people I told didn’t believe me, and one was my best friend.

    So I worry about them and pray. I am sorry for the fall-out on businesses related to the father’s business—that must be rough in this economy. Corruption destroys in concentric rings from the center but it is concentrated around the kids and mother. Therefore, my main concern is that the kids have enough to eat and places to stay.

    I don’t care about the aunt who complained (SGMSurv) that she tried once, a long time ago, and that her own children’s lives are being wrecked—it is suspiciously narcissistic. By the way, finding reasons to be alienated from extended family is typical for this sort of abusive parent. My dad did that too; we had no relatives around.

    The big problem is Brent’s silence, of course. I tried to put best construction on it. Many who know more than I are very suspicious of him. That being the case, I probably shouldn’t have brought it up.

    Yeah, it’s a risk, Janey, but the whole thing is, top to bottom. All because of one horrible man and a congenial system he found to do his shtick. Bah

  53. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    I either fall apart or one of the old defense/survival mechanism I developed in childhood kicks in – for me, dissociation.

    I imagine they are all floating in dissociative hazes, poor dears. But it’s a useful defense.

    How does dissociation work for you? For me, everything goes off into the distance and I am faintly dizzy. It’s a bit echoey and my body goes numb. I have to make huge effort to force meaning into people’s words because they are just a bunch of sounds. It’s weird! It’s a bad idea to drive when in severe episodes—I can’t judge distance very well and my reflexes are slow.

    Since I’ve come out the other side, I hate when severe episodes appear – it really feels rather awful. It’s only virtue was that it felt better than the raw pain of the traumatic state.

    I still have low-grade dissociation, kind of a constant state. I can deliberately relax my way out but fall back in when not attending to it.

    How is it for you? (Don’t tell me if you’d rather not.)

  54. @ Patrice:
    Patrice, I don’t mind answering, but it will have to wait till after work because I want to have the time to give it the thought it (and you) deserve. 🙂

    Be back in 9 hours or so…..

  55. @ Janey:

    The only good a lawsuit would do is silence Olivia and Brent. I doubt either has money for any kind for a defense, much less a monetary ruling.

  56. Well one thing I’m thankful for is that my pastor is not 5 pointer and is pro 1963 BF&M insted of the 2000 version….. he was/is very concerned on the 2000 BF&M positions on women in church leadership. He is very Pro on women being involved in all aspects of the church including leadership positions and deacons.
    Don’t know that South Knoxville Baptist Church would “set well” with the current crop of robots out of the seminiaries these days.

    He has been doing a Wednesday evening series on the Calvinism issues currently making the rounds in SBC churches – I for one am glad to be a part of a church like this and thankful that we decided to put our lives there in ministry – me in music (now organist at South Knoxville) and my wife and her daughters getting the childrens ministry going again and helping our youth leaders get that ministry going again. One of the pluses for us is that women are not treated 2nd class and supressed as is the case in some of these reformed (calvinist) churches.

    Ladies – I think you would be pleased to know that there is still a baptist church or two here in Knoxville that still values women in church leadership and ministry and it’s been a big encouragment to my wife as well and we’ve seen all of our children and grandchildren began to come to church at one time or another in the last year or so that we’ve been at South Knoxville Baptist and for two of the three that’s quite an acomplishment given their avoidance of church in recent years and I think this renewal that’s taking place with them is, in part (especially for the girls), due to the fact that the church isn’t fundamentalist/legalistic and is very open to women having an active role in the church at just about all levels.

    Thanks for keeping folks straight ladies….. and while I don’t get here as much as I used to I still take a look from time to time which helps me keep up a little with what’s going on.

  57. Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Albert Mohler, Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, Justin Taylor, and John Piper, have rallied around Rev. C.J. Mahaney for some time now, and proclaimed their continued support for him.  Yet the bible says don’t forsake your gathering together as a habit of some? How can anyone expect that to happen (gathering together) in such an intense environment of abuse and injustice? How many victims is enough to open these church leader’s eyes?  hmmm…. One can only wonder how many other church organizations have these type of problems? When the Apostle penned those bible words above, was he anticipating a safe environment to bring one’s loved-ones to? 

  58. While Wartburg Castle is deemed a “safe haven” due to its sheltering of Martin Luther, where he translated the Bible into German, it has a sinister side as well. It was the place, not long after Luther resided there for 10 months, where Fritz Erbe, an Anabaptist, was imprisoned until his death for refusing to renounce his beliefs.

    Does that same dichotomy, safety versus intolerance, live on in this blog?

  59. Mark wrote:

    Does that same dichotomy, safety versus intolerance, live on in this blog?

    I think it does with the two of us. That is why we allow everyone from all sorts of beliefs comments. Am I wrong?

  60. @ Mark: Also, I have problems with Luther. He sided with the princes over the peasants and he had problems with Jews to name a few of my concerns.

  61. @ Mark:

    I’m assuming you are the same Mark who carried on the discussion about Catholicism upthread.

    1. It’s ironic that you should bring up Anabaptists as there seem to be a lot of people in these comments who like Anabaptists and dislike Luther. Which is fine.
    2. What GBTC wrote was a request to end a discussion that was clearly not making headway. You and Daisy were speaking different languages, as it were, and it was starting to transform a thread about the SBC convention into a thread about Catholicism vs. Protestantism. I guarantee you it was not intended as a “shut down the Catholic” notice. The idea that it was “intolerance” is pretty funny after 400+ comments in this thread without any dustups or even yelling. This was actually a pretty irenic thread IMO.

  62. The Eye, The Ear, The Mouth? See, Hear, Speak? Blind, Deaf, Dumb? What Evil?

    THE Gospel and the SBC? 

    The fact that Jesus died for our sin, was buried, and then rose from the grave is foundational for the Southern Baptists of the SBC. 

    OK!

    The Southern Baptist Convention Organization  believes that Jesus lives today and stands ready to give abundant and eternal life to all those who repent of sin and place their faith in Him. 

    Sure!

    The Southern Baptist Convention Organization invite everyone to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  

    Wonderful!

    The Southern Baptist Convention Organization  also encourage a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

    Super!

    hmmm….

    Q: Does the Southern Baptist Convention Organization strongly discourage pedophilia among it’s leadership , ranks and it’s members?

    Q: Does the Southern Baptist Convention Organization strongly encourage its member churches to report such child sexual abuse discovered or identified as to exist within its walls, to promptly report this criminal behavior to the civil authorities?

    Q: Does the Southern Baptist Convention Organization strongly encourage its member churches to have churches where it’s members can perform the biblical admonishment: do not forsake your gathering 
    together as a habit of some…. in a safe and abuse free environment? Does its bylaws provide for this type of safety in its group of houses of worship?

  63. @ Patrice:

    Okay. Settled in to Starbucks and done with work till Monday. 🙂

    When I experience dissociation, it can vary…in severe stress cases where I have to talk in front of a group about this stuff, for instance, I get that distant, echoey sensation, like it am outside myself, watching someone else speak. It always leaves me a little shaky – drained. Its not as bad as it was back before I had faced things, as it were, and had years of therapy. But still…

    In less severe cases, like when I have to face something unpleasant at work or with family, I just shut down emotionally to get through it, then break down later, when I’m alone. I find that is a sort of default state I have to fight against, as well.

    There have been a couple of times when faced with imminent physicsl danger to a friend, I have actually blacked out and – in one instance – disarmed a knive-weilding addict…that was 19 years ago and I still don’t know what I did or what happened to the knife. Just anger, moving toward him, then standing over him with the knife gone and him cussing me out.

    That is one of the more difficult things for me to process….the anger. My anger scares me. Ha.

  64. Randall Maynard (The Guy from Knoxville) wrote:

    Ladies – I think you would be pleased to know that there is still a baptist church or two here in Knoxville that still values women in church leadership and ministry and it’s been a big encouragment to my wife as well and we’ve seen all of our children and grandchildren began to come to church at one time or another in the last year or so that we’ve been at South Knoxville Baptist and for two of the three that’s quite an acomplishment given their avoidance of church in recent years and I think this renewal that’s taking place with them is, in part (especially for the girls), due to the fact that the church isn’t fundamentalist/legalistic and is very open to women having an active role in the church at just about all levels.
    Thanks for keeping folks straight ladies….. and while I don’t get here as much as I used to I still take a look from time to time which helps me keep up a little with what’s going on.

    It’s great to hear from you, and I am encouraged by your comment. I believe if more Southern Baptist pastors functioned like yours, the SBC would be growing instead of declining.

  65. @ Jeannette Altes:
    Thanks, Jeannette.

    So quite a bit the same. Probably bio-chemical reactions that make it so. Like you, during some times of stress, I get numb and can put my reaction off til later – but not dependably. Sometimes I simply freeze and then find myself in that distant echoey place. I think the worst of all, for me, is that I am no longer dependable. I can’t say how I will be. I’ve learned to roll with the punches, but I don’t like it at all.

    I’ve never had black-outs during which I did stuff. I’ve only had the kind where I am sitting there and simply fade away and then come back a while later finding people touching me and calling my name. But not anymore–that was when it was worst.

    Re anger, it feels like a monster that will take over and destroy everything and then turn on you, right? Horror movie style? But if, during your worst and in a dissociative trance, you did not destroy a knife-wielding addict before you came back to yourself, you will be ok. Really. It shows immense moral strength, even if instinctive and unconscious. I’d rely on it with some confidence.

    I spent over a year in a constant rage – it just wouldn’t stop! I’d have raging dreams, wake in a pique and drag myself through the day with constant irritability interspersed with plain fury. Good thing I was living alone! Oy! But it waned, and now arrives more normally, with only occasional bursts. I hope that your anger will eventually subside to the size of those monsters in “Where the Wild Things Are”, big and noisy and with your best interests at heart.

    The remaining issue for me, besides my undependability, is the consistent low-grade distance from the world, always, unless I carefully focus. I’ve learned to work with it but it makes me sad.

    Is working ok?

    Thanks again, dear lady.

  66. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    It always leaves me a little shaky – drained.

    Yes, and also after flashbacks. I call it flu-syndrome because it is how I feel at the back end of a nasty flu. Usually good to treat one’s self with the same amount of care, too, if one can.

  67. Hester wrote:

    and it was starting to transform a thread about the SBC convention into a thread about Catholicism vs. Protestantism

    Worse than turning it into yet another SGM support thread? (no offense intended to the SGM victims)
    Seriously not offended, just hardly think that I was dialoging just with Daisy.
    Way too much estrogen around here anyway.
    😉

  68. Patrice wrote:

    I can’t say how I will be. I’ve learned to roll with the punches, but I don’t like it at all.

    Yes. I always tend to get angry at myself for the reactions…which I know is not healthy, but when you are trained that whatever happens, you’re the problem, well…that seems to die slowly.

    I’ve never had black-outs during which I did stuff. I’ve only had the kind where I am sitting there and simply fade away and then come back a while later finding people touching me and calling my name. But not anymore–that was when it was worst.

    I have faded away at times…or more accurately for me, retreated inward to the point of near catatonia, except that my mind was present and screaming, my body just checked out. Haven’t had that happen for a very long time, thank God.

    Re anger, it feels like a monster that will take over and destroy everything and then turn on you, right? Horror movie style? But if, during your worst and in a dissociative trance, you did not destroy a knife-wielding addict before you came back to yourself, you will be ok. Really. It shows immense moral strength, even if instinctive and unconscious. I’d rely on it with some confidence.

    Thank you for this. It helps more than I can say. Another piece in the ‘finding peace’ puzzle. I have so very rarely allowed myself to feel anger taht when I do, it feels foreign and over the top. I fear losing control. But as you say, if I didn’t lose control when I was disarming someone….I probably won’t. I keep thinking I need to get a baseball bat, go out in the desert and beat the crap out of some dead trees…..release some of the stored rage.

    The remaining issue for me, besides my undependability, is the consistent low-grade distance from the world, always, unless I carefully focus. I’ve learned to work with it but it makes me sad.

    I understand. I fight that, too. It feels like there is an invisible barrier between me and the rest of the world that no one else can see (i can’t see it, eather, just feel it). I find it very difficult to connect with people on an emotional level. I have a very dear friend who saw through all the layers and has walked with me through these last years of therapy and looking inward. SHe is teaching me so much about what it mean to love and be loved.

    As to working, it is okay. I have not worked for much of my life, but it is a necessity for my independence from familial bonds. I have a job that is not my dream job, but I am good at it, and it provides me with enough income to be independent – to live in my own place – my own space, which is very valuable to me. And the people I work with are mostly pleasant and easy to work with. But what is outside of work they know little of….that whole ‘connecting’ thing. 😉

    Patrice, thank you so much for these dialogues. They help. Be well as our Creator teaches us how much He/She loves us.

  69. @ Patrice:
    Another thougth re working….the steps I took 5 years ago to break away from family and get a job and my own place was one of the most difficult, scary things I’ve ever done, in no small part because I was doing it at the very beginning of the therapy / healing journey and having PTSD episodes regularly. I have been told by my friend and my therapist that if I can can survive what I did as a child and still go to college – and (much later) break free of family and become independent while processing the depths of abuse, then there isn’t much I can’t get through. I understand what they’re saying, but often, the truth of it as applied to me doesn’t seem to compute…..

  70. @ Jeannette Altes:
    Ah. I don’t completely agree with them.

    Yes, you are a tremendously strong person to get through family plus church crap plus college. Just maintaining sanity would have earned you that label. This is obvious and impressive.

    But let’s take soldiers. They are sent to war theatre for proscribed lengths of time, and they do limited tours. This is because of the breakdown factor. One of the reasons our soldiers are coming back with such high PTSD rates is that the military has been breaking it’s own rules on this. And then, once a soldier breaks down, he must leave the war theatre and not go back. He just can’t do war no more (not that he ever should have yah). Our military has also sometimes been ignoring this, much to everyone’s detriment, including the civilians unfortunately living in the war theatre.

    People can hold out for a long time but when it becomes too much, they will break down. And then they are broken and can never again “do too much”. And for broken people, “too much” can be “quiet working life” all the way down to “activities of daily upkeep”, depending on the depth/extent of the break down. Our inability to recognize this regarding our veterans is why there’s so much suicide, abuse and homelessness among them.

    Something also to keep in mind: constant stress is awfully hard on the body. Years of adrenalin run it down, strip its gears. Dissociative episodes and flashbacks are revisits, which is why a person feels drained afterwards. Joseph Boscarino (he can be googled) has done studies on PTSD veterans and found that, 20-30 years after the war, they develop autoimmune disease at alarming rates. Sure enough, I, and others I know who’ve been warriors of domestic wars, have developed chronic illnesses. So be good to your body!

  71. @ Jeannette Altes:
    (First part of this comment is in mod, likely from military words. So this is meant to be read second 🙂 )

    Breaking free and going your way as a solitary person is a HUGE accomplishment. I remember that period with backwards dread. And it kept the adrenalin flooding for a good while longer.

    Now you are on the backside of your therapy (the rawest worst is over). But because your adrenalin gears have been thoroughly stripped and the switch is broken (good medical terminology lol), even regular stresses make it instantly kick into full throttle (until the gland gives up, at any rate). This is part of the damage.

    So I disagree with your friend and therapist. You are now fragile. Your job is to figure out the extent of it. We became used to working far too hard; it is the only thing we know how to do. Therefore, part of recognizing the character/extent of your fragility is to slowly step down expectations/actions until you actually feel good sometimes. Life is meant to be generally satisfactory. We are meant to be occasionally downright jolly. Dollops of peace are obtainable even for such as us.

    Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

    The joy of the Lord is not an order, something to manufacture and offer him out of obedience. It is something that grows unbidden in the heart, in a heart whose soil has again become fertile. Joy is the strength of a broken woman.

    You go, girl.

  72. @ Jeannette Altes:
    One last bit. The way to a fertile heart is love. We have not been loved and we got through the trauma by not admitting we were a self, and when we did occasionally recognize it, we punished and despised it as did the others. So we never loved ourselves.

    There is a meme in Christianity that says we are to deny self, that our hearts are desperately wicked and thus disgusting, that we should look at others as more important, lay down our lives, etc. But actually, we are called to love others as we love ourselves. Love floods the whole plain. The key to developing a fertile heart is giving it proper honor, due respect, and by endowing it with mercy and generosity.

  73. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    I have so very rarely allowed myself to feel anger taht when I do, it feels foreign and over the top.

    For a period in my life, I kept a 4 x 4 fence post in my basement along with a pail of old nails and a hammer. I’d go down and wack those nails bangbangbang. Very helpful! It eventually became all sides nails sticking up/out, pounded, bent crooked. Then I set it in my backyard among the flowers. W00t

  74. @ Patrice:
    Hmmm….I have been thinking about what you have wriiten all morning. It is resonating deeply. I realize that what I typed about my friend and therpist was my spin on what they said, not what they actually said. I grew up with the mentality that I had to be a tough little soldier. I was the oldest by 7 years, so I understand the lonely soldier imagery.

    I have a difficult time with the ‘loving myself’ part. I know it is where I need to go, but there is still a lot of pain there. Sigh.

    I have been terribly unkind to my body – no mercy or care, though that is shifting. I have spent the bulk of my life hating the little girl I was – and by extension, who then became. And I have hated my body. I know it is classic and I do hate being ‘normal’ (ha!), but I felt like it betrayed me band I hated it. (BTW, for those unfamiliar, I mean normal as in that is a normal reaction to child sexual abuse.)

    Thank you again for the dialogue. It helps clarify things when you have to articulate them…and it helps to hear, ‘yeah, me too.’ I like the ‘nailed post’. 🙂

  75. Jeff S wrote:

    @ Evie:
    And just to be really clear, and I haven’t been in this point, I do appreciate your zeal to punish the wicked. Paul and Peter were not afraid to name names, and we should not be either.

    I believe these folks are wicked and have behaved wickedly. There are too many allegations for me to believe otherwise.

    Jeff, I appreciate this, thanks. I’m sure you understand that any conviction regarding what is considered sin or wickedness has to be based in God’s moral law in order for it to carry any authority. Rather than base my judgments on personal pet peeves or arbitrary taboos, I try to stick to assigning sin to those things that can be defined as scriptural violations. Sin has both an individual and a communal impact, and it’s within this arena that I’ve attempted to address the areas of sin within SGM as I’ve witnessed and experienced them. While I was in SGM, a member was allowed to address sin in their own life. Any attempt I ever made to address sin as it affected me by anyone else went nowhere. And I mean nowhere. As an individual in SGM, you are not recognized as having any spiritual authority and the leadership of the church is not there to help guide you in working out issues of sin with others, they only point you to your own. However, the leadership of SGM functions just the opposite. They assume the spiritual authority to define sin for you and they never allow themselves to be the subjects of sin. You are always the subject of sin. Even when you confront them with sin, you are in sin. They give themselves exclusive rights to judge, and that is why they routinely instructed members to go to them about everything. They were the proving ground. You weren’t allowed the right, within SGM, to judge sin. If you dared do so, that was swiftly labeled “pride.” It was always an act of arrogance for a member to question the righteousness of the leaders.

    Within this culture of submission and abuse, your righteousness was defined as being akin to your conformity to the community. You were expected to be a “joy” to pastor, which meant always going along with everything and not asking questions. But since the leaders themselves were not submitted to the laws that govern community within His Kingdom and instead were committed to some socialist ideal to create a corporate effect, they operated essentially as busy-bodies judging people on the basis of their collective taboos: gender roles, no-dating, female modesty, your position within the hierarchy, income, behavior of children, how you were educating your children, marital status or condition of your marriage, etc. You were essentially stripped of any authority that was inherent with your salvation (which is based on an individual & personal choice) and had it presumed upon by me guilt manipulators who assumed God’s authority to redefine and remodel your salvation in the name of “the Savior.” And as much as they talked about “sin” as a tool of manipulation, true sin was actually trivialize by throwing it all together in one vague lump that everyone was guilty of. Check out CJ Mahaney’s Twitter page and notice the one quote he uses to characterize and define himself publicly. He’s not responsible. It’s his heart that’s prone to wander – and we’re all guilty of that – so he would have you believe. Like he’s just one of us. His sin is no worse and all sin is the same so let’s give the man a break and in the process, don’t forget to focus on your own heart that’s prone to wander as well. The old SGM doublebind.

    So couple things as regards this thread and the issues that have impacted our interaction.

    First, I view the opinions expressed by some regarding not naming the Olivias family to fall into the category of an arbitrary taboo rather than falling under the realm of dealing with sin according to God’s moral law. My impression is that some of the ardent supporters of this viewpoint strike me as being troublemakers and busy-bodies more than being committed to rooting out sin in keeping with our duties as citizens of the Kingdom. I hope that doesn’t sound too high falluting. But I do take the issue of wickedness and sin within SGM seriously. And when I say “within” I mean exactly that. There’s sin that is specific to SGM that has been internalized. Because of its presence I identify it as a cult because of the way sin has been internalized and how it’s permeated the entire organization. It is my observation that those who have truly escaped SGM have recognized the sin and have come out from it, denouncing it in its entirety (often by degrees as each “scale” falls off). But those who remain (and I’ll use “it’s just the beginning” (or something like that) as an example) for the way in which they have responded to the content of Brents post. Rather than being governed by the rule of God’s moral law, they seem more governed by the Hanafi school of Law in Islam (as do Mahaney, Mohler, Dever & Duncan for that matter) which prescribes that one must receive a positive legal injunction that something is right before one can act. There seemed to be a lot of discussion regarding the ethics surrounding Detwiler’s revelations but very little regarding the moral law. Was it ethical for people to know more about Olivias story involving her family, and was it ethical for her siblings to be implicated? I saw a majority of people decry it on the basis of what they considered a breach in ethics. But what about the moral law of sin and working to expose it? SGM would certainly agree that the family and all siblings should have been protected from exposure. They would have also not gone to the police and made themselves subject to the laws of the God-given governing authorities. They would have avoided any legal injunctions whatsoever from trumping their own injunctions that they applied to the handling of crime although they never hesitated to consult their own lawyers in order to protect themselves, and then if the law became a useful advocate for their own defense (such as in calling in the AoR to “decide” Mahaney’s fitness for ministry, or their legal defense in the lawsuit) they stand on the principle that unless convicted in a court of law, they are innocent of all wrong doing.

    Jesus came to set us free from mere externals and what the community sees and wants. Isn’t that what Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for? We’re not to abide by taboos or the arbitrary rules of leaders like those who created the monstrosity of SGM. When it comes to sin and wickedness we’re to be exposing it in an effort to root it out.(part of comment removed by editor)But God doesn’t call us to follow a family, a clan, or a country and as you say, if Peter and Paul weren’t afraid to name names, then nor should we.

  76. @ Evie: OK, one last thing (I had said I was dropping the subject, but): Evie, the outing of O. – if done without her express consent and permission – violates confidentiality.

    It’s illegal to violate confidentiality – in this situation (when a plaintiff has chosen to use a pseudonym), in doctor-patient and therapist-patient relationships and (lat but not least!) priests and the person in the confessional. it’s a HUGE breach of trust.

    Try and put yourself in the shoes of someone whose privacy has been violated in such a major way. And then tell me if you think those who are concerned about privacy and confidentiality are “busybodies” and worse.

    it is a HUGE ethical problem, in the law, in medicine, in therapy – and even in journalism. You know how journalists protect their sources? (Like Woodward and Lothrop and “Deep Throat,” the person/persons who gave them so much of the material for their Watergate scoop?)

  77. @ Evie: Also: the names will come out in due course, as the suit and criminal investigations progress.

    Sometimes we have to sit on our hands and let these processes work themselves out.

    Believe me, I’ve had to deal with some things that required that kind of hands-off approach, and while it was VERY hard for me to sit back and wait, it was all that I could do. Eventually, the process ended, and things were resolved. And even though i was dealing with government agencies, this is true of the law and legal processes as well. (You know – the whole appeals thing, appellate courts – and how cases end up being heard by the Supreme Court.)

    In other words: Rome wasn’t built in a day – and it wasn’t torn down in a day, either.

  78. Evie wrote:

    First, I view the opinions expressed by some regarding not naming the Olivias family to fall into the category of an arbitrary taboo rather than falling under the realm of dealing with sin according to God’s moral law. My impression is that some of the ardent supporters of this viewpoint strike me as being troublemakers and busy-bodies more than being committed to rooting out sin in keeping with our duties as citizens of the Kingdom.

    This is the root of our difference, I guess. You are assuming a lot about our motives. I do not know the motives of anyone else on this thread. I can guess, but I’ll stick to my own motives. My motive was, simply, concern for the welfare of the victims. Believe me, I want there to be justice and the men (and women) who are eyeball deep in this hypocracy and evil to be exposed.

    Here’s the thing. You call my desire to try to protect the victims in the process an ‘arbitrary taboo’ and dismiss it as of no importance and then claim your motive to be higher than mine and to be based on ‘moral imperative.’ Can you not see that there is also a ‘moral imperative’ to protact and defend the victims?

    This sounds like you are elevating your morals amd motives above those who disagree with you. I would submit, based only on your posts, that you do not understand the phychological dynamic that victims of child sexual abuse endure. As has been suggested by others, it feels like your zeal (not always a bad thing!) does not take into account that the law of sin exposing you have created might trample the victims underfoot. And your words (the internet is so difficult because tone and body language are absent) seem to suggest that you really think that is okay. Again, as a survivor, ‘ouch!’

  79. @ Evie:
    I understand all of what you are saying about the way sin was treated by SGM. I hear this all the time at ACFJ- where a wife is told to focus on her own sin and her own part in the abuse rather than her husband who is beating her. This attitude is horrible and the “What about YOUR sin” garbage needs to stop. It can make a victim feel like he or she must accept the effects of another persons sin unless he or she is perfect (I know, I’ve been there).

    But as far as exposing victims, I don’t care AT ALL what SGM would prefer, but I do VERY MUCH care about the victims. I hope you are not implying (I’m a bit confused by some of what you said) that revealing identities of rape victims against their will is an “arbitrary taboo”.

    It is damaging with long reaching consequences to the victim AND future cases where people might be afraid to come forward for fear of being re-victimized.

  80. Further – there is a moral imperative to protect the privacy of those plaintiffs who have chosen to use pseudonyms.

    I guess I don’t understand how this would in any way consist of a breach in “the moral law,” let alone be some kind of “arbitrary taboo.”

    These laws are in place for a reason – to protect the victims.

    I kind of hate the word “vengeance” with a passion, but I can’t help thinking of the passage that says “vengeance is Mine.” I think the author of Hebrews was very wise to cite it – and that it applies very directly to this lawsuit, to the criminal investigations, etc.

    Outside “help” – outing of plaintiffs without their express permission and consent – is no help at all. rather the contrary, as many have already pointed out. The possible ramifications (people who want to come forward getting scared off, etc. etc.) are pretty horrifying, imo.

    Nobody would want to be “taught” to swim by being thrown in the deep end of the pool – lest the person is is thrown in ends up drowning.

    Same here.

    [/done with this]

  81. @ Evie:
    Do you acknowledge that it is potentially damaging to the victims to have their identities revealed against their will?

    How much damage would Brent have to do to the victims to make it not worth it?

  82. @ Jeff S:
    In this case, the abuse was molestation in as far as has been revealed. The only penetration that occurred involved a foot. I really want to avoid rehashing the details. The only reason I’m saying this is to provide accuracy.

    Just to be clear, when you’re referring to the naming of a victim, you are referring only to Olivia, right? Her last name is included in Brents blog posting, but no other names were named.

  83. Jeff S wrote:

    @ Evie:
    Do you acknowledge that it is potentially damaging to the victims to have their identities revealed against their will?

    How much damage would Brent have to do to the victims to make it not worth it?

  84. @ Jeannette Altes:
    You are very welcome. I’m a fellow traveler who’s only a couple miles ahead, but not in all ways. As you say, it’s helpful to articulate to someone who knows.

    A benediction: If I, knowing very little about you, wish you well and happy, imagine how God feels, who had you in His/Her mind before your life began. So be patient in your intellectual knowledge and act on it with ceremonial kindness. More will come. I am sure of it.

    I hope your weekend has a spark or two of lip-smacking satisfaction 🙂

  85. @ Evie:
    Jeff wrote: “I hope you are not implying…that revealing identities of rape victims against their will is an “arbitrary taboo”.”

    To which Evie replied:
    “In this case, the abuse was molestation in as far as has been revealed. The only penetration that occurred involved a foot. I really want to avoid rehashing the details. The only reason I’m saying this is to provide accuracy.”

    Ok, Evie, now you’ve exposed yourself and it ain’t pretty.

    Moral laws are for humans. They are not ends in themselves. The only reason for them is to help us live more healthily. The reason for the civil suit, and the criminal suits coming up, is to help the humans involved be able to live more healthily. This is not for revenge. It’s not to clear impurities from the church. It’s not to obey the high morals of the universe. Morals are always and ever tied to human life. That is where they have meaning.

    This is what Jesus meant when he said to the Pharisees, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

    But throughout this thread and culminating in the above comment, you are on a high horse, shouting cleansing at the expense of humans. This is cold legalism, the same type held by the Pharisees, the same type that tried to make a 3-yr old forgive her abuser. The same type that parses rape to molestation and a foot.

    Well, you’ve contracted foot-in-mouth disease.

  86. Also… I’m not sure that there’s any point in my going over (and over and over) my reasons for saying what I’ve said about this whole debacle.

    So I’m going to try and keep to what I said above, about being quiet now.

  87. @ Patrice:

    Patrice I was afraid someone would react like you did, assuming I was differentiating between rape and molestation so as to trivialize the one compared to the other. In the case of repeated, ongoing, longstanding child abuse, can we agree that regardless of what allegedly happened, it was still damaging. I didn’t think I would need to explain this, but I can see now I did. Did you miss the part where I said I was clarifying molestation vs rape for the sake of accuracy?

  88. @ Evie: Now I’m afraid that you’ve given your hand a way – “Is she coy and deceptive?” (etc.).

    It’s not yours to judge how or what or why. It’s not mine, either, and for that, I’m very glad.

    She says she was repeatedly abused and I believe her. And Jeff’s point about other siblings having been outed via what Brent posted all over the place is also true.

  89. @ Evie: I think you are really trying the patience of all of the posters who were themselves molested, Evie.

    And mine, too.

  90. @ numo:

    Here’s a map with an X and a GPS programmed with the directions to Witchville. You won’t find me there but happy hunting nonetheless. 😐

  91. @ Evie:

    You want to go yet another round but it is pointless. You are on a site that focuses on exposing abuse in the church and whose comment threads are bent towards those who are sorting out the results of church abuse in their lives.

    Do you want us to approve of your thinking? Well, we don’t. We have told you so over and over, yet you keep chasing your tail, and now your words have become offensive.

    I suggest you find a place of like-minded people. It’s not here.

  92. @ Patrice:
    I wanted to add that the arbitrary taboos I’m referring to mainly had to do in a general sense to the approach people took to arguing against Detwiler’s post based primarily on what they judge as an ethical violation. Ethical violations have their place, don’t get me wrong. But when you argue against evidence that supports the violation of God’s moral law on the basis of an ethical violation, I think you end up straining out the gnats in order to swallow the camel.

  93. @ Evie: Will you not see that in this case – what we’ve all been saying – “moral” and “ethical” are the same thing?

    I give up for real; it’s pointless for me to be chasing my own tail on this one.

    Evie, please understand that I am feeling extremely frustrated by the way you seem – to my way of thinking – to be bulldozing victims (alleged) in service of what you call “the moral law.”

    From my experience of this life (and of abusive churches, and of knowing people who have been sexually abused and/or assaulted, whether as kids or as adults), it just does not work that way.

    I can’t keep parsing what’s already been spelled out, because it’s like the writing on the wall in the book of Daniel, to me, at least.

  94. Am I asking you to continue? You are doing so by your own free will. If your conscience tells you to stop, then by all means do so. I don’t want to additionally be accused of tempting you.

    You continuous misjudgments should be the reason why you walk away. I could not do that to you in good conscience. However, since you continue to insult me Im going to desist from any further discussion with you.

  95. @ Evie:

    Hmm…I don’t think protecting victims is just an ‘ethical’ law. I believe it is a moral law that runs through the entire Bible.

    I will leave you with this: The Law was made for man, not man for the Law. When we start sacrificing people on the altar of the Law, we move from mercy and grace to tyrany and abuse.

  96. Comment removed by editor. Due to some uncomfortable discussions going on over at SGM Surivivors and here, I have decided that we should avoid discussion on Olivia at this time. Olivia has been through alot and we give her our empathy.

  97. Comment removed by editor. When I work to confirm the identity of Olivia, I came to believe that she was not aware that Brent was going to out her family. Therefore, I would like to avoid discussions along this line. 

  98. @ dee: Hey, if you feel that any of my comments in these recent exchanges should be removed, please feel free to do so.

    I got angry, and it shows.

  99. Comment removed by editor. This whole event has been very difficult on me. I want to honor Olivia by using her first name. However, due to a couple fo dicussions, I believe that Brent’s expose was not expected by Olivia and possibly others. Due to my concerns, I would ask that we not speculate on the motives behind Brent’s posts or Olivia’s comments.

  100. One thing no one seems to be mentioning is that a Court of Law deemed that certain names were to be concealed. It wasn’t just O’s preference. It was a mandate of the court. The question is did Brent ignore a court ruling by revealing names? Even O, herself, may have ignored a court ruling. I think it is totally possible that Brent could have written the same article and not revealed names; waiting for the courts to give an okay.

    The other thing that strikes me is that even though names were to be concealed from the public, that in no way means that a criminal investigation didn’t begin as soon as the allegations became known. In regards to child abuse, sexual or other, prosecution can occur with or without the victims permission, while concealing the victims name.

  101. Numo

    I don’t mind anger and frustration. This situation is prone to that and it is understandable. I am trying to to cut some specualtion about Brent and Olivia.

  102. @ dee: I did a fair amount of speculating (and venting) about BD here last Thurs., after things broke.

    Part of me just cringes at using anything but the name from the court documents – Grace Goe.

  103. Yesterday, the Out of Ur blog interviewed Kevin DeYoung, one of the 7 men who stand by C.J. Mahaney, the pastor who has been accused by 11 plaintiffs of allegedly covering up child sexual abuse in his church and ministry, and allegedly discouraging the children and their parents from contacting the authorities.

    http://www.outofur.com/archives/2013/06/for_todays_entr.html#comments

    As you know, Christianity Today, the organization that owns the Out Of Ur blog, has refused to run the story of the Sovereign Grace Ministries child sexual abuse and cover-up lawsuit on their main headline news site, even though the Huffington Post, Associated Baptist Press, and the Washington Post have told the story.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/24/c-j-mahaney-scandal-evangelical-leaders-defend-pastor-accused-of-abuse-cover-up_n_3334500.html

    Out of Ur deleted one of my comments on this topic 3 weeks ago. We’ll see if the comment left by Jazmin on this article is left up.

  104. Calvinistic Baptists have more in common with Lutherans than they think.

    When it comes to the conversion of an adult non-believer, Arminians, Calvinists and Lutherans are in full agreement: salvation occurs when the sinner believes. Baptism is not a mandatory requirement to be saved. We have theological differences on how belief occurs, but we all believe that the second a sinner believes he is saved. If he dies a second later, he will go to heaven. He is a Christian.

    Our significant denominational differences arise when we talk about the salvation of the infants and toddlers of Christian parents: how are these young children saved? What happens if, God forbid, one of them should die before reaching the age where they are capable of expressing a saving faith in Christ?

    The Arminian answer is this: God saves all infants and toddlers who die, even the infants and toddlers of non-believers. They have no hard proof from Scripture to support this belief, but they believe that King David’s comments about his dead infant gives them support for their position. Infants who die are “safe” in the arms of a loving God.

    Calvinists look at their children in this manner: Their children are either the Elect or they are not. Presbyterian Calvinists will baptize their infants to bring them into the “covenant” (whatever that is!) of the Church but do not believe that baptism has any salvific value. “If my child is of the Elect he will declare himself to be a believer when he is older.”

    A Calvinistic Baptist will not baptize his infant, but looks at Election in the same way as the Presbyterian Calvinist: My child is either of the Elect or he is not. There is nothing I can do but bring him up in the Faith and leave the rest to God.

    Lutherans believe that when God told us to baptize all nations, he meant to baptize ALL those who are of the Elect. Many Arminians and Calvinists assume that Lutherans believe that anyone we run through the baptismal font will get into heaven. Not true! Only the Elect will get into heaven. We baptize our infants in the HOPE that they are the Elect. Is it possible that some of the infants of Christian parents whom we baptize are not of the Elect and therefore will not be in heaven? Yes! But that is a mystery of God that we do not attempt to explain or understand.

    However, we believe we are to do our job of “baptizing all nations” (who are of the Elect) by baptizing our infants and we then leave their Election up to God. We then follow Christ’s command to “teach” them in the Faith as they grow up, but when they are older it will be their responsibility to nurture their faith with prayer, Bible study, worship, and the Lord’s Supper. If these infant-baptized persons abandon their faith and turn their back on God, they may very well wake up one day in hell! Baptism is NOT a “Get-into-heaven-free” card! Salvation is by God’s grace alone, received in faith alone.

    No faith—>no salvation—>no eternal life!

    The Calvinist position on the salvation of infants is very confusing to me. It seems to be a process. A specific event of salvation does not seem necessary for Calvinists. Is there any example in the NT of anyone being saved by a process? As much as I deplore Arminian theology, I do like the fact that they insist on a specific “when” of salvation. They are wrong, however, to believe that the “when” of salvation is based on THEIR decision when in reality it is based on GOD’S decision.

    If Calvinists agree with Lutherans that it is God who chooses who will be saved, and it is God who chooses when to save…which approach seems more Scriptural for the salvation of our children: God saves THOSE OF OUR CHILDREN WHO ARE OF THE ELECT in a one-time event in Holy Baptism OR he saves them in a nebulous, drawn-out process over a period of years? Unless, of course, Calvinistic Baptists believe that their children who are the Elect are born saved… I certainly hope that our Calvinistic Baptist brothers and sisters do not believe that the Elect are born saved as do some hard-core Calvinists.

    In truth, Lutherans and Calvinistic Baptists have quite a bit in common on the doctrine of Justification/Salvation: we both believe that God saves whom he wants, when he wants. We both do not believe in a “free will”. Our difference is that Calvinistic Baptists cannot accept that God would choose to give the free gift of faith/belief/repentance/salvation to infants, instead of waiting until they are older. And why?

    “Because an infant cannot believe!”

    But if we both agree that it is God who chooses us, not us choosing him, why do you limit when God can give the free gift of salvation? Is it possible that you are limiting God from saving infants just because it defies your human reason and logic to believe that an infant can believe?

    Since when is the Almighty God of the Universe limited to operating in the confines of human reason and logic??

    Gary
    http://www.LutherWasNotBornAgain.com

  105. gary wrote:

    They are wrong, however, to believe that the “when” of salvation is based on THEIR decision when in reality it is based on GOD’S decision

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I found it enlightening. There are many who are not Calvinist who would say that the “when” of salvation occurs when there is a confluence of personal belief and God’s direct intervention.

    One thing I would like to suggest to Calvinists who would like to have an impact on the lives of we nonCalvinists is this. I know you believe that we are *wrong.” I also know that you believe that you are “right.” I also fully recognize that you could give me a well thought out presentation, complete with Bible verses, commentaries, etc. I know this because I have read them and did so for years, trying to force myself to believe as you do.

    I cannot and it is not for a lack of trying. I do not think it is due to an arrogance in my soul. I love the Lord and seek to follow Him, not out of compulsion but out of a sincere love for Him. I am overwhelmed by His grace which He has shown to me and others.

    When we seek to dialogue, it is sometimes semantics that block our two way communication. Trust me, I know. 5 years of blogging has made me well aware of my own inadequacies in this area.

    All this to say-could you give a shot at substituting *I disagree with them* for *They are wrong?* Trust me when I say that most of us know you think we are wrong just as Justin Lee taught me that most homosexuals know that we think they are sinners before we say a word. It is unnecessary to begin our conversations in such a manner.

    The older I get, the more I believe that we must first seek to show love in a way that opens doors and promotes dialogue instead of bringing things to a screeching halt by our style.