My, My Dubai: 9 Marks Played Hardball While Lifeway/ David Platt Stretched the Truth

All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost.  JRR Tolkien 

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=21433&picture=bampw-sign-exit

Exit

We will post more on Elevation/Furtick as we get information. There is more to come…

Todd Wilhelm finally says "Bye, Bye, (UCC) Dubai!"

On March 11, 2013, TWW published Exit Strategies by CJ Mahaney and Heroic Protesters at a 9 Marks Church Overseas. Here is a quick synopsis of Todd Wilhelm's story. He was a member of an SGM church in the United States. Due to his business, he was sent to Dubai, which is a city within the United Arab Emirates. There, he joined a 9 Marks church, UCCD. If you haven't yet discovered Todd's comments, you may not be aware of his deep knowledge of Scripture and church history. He is also very humorous and self-deprecating. He once told us that his choice of churches, first  SGM, and then 9 Marks, demonstrates a decided lack of discernment. 🙂

Todd was being considered for the position of deacon at UCCD. Part of his job would be to oversee the bookstore. Over the years, due to his former involvement and continued interest, Todd had become deeply concerned about SGM and its former leader, CJ Mahaney. Todd takes a strong stand on child sex abuse and was dismayed by the stories that he had read on SGM Survivors. You can read about his concerns on the post. He informed UCCD that he could not oversee the UCCD bookstore because it sold a number of books by CJ Mahaney. This statement led to great discomfort since Mark Dever, the head of 9 Marks, and pastor of Capital HIll Baptist Church, is a BFF and ardent supporter of Mahaney link. Tood said:

Unfortunately I don’t think most Christians in Dubai are aware of the Mahaney scandal, much less Piper and Dever’s support of Mahaney.  If they were I believe these good people would be questioning the wisdom of inviting Piper and Dever to speak at their church.  

I resigned my membership on March 6th from the United Christian Church of Dubai because my church leadership refused to quit promoting Mahaney’s books.  To date they have refused to act on my letter, so I am technically still a member.  John Folmar, the Senior Pastor of UCCD, is a gifted speaker and good friend of Mark Dever’s, having formerly served on staff with him at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. It appears he has no concerns over Piper and Dever’s public support of C.J. Mahaney as he has arranged for them to speak at his church in Dubai.  Piper and Dever will be returning the favor by having John Folmar speak at their conferences.

Todd made the difficult decision to leave UCCD. The church refused to remove him from their membership. You see, according to the legal contract (oops-membership covenant), members can't leave until they become members of another church.

Folks: let this serve as a warning to you! Beware of these contracts in the hands of authoritarian churches. This very incident proves the authoritarian nature of 9 Marks churches and leadership. Can you imagine any pastor who would not let a man, who deeply disagrees with the ethics or trajectory of a church, leave? Such hubris is dangerous.

Although Todd could have become a member of another church, he stood firm on the principle of the matter. After 6 months of writing letters, being defriended, having his emails ignored and seeing his name, week after week, appear on the membership rolls, Todd finally prevailed. You can read Movin On at his awesome blog, Thou Art the Man

I have been told by friends who attended the membership meeting last night at the United Christian Church of Dubai that we have finally been removed from their membership roster. All  good things come to those who wait.  We have waited for 6.5 months!

That chapter in my life is now closed.  Perhaps I will write about it in detail at some point, but for the present I am happy to move on. I now have some strong opinions on what a local church should not look like, I am still formulating what it should look like. I have some thoughts on this and am trusting God to lead me to other like-minded believers. 

Update 10/30 8:30PM: Todd left the following comment under this post.

 as of September 20th I was removed from membership of UCCD. An interesting fact is that to date I have not heard from anyone in church leadership that I have been removed. Probably just an oversight!

(Dee:I am disgusted at the game playing that goes on in some of today's churches. Shame on  you, 9 Marks, for putting Todd through this nonsense! Act like the "gospel correct" men that you claim to be. Imagine, this started over books by CJ Mahaney! He's that important to you?? You can't even tell Todd that he has been removed from membership. Good night! No wonder people are running from churches!)

Don't Lie About Dubai

Todd, who actually lives in Dubai, reported on what appears to be a deceptive LifeWay advertising campaign which involved David Platt in a post here. He has given us permission to repost it here. 

What is Dubai really like?

What comes to your mind when you think of being a Christian in the Middle East?

1 church me2church me3church me4church me

1. Open debates and dialogues are common in Dubai. Christian leaders are welcome to debate Muslim Imams. The Middle East is not monolithic in this regard.

I suppose all this and worse come to your mind when you think of the perils of being an unabashed follower of Christ in the Middle East.  I don’t wish to discount this as in many countries in this region Christians do face persecution for their beliefs, sometimes even losing their lives.  

But I would like you to know that I live in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Christians have nothing to fear in this moderate Muslim nation.  The UAE is socially progressive and is a fine example of what an open society in the Middle East can and should look like.  The leaders of this country have donated land for Christians to build churches on. They welcome open dialogue between people of different faiths.  They have approved public debates between Christian Pastors and Muslim Imams. Thabiti Anyabwile, the author of the book below, has been the Christian representative in four such debates in Dubai. Here is a link to the latest dialogue/debate.

1 mus

2. Arab leaders donate land on which to build Christian churches

On the  United Christian Church of Dubai’s (UCCD-9 Marks) website link  you will find a Message from the Senior Pastor, John Folmar  (Remember: this is a 9 Marks church)

 Fourteen years ago, after we had prayed and petitioned, the Rulers of Dubai generously granted us the land in Jebel Ali where we now meet. Four years later, the building was completed, and now 11 churches regularly meet here in the Dubai Evangelical Church Center. Imagine all the ministry that has occurred here at DECC since 2003—countless people have been saved, strengthened, and encouraged. Lifelong friendships have begun here, even some marriages have resulted!

 Now we have another opportunity to build an evangelical church center—this time in Ras Al Khaimah. The Ruler of RAK, His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, recently granted UCCD land for an evangelical church building in the Al Hamra district of his emirate. The elders see this as a priceless opportunity to plant a Gospel church in an outlying emirate virtually unreached with the good news of Jesus Christ. This is our chance to make history in RAK—inroads for the gospel into a new frontier.” 

3. One cannot do street evangelism in Dubai but talking about the faith, with Muslim friends, is easy, maybe easier than in the United States.

To be honest I should mention that proselytizing in the UAE is against the law.  You would not be able to stand on a street corner in Dubai and preach the gospel.  That said, I have found it much easier to engage my Muslim friends in conversations regarding religion than I ever did with my friends in the USA.  The Muslims I have encountered are eager to talk about spiritual matters.  We talk as friends and there is absolutely no concern of repercussions.

Here  is the church compound in Jebel Ali, a southern suburb of Dubai.  There are numerous churches meeting here on land donated to Christians by the Rulers of Dubai.  

2009-7-31 Church row

Here is the Bible Society Book Store, located inside the UCCD  (9 Marks) building in Dubai

2009-7-31 Bible Society bookstore

4. Did David Platt and LifeWay knowingly misrepresent the culture in Dubai? 

 Apparently, this "simulcast" was presented as a live broadcast (it was taped)  in an "undisclosed location." Todd's daughter actually attended this event.

Todd continues: All this to say that, in my opinion, David Platt and LifeWay Christian Resources are attempting to boost sales of Platt’s most recent book, Follow Me, and accompanying study manuals, by  creating an aura of cutting-edge excitement based on number of things which just are not true.

This  link highlights Todd's point.

Broadcasting live from an undisclosed location, David Platt will challenge you, your group, and your church to take the next step in your relationship with Christ. In this place where proclaiming Jesus could mean literally losing your life, Platt will invite us to forfeit our own lives for the sake of the gospel.

  • Todd continues: My daughter attended this “simulcast” event that was taped in Dubai on August 14th  beginning at 7:00 P.M. local time.  So even if the “simulcast” would have been broadcast in the USA at the originally advertised time of 6:00 P.M. Eastern time, it would not have been “live” as claimed it was to have been.  When it is  7:00 P.M. in Dubai it is 11:00 A.M on the East Coast of the USA.  That pretty much debunks the “live” claim.
  • Next it is  claimed this “live” broadcast will be from an “undisclosed location.” Here is a link on the Redeemer Church of Dubai’s website which openly announced that the event would be held at the Marriott Hotel.  That debunks the “undisclosed location” claim.
  • Lastly, they claim this “undisclosed location” was one “where proclaiming Jesus could mean literally losing your life.”  I am happy to say no one involved in David Platt’s presentation in Dubai on the evening of August 14th lost their life, nor was there ever any danger of doing so because of “proclaiming Jesus.”

Todd recommends a thoughtful resource for exploring the war on Christians

Folks, persecution for Christians in various locations around the globe is a current reality.  Becoming a follower of Christ in many nations could possibly cost you your life.  I would suggest you read this book to dispel any doubts you may have of this fact:

1 crucified again

Do not cheapen the sufferings of saints around the world by publicity stunts.

I would urge us as Christians not to trivialize or cheapen the very real sufferings that saints around the world are currently experiencing.It may create a buzz amongst American Christians to think that David Platt is risking his life by taping a program in Dubai to be shown at a later time, but let’s call it what it is – a cheap publicity stunt that plays fast and loose with the truth in an attempt to boost book sales.  It cheapens Christianity and makes a mockery of those who are actually facing persecution for their faith.  David Platt should be ashamed of himself.  He faced no danger flying into Dubai to tape his message at the Marriott Hotel.  I, as a Christian in Dubai, face no danger to my life.  I am fortunate to be able to live in a Muslim country that allows me such freedom – thank God for that.

Missional fail
(Dee) I was struck by the fact that a local ruler, His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, gave the land to build an evangelical church. I wonder how he would have felt to see his country proclaimed as unsafe for Christians? The Neo-Reformed movement claims it is big on being missional. From my vantage point, this is a potential missional fail.

Platt, and LifeWay should have made sure that they thanked the Sheiks in this area for giving money to build an evangelical church as opposed to portraying this country as a place in which Christian must hide. Such pronouncements could result in a setback for Christian/Muslim dialogue.

The following video is dedicated to all of our readers who have escaped authoritarian churches.

Lydia's Corner: Job 34:1-36:33 2 Corinthians 4:1-12 Psalm 44:1-8 Proverbs 22:10-12

Comments

My, My Dubai: 9 Marks Played Hardball While Lifeway/ David Platt Stretched the Truth — 149 Comments

  1. For some of us comes that moment in life when we have an encroaching realization that we have backed a fraud. What happens next is most important for your life.

    (As often happens the fraud did not start out as a fraud and the trick is not to get boiled along with the other frogs but to admit to yourself that you are noticing some deceptive tricks to keep the audience excited)

  2. I have a friend who is in leadership at Redeemer Dubai. I haven’t asked them because it’s just not worth bothering them, but I know they’d be dismayed that someone tried to pass of the conference location as “undisclosed”. It was a Marriott for crying out loud. I bet the hotel itself might have advertised the conference. (Ever see one of those big sign boards outside hotels? That’s what they do, advertise the events and conferences.)

    Cheers,
    Tim

  3. I resigned my membership on March 6th from the United Christian Church of Dubai because my church leadership refused to quit promoting Mahaney’s books. To date they have refused to act on my letter, so I am technically still a member.

    And thus still subject to Church Discipline(TM)?

  4. Tim wrote:

    I have a friend who is in leadership at Redeemer Dubai. I haven’t asked them because it’s just not worth bothering them, but I know they’d be dismayed that someone tried to pass of the conference location as “undisclosed”.

    You should ask them Tim. Redeemer is a church plant from UCCD. Redeemer basically sponsored the event and promoted it. Dave Furman, senior pastor of Redeemer, was one of several Christians featured in the “live” simulcast video. They blacked out Dave’s face as well as the faces of the other Christians from Dubai. Why? I believe to create the false impression with American viewers that it is dangerous to be a Christian in the Middle East. I can assure you that Dave Furman is in no danger of losing his life for his Christian beliefs in Dubai. I doubt were the Apostle Paul around he would endorse hiding your identity. That Dave played into this charade is lamentable. If you know him Tim you should ask him what the purpose of blacking out his face on the video was. I for one would like an honest answer.

    “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”(2 Timothy 3:12, ESV)

  5. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    And thus still subject to Church Discipline(TM)?

    When I wrote that article I was still a member, but as of September 20th I was removed from membership of UCCD. An interesting fact is that to date I have not heard from anyone in church leadership that I have been removed. Probably just an oversight!

  6. @ TW:

    Dee and I are blessed to know you, and we are proud of the courage, patience, and tenacity you demonstrated during your ordeal.

  7. As an aside (but not really), virulent anti-semitism is on the rise in a number of eastern European countries, most notably Hungary and Greece. (in Greece, members of the Golden Dawn Party have recently attacked – and in some cases, murdered – people who disagree with them and have street rallies where brass bands play the “Horst Wessel Lied” and other Nazi-era songs.)

    I am very concerned about all of this and worried that there will be further violence against Jewish people in these and other European countries, committed by so-called “xtians.” Lest someone jump in and say, “Oh, but those people aren’t really xtians,” well… they do represent xtianity to a watching world, and some of them might, inf act, be very devout. (As are many far-right Orthodox in Russia – yet another country where anti-semitism is very much on the rise.)

    There are Muslims and Muslims, just as there are xtians and xtians. some countries in the ME used to be quite tolerant of multiple religious groups (Egypt is one), but repressive political regimes have caused many to turn to extremist forms of religion – something that’s covertly encouraged by dictators, because it means that people generally aren’t turning against their rulers and the governments in the region can maintain tight control over citizens.

    We also have more than our share of anti-Muslim prejudice – and open hatred – in this country. I think the images Dee used in this post could easily be paired up with similar photos of Americans burning Qur’ans, etc. etc. (And photos of anti-semitic activists as well.)

    We seem to be under the illusion that our country is very tolerant of everyone – citizen and non- – and it’s just not true. Skin color, ethnicity, language, religious and political beliefs still divide us.

    And that’s something that these guys, meeting in Dubai, of all places, are exploiting in what I believe to be an overtly evil (and self-serving) way. The hypocrisy and open prejudice/manipulation of peoples’ emotions (particularly fear) makes me feel sick.

  8. I agree with Anon 1’s comment about backing fraud. In other cases there is the slow, and painful disillusion of “what was I supporting and why did I follow that guy?” I don’t know why…but for some strange reason I looked upon John Piper as almost being a father. In many ways John Piper is the 67th book of the Bible. (In the non-reformed crowd the 67th book is Left Behind) But seriously I had this aching, why is he saying that? I lived in denial. Yes I was upset at his stance on disasters and I overlooked it at first. Yes I gave my Mom his view on cancer…I didn’t think twice as to the harm I would cause my Mom. It was this slow erosion and the more I learned the more disturbed I became. Can you imagine? Nearly becoming a Mormon in college and telling myself after the experience that I would not deceive myself again and then buying the John Piper show hook, line and sinker?

    As angry as I became at John Piper for all the crap he spewed. All respect was totally lost when he went out of his way to preach at SGM Louisville. I remain convinced that John Piper has lost his moral compass. He is not qualified to be a pastor. He is not qualified to teach the word of God. Some people need to learn to step aside…and he is one of them.

  9. It seems obvious that the simulcast was safe and the hype was all about publicity. I don’t disagree with that. However, one distinction should be made about UAE that I did not see in the post. This attitude of welcoming dialogue, debate and the presence of Christians is completely different depending on whether you are talking about Westerners or not. American or European Christians can live, work, and worship in Dubai freely. However, it is a different matter entirely if you are talking about Emirati Christians or even Christians from other traditional Muslim nations. These brothers and sisters have no such freedom in UAE. So, yes, this simulcast business seems a little silly but I would not go too far in promoting UAE as a center of religious freedom.

  10. This is so lamentable. Platt and LifeWay had better address this, even if it means a full mea culpa. To let it go unanswered will be a disaster.

  11. @ Brian: I think Todd’s perspective is very important. He lives and works there. He noted, for example, that street evangelism is not allowed. However, interfaith dialogue is encouraged, including allowing Thabiti to debate Muslim Imams which is important since Thabiti was a convert from Islam to Christianity. He carefully made the distinction between UAE and other countries.

    There is much persecution against Christians in this world and in Muslim countries. When a Muslim country and its leader donate land on which to build a Christian church, we need to encourage them for their openness.

    We should thank them, openly. We should rejoice in this as Christians. I, personally, find the Sheikh’s donation of land to build a church incredible because I had been under the mistaken impression that Christianity was verboten in this area.

    I will ask Todd to elaborate more on this subject in the coming weeks.
    Brian wrote:

    So, yes, this simulcast business seems a little silly

    I find it more than silly. I have never liked having my emotions manipulated to achieve a purpose like buying a book. The handling of this event was insulting to the host country. Truth is always the way to go.

  12. Eagle wrote:

    John Piper is the 67th book of the Bible. (In the non-reformed crowd the 67th book is Left Behind)

    Too funny.
    Eagle wrote:

    All respect was totally lost when he went out of his way to preach at SGM Louisville. I remain convinced that John Piper has lost his moral compass.

    Perhaps he is getting old?

    When Piper was a young man, I heard that he got arrested for protesting outside an abortion clinic. Back then, he cared about those who were unable to speak for themselves.

    Unfortunately, that compass turned to the gender wars and he now makes silly statements about the problems of muscular women and enduring abuse for a night. Somehow, it appears that he has lost his advocacy for the needy and hurt and has turned, instead, to the gender wars which appear to have taken precedence in his teaching.

  13. @ Brian:

    Thanks for sharing Brian. Any generalization is still a generalization, whether it comes from a place of loving correction or propaganda.

    Lifeway is a business, and are doing what business does to make a profit. I can understand that. What I don’t understand is how these businesses promote themselves as doing the work of God. I really do not think Jesus intended to be marketed as a product, brand, or genre. I was reading this morning in Matthew where Jesus told some parables about banquets. It kept hitting me how the Kingdom of God invites the poor, the lepers, the outcasts. When I look around these conferences, I don’t see them. When I look around “churches” I don’t see them. Where are they? I sincerely long to find other believers who are not content to exclude those who the rest of the world excludes. I have yet to experience a “church” that doesn’t feel the same as any other club. Why does everybody look pretty much the same? How is this supernatural? It feels just like any other organization.

    Now, I am making a generalization. I realize that. Please show me where I am wrong. I want to be wrong.

  14. I have sometimes wondered about the kind of claims Platt made. There are other missions agencies that talk about risking one’s life for the sake of the gospel. The implication is that by not participating in these missions one is considered a coward. However, these claims seem a bit ridiculous if the missions themselves are not dangerous. I appreciate the caveat that some missions are indeed dangerous, but I don’t get the impression that these are the missions that well-known church leaders and mainstream agencies are embarking on.

  15. Erik wrote:

    I really do not think Jesus intended to be marketed as a product, brand, or genre.

    I would add the word “game” to this. Much of marketing is involved in convincing the consumer that they really, must buy “x” because it will make them pretty, courageous, chart, wealthy…..fill in the bank. Much of marketing is a game.

    Marketing involves claims that are “puffery.” This is a term in which the consumer and the marketer know that what is being said is not true. “Suzies Chips” are the best chips in the whole world.”

    Christianity should not be reduced to puffery. It makes me sad when i see the church turing to the tactics of the world to sell books.

  16. dee wrote:

    Marketing involves claims that are “puffery.”

    If this is not puffery, I don’t know what is. SIGH. Straight from the Elevation website, Code #8:

    “8. WE ARE RUTH’S CHRIS, NOT GOLDEN CORRAL
    Simplicity enables excellence. We place a disproportionate value on creating a worship experience that boldly celebrates Jesus and attracts people far from God.”

    Because Jesus was all about “experience”, wasn’t He? Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

  17. Sounds like they are ‘slandering’ Dubai!

    My uncle was a missionary most of his life, and he went into some dangerous places. If memory serves his last post – that wasn’t that bad – was Portugal. It wasn’t extremely friendly during that period, but it wasn’t ‘deadly’ either for the most part. I do remember the family was up in arms when the government told them they had to move to a different area, and moving trucks never showed up with all their belongings. Yes, they were sending a message. Its kind of neat that all my cousins were born in different countries though! Its part of the job at times to take risks.

    I personally think these men are cowards. If they truly want to ‘preach’ in areas that their life would be at risk? There are plenty of locations they could do that from. I honestly don’t think they would be strong enough to do so IMO. Sadly, they seem to be all mouth and no action. I mean they can preach from the rooftops what others should and should not being doing – especially women and children – yet don’t have the nerve to stand on ground that might endanger them personally.

    Notice how they couldn’t handle ‘oppression’ themselves.

  18. I just checked out the articles on Dubai and on UAE and on Platt on Wikipedia. More information than I needed, but did learn a lot.

    There is a way of deception that uses words in ways that never are actual lies but in ways which people will probably understand in ways that are not really accurate. In other words, say something in such a way that it may be true or not depending on what people think you mean. Designed to deceive but not actually a lie. It seems to be on the same continuum of ethics as the concept of “mental reservation.” Anti-catholics used to accuse the Jesuits of this. I do note that Platt had an undergrad degree in journalism. Maybe he thanks that is OK.

    For example: The Platt thing uses the words “you” and “place,” as in a place where you might lose your life. OK, then who is you and what place exactly is meant. If “you” are a foreign worker christian american working in Dubai and the place is the hotel in Dubai, then “you” are in no danger of your life. If “you” are a moslem convert to christianity and are a foreign worker from Iran, and the place is a street corner outside the hotel, or perhaps elsewhere in the UAE but not Dubai and you are passing out gospel tracts, you are in danger from the authorities–danger of deportation and perhaps death when you get back to your own country. Platt was never in danger, but they did not say that he was, they just set it up where people could come to that conclusion.

    Similarly: undisclosed location. Undisclosed when? To whom? In which ad? They did not say “nobody knows” or “we will never tell” or such. They just let us believe that.

    Simulcast–I don’t even know what a simulcast is. But “live” is used even for broadcasts of previous live musical performances, and nobody thinks it means necessarily at the same time. It could mean that it was live at the time the recording was made, as in actually being performed before an audience instead of just in a studio.

    We do stuff like that with words and communications a lot. That is one reason that some of us make such a pain in the neck of ourselves always trying to pin people down about what they mean. I can testify that that sort of behavior (what exactly do you mean by…) can make people move away from you very quickly. Not good party behavior.

    Now some of you NT scholars enlighten me here. Did Jesus do that? When he answered the question from his disciples as to why he spoke in parables? Sounds like intentional deception, and that is disturbing. Even if He did, though, that would not make Platt et al right to do this mess.

    If some of you want to take issue with me on this, that is fine, but I have to run an errand and will not be back until after lunch. See you then. (What do I mean by “you” or “errand” or “lunch”, and really “see” is not what one does as in I might see writing but not see any “you.”)

  19. Having been brought out of “lurk mode” by the news of Eagle’s baptism (woo-hoo!!), I want to comment on this thread too, because I have knowledge of Dubai that many (most?) Americans may not have.

    My girlfriend was born and raised in the Philippines, and she is currently in Dubai as an “OFW” (overseas foreign worker). Her name is Alma. She and I first came into contact when she was still living in the Philippines and trying to find work that paid a decent wage. Even for people who have a college education (which she does not have), it can be very, very difficult to find a steady job which pays decently in the Philippines. The country is trying to move out of Third World status but still has a long way to go. Anyway, at the time that Alma and I came into contact, she was considering going to Dubai on a two-year contract to work for, and live with, an Arabic family as their housekeeper (meaning, cook, maid, car washer, jack of all trades, basically). Alma is Catholic. The prospective family was/is Muslim.

    Long story short (relatively speaking)– Alma and I grew to have an affinity for each other. As we discussed her work situation more, over weeks and months, via e-mails, and then, phone calls, I learned about just how hard (even dangerous!) life can be for OFWs in Dubai. Many female OFWs are literally raped by their bosses and then either jailed when they go to the UAE courts to seek justice (as the woman is often blamed for being raped in the UAE!), or they are simply sent back home, pregnant, by their bosses, with the work contracts terminated. I begged and begged Alma not to go to Dubai as an OFW, fearful for her safety. I tried to find a way to bring her to America, but having a congenital physical disability and being unemployed, I didn’t have the money to sponsor her. I looked into Canada too, as a possibility for Alma, but the fees were too much for either of us to pay.

    Eventually, out of sheer financial desperation, she did go to Dubai to work for this family. Millions of OFWs make the same choice, for the same reason, every year– leaving Third World countries to go to Canada, or Hong Kong, or the Middle East. Some of these workers end up being apart from their families for ten years or more, working to send money home to them, because the jobs just aren’t there in their home countries. Alma has finished the first year of her two-year contract in Dubai, and she plans to return to the Philippines next year. (We are trying to work out a way to actually get together, in the same country, on more than a very temporary basis! It’s quite trying for both of us, but we aren’t giving up!)

    Where all of this becomes particularly relevant to *this* thread is in looking at the issues of physical safety and religious freedom. Alma feels blessed simply to have found a family to work for in the UAE who will not hit and/or rape her. (Again, this is the hard reality for OFWs there.) At the same time, as a Catholic working for and living with an Arabic Muslim family in Dubai, Alma is *not* allowed to openly worship as she pleases. She cannot go to Mass on any kind of regular basis. Generally speaking, OFWs in Dubai are allowed to attend church *once* a year at Christmas. Alma has not been able to attend Mass since last December. The experience of all of her OFW friends in Dubai is the same.

    I do have one Filipino friend in Dubai who can attend Mass every week, but that is only because he is a businessman, and he has the money to *buy* his freedom of public worship. This is how life really is for Christians in Dubai. If you have money, then you have religious freedom. If you don’t have money… all bets are off. The same goes for your physical safety. OFWs, especially, have little legal recourse for their day-to-day physical safety in Dubai. If their bosses want to abuse them, rape them, or even worse, they simply can.

    In light of the above brutal truths about the lives of OFWs in Dubai, it honestly disgusts me that David Platt would even try to give the *impression* that *his* life is in danger as a Christian speaking about his faith in Dubai. *His* religious freedom is respected there. *He* is not in any physical danger. Neither is the case for most OFWs in Dubai. Alma has found a boss (the father) and a family who won’t hit or rape her. That is *not* the case for many other OFWs in Dubai. Even still, Alma cannot worship freely, and if she tried to actually talk to this family, whom she works for and lives with, about the Gospel… again, all bets would be off.

  20. P.S. Most, if not all, of the American Christians living and working in Dubai would not fall under the heading of “OFW” (overseas foreign worker) that I wrote about in the above comment. Obviously, Americans are foreigners in Dubai, and many are working there, but people who are officially classified “OFWs” in Dubai are usually from the Third World and, unlike Americans in Dubai, don’t have the money which can basically buy religious freedom there.

  21. Anonymous wrote:

    This is so lamentable. Platt and LifeWay had better address this, even if it means a full mea culpa. To let it go unanswered will be a disaster.

    I agree. They are losing their moral credibility fast. There are other issues besides this one.

  22. Erik, you wrote:

    “I was reading this morning in Matthew where Jesus told some parables about banquets. It kept hitting me how the Kingdom of God invites the poor, the lepers, the outcasts. When I look around these conferences, I don’t see them. When I look around “churches” I don’t see them. Where are they? I sincerely long to find other believers who are not content to exclude those who the rest of the world excludes. I have yet to experience a “church” that doesn’t feel the same as any other club. Why does everybody look pretty much the same? How is this supernatural? It feels just like any other organization.”

    I know exactly what you mean. I have been a member of various different churches. For several years, until mid-2009, I was a Calvinist, theologically speaking. To be very clear and careful here, I will *not* say that the Calvinist fellowships I was a part of had *no* place for “the poor, the lepers, the outcasts.” I was, and still am, financially poor. I have a physical disability (Cerebral Palsy) and use a wheelchair. In much of American society, I am treated as an outcast, almost a leper, at times.

    However, I was very warmly welcomed in these Reformed-leaning churches– but I sense that a large part of the *reason* for that is that I have a deep love for studying and discussing Christian doctrine and theology. I have a degree in English, with a minor in Philosophy and Religion. Thus, I could be sufficiently verbally “articulate” to keep up with the conversations at my former churches.

    Even though I was jobless, poor, and disabled, in terms of my interests, my intellectual gifts, and my conversational ability (which are all from God, thanks and praise be to Him!), I basically fit right in with other, similar, well-formally-educated people at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in D.C. (and a similar, non-denominational “9 Marks” church that I later was a member of in Albuquerque, New Mexico).

    I know that it was the heart of the members at CHBC to *want* to welcome the poor, the lepers, the outcasts. While I was a member there, I was loved, and loved well. The congregation encouraged me spiritually and helped me financially in real ways. I am still grateful to them for all of that (even though now that I have returned to the Catholic Church, many of them no longer consider me to be a Christian, but that’s another, longer story).

    One problem that I saw at CHBC is that the general intellectual level of the preaching, and the usual level of conversation (often theologically oriented) among the members, seemed to scare off people who were less formally educated, or very well self-educated… people whom some sectors of American society would classify as being poor, and/or almost lepers and outcasts. Very honestly, at times, due to my disability and my financial situation, I felt more of a “belonging-ness” with some of the financially poor or homeless people who would visit CHBC, and leave, than with the pastors and most of the other church members– as much as I *did* care for them, and vice versa!

    To be clear, I did *not* return to the Catholic Church because of any social or cultural uncomfortableness that I sometimes felt at CHBC and the other, similar, non-denominational church. My reasons for returning to Catholicism were theological and ecclesiological. They came from serious prayer and study.

    After I did return to the Catholic Church though, I noticed, easily, that a very wide spectrum of people could be easily found there, filling the pews… the financially poor, the physically and/or mentally disabled, the non-English-speaking, the young suburban American couples, the formally well-educated, the single men and women, the single mothers and fathers, even apparently homeless people (like Jesus was)… Whatever one thinks of Catholic teachings and practices, at Mass, in my experience, the Church at least *looks like* the Kingdom of God. I know that there are Protestant churches where one can find a similar wide spectrum of people…. but in the Reformed-leaning churches of my past, that was usually not the case.

  23. Being Halloween it seems like a good time to remind ourselves of the old story of Mike Warnke. People who remember hearing him speak on “Focus on the Family” and secular media and listened to his LP comedy albums, are now aware, or should be, that he was a fraud. But before he was exposed many believed him. My life, my family, were affected by his teaching. No trick-or-treating for my older children, disgust and fear of anything that looked like the bogeymen which Warnke so graphically warned us about.

    It seems that the frauds of today have to be a bit more refined than Warnke was. He got away with his story for a long time. But once the lid came off his lies the mess underneath was so remarkable that no-one could doubt the twisted depth of his fabrications.

    Seems to me that when the wolves in sheep’s clothing coming knocking on our spiritual doors today it is much easier to identify them. But we should remember that they have learned that other fine art of deception, to “Look really good”. If they have a great cover story, a legitimate history, and pals among the sheep, we might have to look harder to see the blood on their teeth. We all want to see a treat when we look at this or that preacher or ministry or video or book. But the tricks are coming think and fast and in subtle form.

    I have come full circle from the days I hid from the trick-or-treaters walking through my neighborhood. Now I buy extra candy and keep it by the door. I save my disdain for the wolves.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Warnke

  24. Christopher Lake wrote:

    After I did return to the Catholic Church though, I noticed, easily, that a very wide spectrum of people could be easily found there, filling the pews… the financially poor, the physically and/or mentally disabled, the non-English-speaking, the young suburban American couples, the formally well-educated, the single men and women, the single mothers and fathers, even apparently homeless people (like Jesus was)… Whatever one thinks of Catholic teachings and practices, at Mass, in my experience, the Church at least *looks like* the Kingdom of God.

    For a period of three years I attended mass and RCIA and I almost became a catholic. I did not for doctrinal reasons, but what you describe as to what the catholics look like was exactly my experience. It was one of the things that I found so appealing about catholicism. That was all about twelve years ago. Since that time, in fact, I think that catholicism has become even better in this aspect than before. My church (denomination) tries to do that but can’t quite pull it off. Hmmm.

  25. Hi all. I have lived in the Middle East for ten years, and Dubai for the last 2 years. The reality is this: Dubai is the most free and first-world country in the Middle East… by far. For David Platt to come to this city and present his trip as some covert, life-risking endeavor is really insulting and to be honest, it kind of seems like a measure of exploitation for personal gain. My husband and I have been actual full-time CPer’s in this region for the last decade. We learned the language, lived in a far more “dangerous” country, went without electricity and at times water, lived through assassinations and gunfights literally before our eyes – I, myself, (with my daughter who was an infant at the time) was even detained and questioned by Hezbollah for sharing the gospel and distributing Bibles to interested locals. So for some celebrity Pastor to come here to Dubai, stay at the Marble-floored Marriott (we even have a Cheesecake Factory for crying out loud!) and hype up his message in this way is really deceptive. FYI, for any doubters about how “free” the UAE is – Michael W Smith even came to Abu Dhabi last year and did a HUGE PUBLIC worship concert in front of a sold-out audience that numbered in the many thousands, many of whom were locals.

    BTW, Todd, I go to a church called “Gatekeepers” which meets at the JSSIS school in Al Barsha tomorrow at 11am. Would love to meet you if you are interested in attending 🙂

  26. @ Heather:

    Spot on! And being Halloween…thought I would give y’all a laugh, though it’s actually sad given the underlying truth. Look how fast Southern Baptists can involve secular, outside authorities of ill repute that Paige Patterson warns about! This is the Plano police harassment report made by Prestonwood Baptist Church about a church member who had requested a meeting with executive pastor Mike Buster in March 2013 over questions of the failure to report a former minister, John Langworthy, accused of child sexual abuse of boys in the church:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/141553329/Prestonwood-Baptist-Church-police-report

    This is in the police report:

    Lastly, he comments how he feels like Luke Skywalker circling the Death Star as he approaches the beast.

  27. relative wrote:

    FYI, for any doubters about how “free” the UAE is – Michael W Smith even came to Abu Dhabi last year and did a HUGE PUBLIC worship concert in front of a sold-out audience that numbered in the many thousands, many of whom were locals.

    Thank you for backing up Todd’s story. He is on a trip with a good friend for the next week. i am copying your comment and will forward it to his email. I bet he would love to meet you. If you give me permission, I could also send an email contact to him as well.

    Frankly, I am becoming irritated by Christian leaders who manipulate emotions to sell books and conferences. Things may not be perfect in Dubai but it is far more open than many other areas. I feel that the hype around this conference was inappropriate, given the fact that the rulers gave land for a church.

    If any of those rulers (or sheiks- forgive me lack of understanding on how to politely address these leaders) are reading this, I would like to extend my thankfulness for your donation of land for a church. How kind of you. Many, many thanks.

  28. Christopher Lake wrote:

    My reasons for returning to Catholicism were theological and ecclesiological.

    Thank you for posting here at TWW. You have such a fascinating story and you are an excellent writer.
    If you would ever like to tell you story here, we would love to publish it. Please contact dee@thewartburgwatch.com

  29. Heather wrote:

    have come full circle from the days I hid from the trick-or-treaters walking through my neighborhood. Now I buy extra candy and keep it by the door. I save my disdain for the wolves.

    I actually heard Mike Warnke years ago. I though he was weird and could not understand the hype. It didn’t surprise me that he was found to be a fraud.

    You should see this really great headband i have for Halloween. It has two bouncing pumpkins which flash lights on and off. Unfortunately, my walkway is very long and we rarely get visitors. I used to love going out with my kids when they were little. My son used to say that Halloween was his favorite “holiday.”

    In his junior and senior year in high school, he and his best buddies would dress up as Domino Pizza delivery men. They got pizza boxes, cut a hole in the bottom and inserted a bag. They would go up to neighbors houses, ring the bell and when it was answered, they would say-“Here is your pepperoni pizza. You owe $16.25.

    The homeowners would get flustered and then my son would open the box and say trick or treat. The adults looooved getting tricked and would take pictures of them. A couple of them asked them to go to their neighbors house so they could take pictures of them going up to the door. They also dumped alot of treats into the bag in the box.

    I love Halloween and cannot wait for grandchildren someday. I will insist on taking them out.

  30. sure. please pass along my email. By the way, to remark about the guy who mentioned the plight of domestic workers – This is the sad reality of domestic workers across the non-Western world. However, their ill-treatment, from what I have seen, has little to do with religious motivations. Christopher Lake’s friend Alma, was probably unable to worship because many host families do not ever give their maids even one day off a week (though the Labor laws in the UAE require that they do). Even if she were given a weekly day off, her salary was probably at best $400 per month, most of which is sent home to her family in her home country, leaving little left over to afford the expensive taxi rides to attend any church service. So, it is not that she is not religiously free, it is that she is not financially free. I have NEVER heard of ANY case in the UAE where someone was persecuted for practicing their faith. It is simply false and dishonest (or at best ignorant) for David Platt to make the claims he made.

  31. dee wrote:

    Heather wrote:
    have come full circle from the days I hid from the trick-or-treaters walking through my neighborhood. Now I buy extra candy and keep it by the door. I save my disdain for the wolves.
    You should see this really great headband i have for Halloween. It has two bouncing pumpkins which flash lights on and off. Unfortunately, my walkway is very long and we rarely get visitors. I used to love going out with my kids when they were little. My son used to say that Halloween was his favorite “holiday.”

    Headband!?! 😯 I can just imagine you wearing that and shaking a bag of Cheteos! 😛

  32. dee wrote:

    I actually heard Mike Warnke years ago. I though he was weird and could not understand the hype. It didn’t surprise me that he was found to be a fraud.

    October 31: Remember Johnny Todd?
    Supposed former witch and upper level member of the Illuminati who claimed on Halloween that covens all over the country were engaging in human sacrifice? He made a big splash in Christian circles, and was an early influence on Jack Chick who even produced a tract and a comic book based upon Todd’s tales – which led to mass record album and book burnings by church youth groups. Bob Larson capitalized on the craze.

    Great post here: http://www.monsterwax.com/todd.html

    Wikipedia article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Todd_(occultist)

  33. Dee,

    Thank you for the very kind words and for letting me post here! If I ever decide to tell my story, here, in full, it will be as more of a “(Protestant) church discipline story” than a “why I’m Catholic” story. Not that I’m *averse* to talking about why I’m Catholic– not at all– but describing what I experienced with church discipline, as a Protestant, fits the purpose of this site much better than giving everyone the reasons that I returned to the Catholic Church. 🙂 I will give it some thought and prayer and get back to you! Blessings!

  34. @ relative:
    The plight of some immigrant domestic workers in the U.S. is as sad as anywhere. Sometimes it is a cover for human trafficking, physical and sexual abuse, and almost always employment and financial abuse.

  35. HoppyTheToad wrote:

    Doug Phillips has resigned from Vision Forum following an emotional affair.

    Whaddya know, another celebrity minister caught with his pants down. Could have knocked me over with a sledgehammer.

  36. Relative,

    You are mostly correct about Alma’s situation in Dubai. As an “OFW” (overseas foreign worker) from the Philippines, working for and living with an Arabic Muslim family, she is not allowed any days off at all. Now, if this Muslim family were unusually generous, they *could* give her time off on Sundays to go to Mass. Theoretically, they *could* drive her to Mass, drop her off, and pick her up afterwards– but they don’t. I do have an older Filipina friend whose boss (in another Middle Eastern country, many years ago) did just that for her. However, Alma’s host family is not of that mindset– and, as you mentioned, Alma probably could not afford the taxi rides, herself, even if she were allowed the time off to go to Mass.

    The “rules” for OFWs in Dubai (especially poor ones from the Third World) are often strange and seemingly arbitrary. For example, I mailed a Bible, a Catholic Catechism, and a painting of Mary with the infant Jesus to Alma, and her host family allowed her to keep all of them. However, just before she left for Dubai, the employment agency that helped her to go there told her that she could not take her Rosary, as that was a physical object having to do with Christian prayer! Therefore, she left her Rosary behind in the Philippines.

    I hope that no one here thinks I’m disputing the religious freedom people who are not in Alma’s situation do have in Dubai. Most Christians there (such as David Platt and his colleagues) *can* worship freely– because they have the money, and are allowed the time, to do so. Alma and many, many other OFWs like her in Dubai, though, do not enjoy the same freedoms. That is simply her reality until her work contract is up next year (assuming that her host family honors the contract and allows her to leave… I am praying that they will!!).

  37. An Attorney,

    Yes, exactly. Immigrant domestic workers are too often (once would be too often) abused by their employers in the U.S. too. I tried and tried to find a way for Alma to come to the U.S., but if she had come here to do the same kind of work, she could have been trafficked, or abused and raped, just as easily as some OFWs are in Dubai. It’s a measure of the desperation of OFWs that they take the chance anyway.. We should all pray for them.

  38. @ Hoppy & Dee:

    Doug Phillips has resigned from Vision Forum following an emotional affair.

    Aaaaaaand so it begins. Grab your popcorn and buckle up, folks.

    Dee, I look forward to your article on this. Eagerly.

  39. Hester wrote:

    I also hope Phillips uses this as an opportunity for some serious self-reexamination about some things.

    Me too, but I’m doubtful. Typically the only thing guys like this are sorry for is that they got caught.

  40. Seneca wrote:

    but they too may have been susceptible to male attention in their own past as married women.

    Of course we were subject to male attention We are, after all, adorable.

  41. An Attorney wrote:

    The plight of some immigrant domestic workers in the U.S. is as sad as anywhere. Sometimes it is a cover for human trafficking, physical and sexual abuse, and almost always employment and financial abuse.

    I have been shocked as I have read about the plight of undocumented workers in the US. They are brought into the country illegally and work slavish conditions for well off people.

  42. @ dee: This is something that’s been an ongoing (for decades and decades and decades) evil – the exploitation of migrant farmworkers is where many of the most egregious ills are found.

    the problem is, a LOT of those people are employed by companies that are owned by people who have high positions in business and politics. They’re able to hire attorneys who use all available loopholes to keep from being even marginally approachable (from a legal standpoint), let alone subject to prosecution.

  43. @ dee: P.S.: there are *plenty* of documented cases where illegal and/or migrant workers in this country have been forced to live and work under conditions that violate federal statutes against both slavery and peonage.

    The wealth of this country is supported on the backs of this “underclass.” It’s sickening.

  44. @ dee: People who are not literate in the language of the country where they work (and/or in their own native language) are very, very easily exploited.

    Ask anyone who works with – or has worked with – Puerto Ricans who are migrant workers. (I have some real-life experience with this, though mostly from the sidelines, as I was not a caseworker.)

  45. JeffT wrote:

    HoppyTheToad wrote:
    Doug Phillips has resigned from Vision Forum following an emotional affair.
    Whaddya know, another celebrity minister caught with his pants down. Could have knocked me over with a sledgehammer.

    *
    Possibly his pants were still UP.
    *

  46. I guess what is most irritating to me is that folks who put on this kind of pageantry 1) truly believe that the audience is gullible and ignorant enough to swallow it, and 2) the internet doesn’t exist. I mean, I don’t give two hoots and a holler how Platt spends his time, but this make believe is just silliness. Hint: There are a lot of Christian grownups out here, and we have neither time nor taste for never never land.

  47. dee wrote:

    Seneca

    What a surprise! Defending an errant pastor.

    Dee

    What a surprise! Making a judgment before the evidence is in.

  48. Seneca wrote:

    Possibly his pants were still UP.

    ” I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman. While we did not “know” each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.”

    My money’s on DOWN. A “lengthy, inappropriate relationship” with a woman not his wife. He didn’t “know” her, but it was bad enough to to force him to resign and go into hiding. Sounds like a variation on “I did not have sex with that woman”. We will see.

  49. @ dee:
    Y’all be prepared. SSB had a swarm of locusts swoop in when Julie Anne posted about Phillips. Much like the Elevators pounced when their guru was called to account.

  50. Doug Phillips and his legalese- ” I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman. While we did not “know” each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.”

    Any adult with the good sense God gave a flea can figure out what that means.

    One can only hope this is the beginning of the demise of VF and the patriarchy movement. What a cancer this has been in the Christian community.

  51. @ M. Joy:

    Well, he is actually a lawyer (thus the pompous-sounding “Esquire” at the end of his name) so he does most definitely know his way in and out of legalese.

    At this point I’ll take him at his word and go with pants up…but in the end it doesn’t really matter. What he did was wrong and inappropriate, esp. for someone who literally travels the country (world?) telling people how to better fathers and husbands. So it’s only a question of degree, really, not of whether his actions were acceptable. At least no one can claim he didn’t do it this time, because it came from his own mouth.

    Frankly, even as an avowed opponent of the patriarchy movement, I really did hope better of Phillips’ personal life. This morning, if I had had to guess the next major Christian celebrity pastor to fall publicly, it would most definitely not have been Phillips (esp. not when one of the other candidates is Mark Driscoll!). So this really does sadden and surprise me.

    The more interesting thing will be what my Christian homeschool FB friends say (or don’t say) tomorrow. 😉

  52. @ Eagle: Hey there fella – I have a request for you.

    I’m wondering if you might be able to refer to Clinton (etc.) without mentioning cigars, stains, etc.? Maybe I’m squeamish, but I find it all distasteful (not because I’m a prude; more because it’s all WAY more than I EVER wanted to know about their affair). I realize that these details are matters of public record, but then, so are the offensive things that C. Thomas said to Anita Hill (and, apparently, to other women).

    Not sure if you know anyone who’s told you about their own encounters with sexual harassment (etc.), but for some of us, these reminders of the admittedly sordid details re. Clinton and M. Lewinski really don’t help much.

    Hope you understand, and that I’m not coming across as censorious. I’ve been less direct about this in the past, but I figured that it’s now or never.

    and I’m sure I’m not the only woman who finds the reported details to be distasteful.

    Enough said!

    best – and thanks,
    n.

  53. @ Hester:

    I am interested in what your friends’ response is. I am shocked at what my friends and their acquaintances are saying. Angry, really. The few willing to break the deafening silence want him restored to his position ASAP and do not think this should have gone public. After all, it is “just sin,” not a crime. And, “Did David stop being King?”

    I really thought this would shake a lot of people up, cause SOME introspection and soul-searching at their faith in this man as the King of their movement and ideology. Nope, nothing, nil. They stubbornly plant their roots deeper.

    Not a thought to the possibility that MAYBE, they should go back over the past few years of the things they’ve learned from him, and re-evaluate it with the knowledge that HE WAS HAVING AN AFFAIR WHEN HE SAID THIS-OR-THAT!

    I also believe that this man has far more to repent of than an affair. He is destructive, dishonest, and cruel-hearted. I know people who’ve been on the receiving end of his wrath. There is more to this story, I guarantee it.

    It also makes me sad that he and his church teach that there are NO Biblical grounds for divorce. Even a sexual affair. And, I assume, even abuse. His wife will receive NO support from that community if she considers divorce.

    I am beyond disgusted that this man, who has made many Christians feel incredibly inferior for not doing family the “Biblical” way (HIS definition), has been violating the TRUE Biblical commands for fathers/husbands all along. Or at least, for an extended period of time.

    Dee, I look forward to your take on all this. I desperately need to hear a voice of reason in this mess. 🙁

  54. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    There are a lot of Christian grownups out here, and we have neither time nor taste for never never land.

    I still am impressed at the number of Christians who do not check out their leaders or what their leader say or allege, on the Internet.

  55. Let me recommend a book. Please, do not think that I am referring to anybody in particular when I recommend this book. I just am finding in it a lot of information about why people do what they do. That includes both the perpetrators and the victims and those who defend perps and why humans behave as they do in some circumstances. It is written by a professional who specializes in the area about which she writes.

    “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout, PhD

    Don’t let the 1995 copyright put you off. It is well worth reading if you want some insight into the 4% of the population who are actual sociopaths and the many who fail to recognize them as such or admit it or protect themselves from the bad guys.

    Not every bad guy is a sociopath, but some are. Read the book. Here is a teaser from the book. She says that of the many “symptoms” that sociopaths exhibit, the one that is most consistent and most often missed as a symptom and the pitfall for a lot of victims is—they try to get people to pity them. Because humans tend to let people they pity get away with a lot of stuff–a lot. Who knew?

  56. M. Joy wrote:

    Dee and Deb, I’m curious to know if there is any change in leadership at Vision Forum http://www.visionforum.com
    I think that’s a separate entity from Vision Forum Ministries http://www.visionforumministries.org/

    What’s a bit baffling when viewing those sites is that I can’t find any pages that list who works there, who the board members are, or if there are any board members.

    I’m wondering what’s going on at their church. From what I gathered from a past member’s blog, Doug was the (unordained) lead pastor with one other elder. He should certainly step down from this position.

    I’m most concerned for his children and the children that have been part of his little fiefdom.

  57. @ Looking for You:

    It takes a lot of guts to admit your favorite guru is a fraud. Most people don’t have the guts to admit they fell for it and desperately want to hang on to what they have believed and praticed for so long. So they prop him up because it saves face and they don’t have to go deep with themselves.

    It is much easier to follow Phillips’ rules for family than it is to go deep and abide in Christ. To them, Phillip’s is a Christ figure. It is a cult. So, you get cult thinking.

  58. @ Eagle:

    Eagle, Your references don’t offend me at all. Negative truths played out on the news everyday can often be instructive. Lots of gurus out there are using many of the same tactics as Clinton did during the scandalabras while they trashed him. It is uncanny!

  59. numo wrote:

    and I’m sure I’m not the only woman who finds the reported details to be distasteful.

    Count me in…. thanks for the discreet, diplomatic reminder that we don’t really need all the sordid detail recounted.

  60. Anon 1 wrote:

    It takes a lot of guts to admit your favorite guru is a fraud. Most people don’t have the guts to admit they fell for it and desperately want to hang on to what they have believed and praticed for so long. So they prop him up because it saves face and they don’t have to go deep with themselves.

    This is precisely why my own favorite guru is me.

  61. @ Victorious:

    They say the same thing about child molestation, sex trafficking, etc. People never really get to understand how gruesome and horrific it is. I had one woman tell me a while back that it is a sin to hear details of such things. I say it is up to the victim to decide. We needed to know how immature and vile our President was in REAL life using his position for sexual gratification like many in ministry are doing.

  62. @ Anon 1: I think we all know about it; there’s no real need to have details repeated and repeated in comments.

    Again, it’s *not* about politics. Sometimes details are necessary, sometimes they are in dubious taste.

    that’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it.

  63. Anon 1 wrote:

    We needed to know how immature and vile our President was in REAL life using his position for sexual gratification like many in ministry are doing

    Once we know the sordid details, it’s not really necessary to describe the graphic scenario for years afterward. Those details were noted to prove the event did, in fact, take place, but now are redundant in the telling and describing.

    Once a child’s abuse has been proven by sharing the intimate details, nothing is served by the retelling. It’s enough to know and remember the crime took place without the visuals.

  64. Victorious wrote:

    Once a child’s abuse has been proven by sharing the intimate details, nothing is served by the retelling. It’s enough to know and remember the crime took place without the visuals.

    Agree with your entire comment, but this especially.

  65. @ Victorious: I think it’s much the same as people *not* needing to know the graphic details of rape, murder, etc. once the incident has been reported and/or people have been tried.

  66. I actually have a MA in American History from a good Jesuit University. One thing I find fascinating as a history major is how history is viewed, re-written, re-examined, etc… This is actually called Historiography, think of it as being the history of history. How did historical thought evolve? How is history viewed through primary and secondary sources? It’s a complex field and at the time I didn’t appreciate it like I do today.

    When it comes to Presidential history each President has their own “biographer” who publishes the benchmark book that is the gold standard in history. For example the best biography on Abraham Lincoln is called “With Malice Toward None” by Stephen Oates. Edmund Morris is known for his biography of Theodore Roosevelt, called “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt”. Doris Kerns Goodwin’s work on FDR called “No Ordinary Time” is looked upon by many as one of the best biographies of FDR. Stephen Ambrose is looked to be the official biographer of Richard Nixon.

    Now history is history and facts are facts. There are a lot of disturbing things in history. Details about how people were executed or how their remains were disposed of in Nazi concentration camps. How the Nazis performed medical experiments. How the Japanese killed and tortured American serviceman in death marches. Last summer when I was in a book store in Montana I glanced at a book that detailed how vigilantes in Montana during its time as a territory abducted, lynched, and killed people. The details in this history book were quite disturbing, but as a student of history I also expected that to be the case.

    When it comes to Bill Clinton its going to be fascinating to see what historians say. You cannot avoid a topic because it makes you uncomfortable. What Bill Clinton did with Monica Lewinsky is part of the Congressional Record since he was impeached. The graphic details of what he had Monica do with a cigar, the FBI seizing the infamous blue dress are part of American history – whether one likes it or not. History is not always pretty…sometimes its ugly. At the Smithsonian of American History they have the top hat that Abraham Lincoln wore in Ford’s Theater before John Wilkes Booth pumped a bullet into the back of the President’s head. Such an artifact from the first assassination in American history is gruesome, yet it’s a part of history. I’ve often wondered if one day we’ll see Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress in the Smithsonian as well. Time will tell.

    But Numo history is history. Information is power. Look at any totalitarian regime and see how they whitewash history. They don’t want people to see the evil in the details. And for evil to win the details need to be whitewashed. Ask any tyrannical regime in history – Hitler, Tojo, Saddam Hussein, Stalin, Erich Honecker, Idi Amin, Nasser, etc.. . and the key to power is to whitewash the details.
    This is why details are necessary.

  67. BTDT, thanks for reminding us of the tie to Reconstructionism, Phillips is related to Howard Phillips, so, the potential for this being connected to politics is there, imo.

    Let’s not forget that the abuse suffered by immigrants as household “employees” in our country, is magnified thousands of times by the fact that in every large city in our country, warehouses or substandard apartment complexes pack sweatshop laborers and their families together like so many sardines.

  68. Pastor Wilson has weighed in from Moscow on the Phillips resignation. His first observation is reasonable. But:
    “The second observation has to do with the snark shown by those who see such things as an occasion for venting their spleen. One of the reasons why men in Christian leadership have to be so careful in their lives is that this response is so entirely predictable. When Nathan the prophet rebuked David for his great sin, he referred to this response as one of the obvious and predictable consequences — “by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme . . .” (2 Sam. 12:14).
    And that is what they do. But for those who know how the story goes, this is one of those occasions where the enemies of the Lord can be readily identified. By their glee ye shall know them.”
    http://dougwils.com/s7-engaging-the-culture/doug-philips-resignation-from-vision-forum.html
    So no snark or *glee* over this, now, ya hear? Sigh… 🙁 🙁

  69. @ Eagle: I’m not asking you to avoid making comparison to Clinton; I *am* asking you to not drag all the gory details into it time after time.

    You might not realize it, but your comments that mention Clinton and Lewinsky pretty much always have those details in them.

    It can be unsettling to have those images fed into the mind over and over and over, OK? Just as it would to see repeated references to the details of *anyone* else’s sexual proclivities.

    Does that make sense?

  70. @ Eagle: It would be the same if you – or anyone else – repeatedly cited details of Anita Hill’s testimony re. the statements Clarence Thomas made to her.

    or exactly what a rapist said and did to the person they raped. Same for torture and violent deaths that are matters of historical record.

    There are places we can go if we need that information (like all the specifics of how the Nazis tortured and killed Jewish people and others in the death camps). And Pol Pot – and William Calley, and (and and…).

    My training is in history, too, btw – and I don’t know that citing “history” makes it OK to drag in all the details every single time something is mentioned or discussed.

  71. @ Eagle: These are blog comments, though. Not journalism, not books, not TV or radio news, nothing like it.

    The Washington Post published the Starr Report in its entirety in a special section (yes, I read it all) in *very* small print, because it was so long. Even they had the sense to realize that some of the more graphic details didn’t need to be cited in every single news story.

    Please understand that some people are more sensitive to these kinds of things that others. Please make some room for us.

  72. @ Eagle: P.S.: you’re not the only commenter with an M.A. in history (hint, hint).

    and in no way do I condone the whitewashing of abuse, atrocities, etc. But that’s not what I’m talking about re. this.

  73. @ LFY:

    So far FB is silent, except for the folks who have commented under my share of the resignation letter (not a snarky share). The homeschool mothers are shocked, one person treated it like a joke (he must have gone in for a real hug instead of a side hug!), and one person said they were glad he’s being up-front about it. Up-front…well, maybe. I hope, I really do. But only time will tell if any genuine repentance is occurring here, or if the letter was simply an attempt to get out in front of something worse coming down the pike. Never forget that Phillips is first and foremost a lawyer.

    Your friends’ responses are really, really sad. Scarily, at least right now, I’m seeing Vision Forum actually gaining respect in some quarters for how “prudently” they’re “handling” this situation. Of course the people saying this do not know stories like Jen Epstein’s.

    And yes, definitely getting the idolatry or borderline idolatry vibe from many folks. For instance, from this article by David Murray (excerpts below), shared by one of the commenters under my FB post:

    http://headhearthand.org/blog/2013/11/01/one-vital-lesson-from-doug-phillips-resignation/

    And this morning so much of what [Phillips] built now lies in ruins, with many Christians he helped (and I include myself and my family in this) demoralized and depressed at the fall of a man in the one area that he went to war with our culture on. …

    …I dread telling my children about this; we’ve grown to love Doug Phillips over many years of homeschooling. On the other hand, God can turn it into a blessing by reminding them (and me) that the best of men are men at their best and that the Gospel of Christ is not just something we need at conversion, but every day of our lives. I also plan to read Doug’s letter of resignation with my kids, as in many ways it is a model letter of repentance and faith for Christian leaders everywhere.

    Perhaps these folks wouldn’t be so “demoralized and depressed” if they hadn’t come so close to putting Phillips in the place of God (or at least God’s mouthpiece)? Disappointed, maybe, but depressed? And the apparent emotional agony here about telling his kids unsettles me. Doug screwed up, not Jesus. In fairness to Murray, he did express some discomfort with Vision Forum’s actions the past few years, but the things he mentions have actually been there since the very beginning of VF (and actually before VF). Rose-colored glasses much?

    The truth will out.

  74. @ Dave A A:

    I am suspicious that “venting their spleen” is a highly snark infused phrase.

    “…this response is so entirely predictable.” Judgmental snark.

    “And that is what they do.” Insulting snark.

    “But for those who know how the story goes…” We are better than you snark.

    “enemies of the Lord can be readily identified.” Bible twisting snark.

    “By their glee ye shall know them.” Self-identifying snark.

  75. Addendum @ LFY:

    I’d also like to add that Phillips said nothing about resigning from the pastorate of Boerne Christian Assembly. So presumably he’s still got that job. Happy fun times at BCA, huh? 😎

    The real bombshell will be if and when the other party in the affair reveals her identity. People are already Googling to see if she has – I know this because Scarlet Letters got buku hits yesterday from search strings like “doug phillips mistress,” “who is the woman doug phillips affair,” etc. And I haven’t even posted about the resignation!

  76. @ Diane:

    Even as the sworn theological enemy of this man, I’m actually not feeling very snarky and gleeful about this at all, to be honest. 🙁

  77. Eagle wrote:

    You cannot avoid a topic because it makes you uncomfortable.

    Eagle, indeed one can should avoid topics of a nature that not only makes them uncomfortable but causes them to relive events that they may or may not be psychologically ready to delve into. When we ministered to rape victims in the ER, they were often in denial about what happened because it was too painful to deal with at that particular moment. We knew that denial is often the place of safety one retreats to until such time they are able to face/admit what happened. If I’m not mistaken, the statute of limitations has taken this fact into consideration when young victims of abuse don’t remember until much later in life. The traumatic details were suppressed because they were too painful to remember until such time they could face it.

    I personally agree with Paul’s advice: “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

    We know horrific things are happening but it’s not healthy to dwell on them, in my opinion.

  78. @ Hester:

    It is snarky of “pastor” Wilson to ASSume people are just all joyful and having a heyday about this, in my delightful opinion.

    Also find the wording of this statement rather interesting:

    “One of the reasons why men in Christian leadership have to be so careful in their lives is that this response is so entirely predictable.”

    Because God forbid the sheep that pay these professing Christian pastors’ salaries should dare question/discuss their hypocrisies/failures. Also, I would think ONE of the reasons why men in Christian leadership have to be so careful in their lives (careful how?–not to get caught?) would be because of the damage it does to the Body of Christ…but no mention of that from “pastor” Wilson.

  79. @ Diane:

    It is snarky of “pastor” Wilson to ASSume people are just all joyful and having a heyday about this, in my delightful opinion.

    I know…I haven’t actually seen that much of this yet even from VF’s detractors, to be honest. I’ve seen lots of patriarchal commenters getting very upset at those who report information and use the word “hypocrisy,” though. 😉

  80. Diane wrote:

    Also find the wording of this statement rather interesting:
    “One of the reasons why men in Christian leadership have to be so careful in their lives is that this response is so entirely predictable.”
    Because God forbid the sheep that pay these professing Christian pastors’ salaries should dare question/discuss their hypocrisies/failures. Also, I would think ONE of the reasons why men in Christian leadership have to be so careful in their lives (careful how?–not to get caught?) would be because of the damage it does to the Body of Christ…but no mention of that from “pastor” Wilson.

    My thoughts exactly. Wilson is just sorry that Phillips got caught. And WE are to blame for noticing anything unusual happened.

  81. @ Eagle:

    Exactly. And it never ceases to amaze me how much history is rewritten and spun by later generations. The Reformation is a perfect example. But, more importantly, With Clinton we have a generation who have redefined what is sex thanks to him. If there is no intercourse, there is no sex. And that was a “President’s” view on the matter influencing many teens out there watching the news.

  82. numo wrote:

    These are blog comments, though. Not journalism, not books, not TV or radio news, nothing like it.

    I have been reading that the reason there is a current push in some circles to “control” the internet is specifically because there is more freedom on the internet for individual expression. There is less chance that comments can be censored or modified by those who may want for political or religious or whatever reasons to control the flow of opinion and information by the media. The persons in control of posts and comments are the owners of the sites, not the government or the churches or the employers or whoever.

    Not to say that others may not object to this or that, but I am saying that in your comment above “nothing like it” is the very heart of the power of such sites as these. A blog is not “less than” but “more than” some other forms of written communication. If you disagree with Eagle then you have the opportunity to state your disagreement, but insisting that she (or he or whoever Eagle is) stop saying this or that lies outside the very reason that blogs like this are such a threat, apparently, to those in religious or political power who want to control other people.

    I am all for this type of “power to the people” right alongside freedom of the press and academic freedom and leaving any church that tries to silence the laity.

    As an aside: somebody mentioned whitewash. There’s that old saying “too poor to paint and too proud to whitewash.” That has nothing to do with this comment. I just like that old saying and find it applicable in various circumstances and thought to pass it on. When people actually repent, they should leave off even the whitewash.

  83. @ Victorious:

    And we are to expose evil for what it is not white wash it. Mentioning a historical fact in relation to what is going on is not “dwelling” on it.

  84. @ Diane:

    Yes. Doug Wilson is one of the snarkiest bloggers I’ve read. But he accuses others of being snarky??!!

    And this:

    “One of the reasons why men in Christian leadership have to be so careful in their lives is that this response is so entirely predictable.”

    This may be one of the reasons, but it shouldn’t be the main reason. There are more important things to be concerned about such as the affects these actions have on his wife and children, not to mention those watching his conduct. Afterall, he asked for people to watch him all the time. The excuse of not having proper accountability is a joke as well. What he did can still be done with this so called “accountability.” The problem is that he “chose” to continue these actions for a long period all by himself. He is decieving others and himself if he thinks “accountability” would have solved the issue.

    I agree that most people are not being snarky, but are justly upset, considering the teachings that have been spread via his ‘Forum.’ Most people are not gleeful.

  85. Anon 1 wrote:

    And we are to expose evil for what it is not white wash it. Mentioning a historical fact in relation to what is going on is not “dwelling” on it.

    Hi Anon 1,

    I agree. What I was referencing is dwelling on the specific details. It’s one thing to mention the crime of rape, for instance, and another to describe the gory details of torture to the victim. Again, it may be necessary for legal purposes…to determine the level of the crime; i.e. misdeanor or felony, but to continually review the torture seems to me an unhealthy interest in the morbid.

    As I see it…

  86. Anon 1 wrote:

    With Clinton we have a generation who have redefined what is sex thanks to him. If there is no intercourse, there is no sex. And that was a “President’s” view on the matter influencing many teens out there watching the news.

    As well as one Doug Phillips confessing/spinning an “emotional affair” (SEE? SEE? NO SEX! SEE? SEE? SEE?). If you define Sex as actually Inserting Tab A into Slot B, then “emotional affair” (or even Clinton/Driscoll “sex”) means you can wipe your mouth and announce “I Have Not Sinned” with a straight face.

    “The value of Semantics, My Dear Wormwood.” — Screwtape

    Though on one of the blog paths spinning off from that announcement, I read about someone who did it one better: Trained himself to NOT ejaculate at climax and redefined “Sex” as actual ejaculation; therefore he could Penetrate and still be Pure(TM).

  87. Nancy wrote:

    Here is a teaser from the book. She says that of the many “symptoms” that sociopaths exhibit, the one that is most consistent and most often missed as a symptom and the pitfall for a lot of victims is—they try to get people to pity them. Because humans tend to let people they pity get away with a lot of stuff–a lot. Who knew?

    I did. I’ve seen it in action LOTS of times. A form of blame-the-victim gaslighting where the sociopath is able to transform himself into the Poor Poor Innocent Victim and turn his victim into the Big Meanie. My brother did it to me so many times growing up I can’t even begin to count. Including turning the tears and sobbing on and off like a light switch. CLICK On! CLICK Off! CLICK On! CLICK Off!

  88. Anon 1 wrote:

    It takes a lot of guts to admit your favorite guru is a fraud. Most people don’t have the guts to admit they fell for it and desperately want to hang on to what they have believed and praticed for so long. So they prop him up because it saves face and they don’t have to go deep with themselves.

    And THAT is why it’s important for a con man to get the mark emotionally invested in the con. That way he can’t back out when he realizes he’s been taken to the cleaners — that would mean admitting he fell for the con in the first place.

  89. Victorious wrote:

    Anon 1 wrote:

    And we are to expose evil for what it is not white wash it. Mentioning a historical fact in relation to what is going on is not “dwelling” on it.

    Hi Anon 1,

    I agree. What I was referencing is dwelling on the specific details. It’s one thing to mention the crime of rape, for instance, and another to describe the gory details of torture to the victim. Again, it may be necessary for legal purposes…to determine the level of the crime; i.e. misdeanor or felony, but to continually review the torture seems to me an unhealthy interest in the morbid.

    As I see it…

    Well, if a victim needs to be quiet about details so as not to offend others or those who wish to empathize will be accused of fascination with the morbid, I have a HUGE problem with that. Some people need to tell their stories in order to move on. Some don’t. But you are attempting to censor what was on national news for many weeks that teens were watching. I think it is healthy to point out how shallow and insidious the thinking that came out of the White House during that time. Not to mention objectifying young women.

  90. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Anon 1 wrote:

    It takes a lot of guts to admit your favorite guru is a fraud. Most people don’t have the guts to admit they fell for it and desperately want to hang on to what they have believed and praticed for so long. So they prop him up because it saves face and they don’t have to go deep with themselves.

    And THAT is why it’s important for a con man to get the mark emotionally invested in the con. That way he can’t back out when he realizes he’s been taken to the cleaners — that would mean admitting he fell for the con in the first place.

    Believe me, I know. It is NO fun admitting to being an idiot! :o)

  91. @ Diane:
    Wilson may not be the king of snark, but is certainly a prince– or should I say patriarch. Patrisnark……

  92. Anon 1 wrote:

    Well, if a victim needs to be quiet about details so as not to offend others or those who wish to empathize will be accused of fascination with the morbid, I have a HUGE problem with that.

    Anon 1, I’ll just say this and then I’m finished. Please re-read my post and take note of the words “dwelling” and “continually.”

  93. I don’t see anywhere in Phillips’ statement that he refers to this as an emotional affair. Where is that coming from? When you read the resignation, he describes it as lengthy, inappropriate, romantic and affectionate. Those descriptors go beyond “emotional”.

  94. Dave A A wrote:

    The second observation has to do with the snark shown by those who see such things as an occasion for venting their spleen. One of the reasons why men in Christian leadership have to be so careful in their lives is that this response is so entirely predictable

    It’s so tiresome to hear the “Yeah, but”‘s from fellow travelers in cases like this. “yeah, what he did was wrong, but yadda, yadda, yadda [his critics are even worse]”. It’s called deflection. Focus on the wrong done by the perpetrator and quit trying to change the topic.

    I’m sorry, but anyone who puts himself in charge, preaches a male supremacist Gospel of Oppression because he’s a man and, therefore, the unchallengeable lord of all he surveys, then is caught in hypocrisy by violating the very things he teaches, has earned

    the Snarknado!

  95. @ Victorious: Ditto!

    there’s sensitivity and common sense (from a mental health perspective) involved here. I can’t stress that enough – especially since so many survivors of sexual abuse (and other traumas) post and read here on a regular basis.

  96. @ Victorious:
    and it was how long ago?

    not only that… I bet that Monica L. has to cope with the emotional fallout from that period of media frenzy every single day of her life. she was young and made a bad choice – does she deserve to go to her grave with scars from bad “jokes” and comments? I don’t think so.

    again, though, my main point is about not needing to write comments with the details and images that are created as a result. please show some kindness toward those who – for whatever reason(s) – find it difficult. in very poor taste, or some combination thereof. in other words, TMI!

  97. JeffT wrote:

    the Snarknado!

    Saturday at 9 on the SyFy channel!
    Seriously, I’m amazed at how quickly the deflection started on this one. One blogger even deflected the blame to The Devil. “Satan tempted Doug extra-special hard ’cause he’s doing so much good”, to paraphrase.

  98. @ Victorious: I keep my exposure to TV news to a minimum because being flooded with images of suffering, pain and disaster is just way too much for me.

    mostly, I get news from print media and radio, but I choose what to read – and I turn down the volume a LOT.

    knowing one’s limitations – and being sensitive to those of others – is a good thing, Mimi.

  99. @ M. Joy:

    I think a commenter above may have referred to it as an emotional affair? Though rereading Phillips’ statement more carefully just now – you’re right. And if we’re defining “know in a Biblical sense” as “intercourse,” then that leaves the door open to all sorts of things.

    Holy crap. How did I not see that earlier?

  100. numo wrote:

    @ Victorious: Ditto!

    there’s sensitivity and common sense (from a mental health perspective) involved here. I can’t stress that enough – especially since so many survivors of sexual abuse (and other traumas) post and read here on a regular basis.

    Guess Eagle and I have no “common sense” :o) Here is one for ya:

    http://crecmemes.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/depends-on-what-the-meaning-of-the-word-is-is/

    Some stuff does not die for a reason. And Monica’s president should have been protecting her virtue. Maybe she did not research some of the very public history of the man she went to intern for? Maybe she did not care? I will never forget the image of Muslim women holding up signs saying “No bombs for Monica”. But then, I have no common sense or I would not mention it. (wink)

  101. Perhaps like Numo, I have felt some compassion for Monica Lewinski for some years. I don’t know what she’s is actually like but I’m thinking her life and relationships have probably been a wee painful since the 90s. I would hope she might find Christ’ favor in her life.

  102. Hester/M Joy

    I put the comment on the top of the home page. If you read some of the commentary around the blogosphere, Phillips made it clear that there was no physical side to the relationship (although I am most suspicious about that as are many other people). Assuming there was no spiritual aspect to this (ala Mark Sanford who found his “soulmate”) that left emotional and/or intellectual. I was putting my own spin on it. Sorry for any confusion.

  103. Deeb –

    You might want a copy of the recent “World” magazine. They are reporting on news that blogs have been covering for months.

  104. On the subject of Clinton and Lewinski, whenever their names are used in the same sentance I have no need for details. The details have been shared so often that the names being used are enough to bring the details straight to my mind, sadly 🙁

  105. Anon 1 wrote:

    But, more importantly, With Clinton we have a generation who have redefined what is sex thanks to him. If there is no intercourse, there is no sex. And that was a “President’s” view on the matter influencing many teens out there watching the news.

    I think the teens can handle it. If anything, I’d venture to say that the teens thought Bubba’s antics with Lewinsky and Cuban cigars were more funny than anything else. What I’d want a classroom full of teens to wrap their heads around is how Clinton signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act and how it enabled a cabal of financial criminals to pull off the biggest heist in American history and make us pay for the fallout to boot.

  106. Pingback: Truth in Advertising | Thinking Out Loud UNITED STATES

  107. I don’t know the specifics of Platt’s particular situation, but in some cases, the danger involved is not because of the immediate location, but because of the location of attenders. If people come to Dubai from other parts of the Middle East for this conference they may be in danger when they return home. I have taught overseas before in some locations that were perfectly safe for the teaching, but it was dangerous for those who were coming because the countries they came from did not allow them leave for the teaching. In a few cases, some of the students were arrested and held upon returning from the teaching. So there may be more to this than is evident at first glance.

    On the other hand, it might be a shameless attempt to mislead or misrepresent. I have no idea … But there is another side that isn’t being presented here.

  108. @ Gene:

    But that doesn’t make sense. This conference was heavily advertised. Yet, it was said that Platt was preaching from an undisclosed location. Remember, this observation is by a man who is living in the area and has for some time. Not some outside observer.

    If it is being advertised in the city and people are freely entering in and out of that venue, one can be sure that any radicalized group could stand outside and see who is coming in and out since the event was advertised openly. Do you not think that any “let’s kill the newly converted Christians” might not say something like, “Hey, Ahmed. Let’s see whose coming in and out, take pictures and then go and
    do something to them?” It would be so easy.

    I think this is one of those Christianese type deals, pretending that we are really being secretive when any Tom, Dick and Harry can figure out what is going on. The ad said Platt was speaking from an undisclosed location. He wasn’t and anyone with a computer could find out.

    I am willing to consider any logical alternative but I haven’t heard one yet. Until I do, I have to say that this sound like a marketing gambit. And we know that today’ s churches loooove the marketing stuff.

  109. Actually, it makes perfect sense if you understand the issues. It’s not about someone standing outside a venue and watching who goes in. It’s about someone flying out of one country and going to another (that is free and open) and then returning, and arousing suspicion. I know it has happened, that people I have taught have to a place like Dubai that is completely open and free. They have met in a public place that has been advertised as a Christian church/organization. And upon returning to their country, they are detained, questioned, and arrested for it. Some of them are still being watched, jeopardizing other Christians that they come in contact with.

    Now, that may not be the case here. I don’t know. But I am suggesting the scenario is not unlikely.

  110. Gene wrote:

    It’s about someone flying out of one country and going to another (that is free and open) and then returning, and arousing suspicion.

    I still do not understand how that applies here. I do understand the issues. Todd Wilhelm understands it even better than almost everyone since he lives there.

    David Platt’s talk was widely advertised in the Middle East, leading up to the talk. The location was also widely advertised. Only LifeWay advertised it as an “undisclosed” location although everyone in the Middle East would have easily found out about it locally. It appears quite ridiculous.I think I must be a dunderhead but I do not see how things would be more secretive if only LifeWay said it was in an undisclosed location.

  111. Just to clarify, the “issues” I am speaking of are not the issues of this particular meeting, but the issues of Christian work in restricted access countries. I am not sure you understand that, or you would understand my point. I do not know about Dubai. I do not know this author that you speak of, or how well aware he is of the issues. I don’t know anything about this conference. I have no doubt that some would exaggerate matters to sensationalize them. Even blogs do that sometimes.

    What I know for a fact is that simply meeting in a free and unrestricted place is not enough in some places. The meeting may be free and open, but participants from certain locations may be endangered on their return home by their presence at a free and open location. So my only point is to offer a possible reason why something might be publicized in a particular way. If that doesn’t apply to this situation, then it doesn’t. But it may help give your readers (and yourself apparently) a perspective of which you were not previously aware.

  112. Gene wrote:

    But it may help give your readers (and yourself apparently) a perspective of which you were not previously aware.

    Trying not to stomp my foot due to frustration.

    I am most definitely aware of other Muslims countries that are not as open as Dubai(UAE). My husband and I support a medical missionary to one such location. And in that location, one must be very cautious not to discuss one’s faith. And I do know that men and woman are sometimes killed for their faith. I have always been a vocal supporter of Voice of the Martyrs.

    Back in the days when Russia was a closed country, I toured and took the TransSiberian Railroad to Novosibirsk. I brought several Bible with me and left them behind since, in those days, accessing Bibles was difficult. I am, and was, deeply aware of those persecuted, imprisoned and killed for the faith.

    I doubt that there is a Christian, or even a secularist, who would disagree on that matter. One would have to be stupid not to understand such a thing. I can assure that the readers on this blog are neither stupid or unaware. Since you are well aware of these matters, I am sure you have seen this article by Kristen Powers who is a recent convert to Christianity.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/09/27/a-global-slaughter-of-christians-but-america-s-churches-stay-silent.html

    The countries who persecute were not the intent of this post. In fact, if you carefully read it, we make sure that this post was directed specifically at the situation in Dubai. Within that country there is a good relationship between the leaders and those of different faiths. Not every country in that region march lockstep and we need to carefully expose the differences.

    To pretend that Dubai is a closed country to the expression of Christianity is not right. When you have leaders who are doing something good, Christians should say thank you and encourage that behavior. Can you imagine how the leaders who gave money for the building of churches must feel when you have a group like LifeWay pretending that Platt is in deep cover hiding from obviously murderous leaders? That is just plain wrong and insensitive and a misstep, IMO.

  113. Let me add my two cents to the ongoing conversation between Gene and Dee. I understand Gene’s point that some people who travel to Dubai could return to their own country and face difficulties for activities they participated in while in Dubai. And some of these countries do have people here who attempt to keep an eye on their citizens activities while in the UAE. I think specifically of Iran. Saudi Arabia may also fit the bill. To a lesser extent Afghanistan. Afghanistan probably doesn’t have the resources to keep track of their people in other countries, but I am sure if they found out one of their citizens had converted to Christianity and was attending meetings in the UAE they would make his life difficult upon his return. I have heard that there have been some Christian leaders from various countries who have been in Dubai for some intensive Christian training and it is legitimate to keep a low profile on these types of things.

    The event carried out by David Platt and his publisher, LifeWay, had nothing to do with situations like I mentioned above, and which I think Gene is probably speaking about. Platt’s event was advertised on the web site of Redeemer Christian Church of Dubai. They were attempting to get members from their church to attend the event at the Marriott. As I outlined in my post on the subject it was purely a publicity stunt staged to impact Platt’s American market. Everything about it was phony. No secret location, no chance of participants losing their lives, no live simulcast, no need for blacking out the faces of 3 or 4 of the “locals” interviewed, one of whom was Dave Furman, the senior pastor of Redeemer church, etc, etc. I found the whole charade repulsive and a slap in the face to Christians who really face pain, suffering and persecution for their faith.

    So, yes I understand Gene’s point. But believe me Gene, Platt’s book promotion put nobody in jeopardy. It was a cheeky publicity stunt intended to increase Platt’s book sales, plain and simple.

  114. Thanks, TW for reading what I said. You have correctly understood my comments.

    Dee, if anyone should be stomping their foot in frustration, it should be me. From my first post on this, I specifically said I didn’t know the specifics of the situation in Dubai, but the issue I was addressing was people coming from other places. So when you say, “To pretend that Dubai is a closed country to the expression of Christianity is not right,” you are agreeing with me. I didn’t pretend that. I don’t know why you continually posted against me when in fact you agree with me. You even in your last post admit that you know what I am talking about. And yet for some reason you kept posting as if you were disagreeing with me when in fact you aren’t.

    Then you post on another thread that I am trying to tell you you don’t understand the situation over there. Well, again, if you read what I said, you will know I never said anything about understand the situation over “there” in Dubai. In fact, I specifically said I don’t know the specifics of that. I was addressing the issues of people coming from restricted access nations to free nations and experiencing difficulty when they return.

    TW seems to get it. I am not sure why you didn’t. I appreciate you posting my comments, and your interaction. I just wish your interaction had been with what I had actually said.

  115. @ Gene: Here is what you said in your initial response to me.

    “But there is another side that isn’t being presented here.”

    The side that was presented in the post had to do with Platt/LifeWay stating that he was speaking from an undisclosed location due to the potential harm that could be caused to Platt and those attending the talk. That has been the focus of my comments. I keep coming back to that point.

    Either it was or it wasn’t an undisclosed location. It is obvious from the ads locally that it was a disclosed location. Therefore, the claim was not true. “Is it true or is it false?” are the two sides of the coin.You claim that there was another “side” that was not being discussed.

    The fact that people can come from other countries and then get into trouble when they return was not part of the equation for me. I said in my last comment that i understand that people are getting killed in the Muslim world for converting to Christianity. That was not part of the equation in judging whether or not that Platt was in an “undisclosed” location.

    I know this might not make sense to you but unfortunately is does to me. For me, it would be like saying that there is another side to this story and then addressing the fact that women might get in trouble for not wearing an hajib in Dubai when they return to their country.

    I am trying to interact with what you said. It is obvious that we are not connecting. If you wish to blame that fully on me, then do so. I admit to being dense at times. It took me about 2 weeks to fully understand the RVU system in my husband’s hospital and that is with him sitting next to me and slowly sketching it out for me. Then, there are the downs in football….

  116. @ Gene:
    I now realize why i am having trouble talking with you. I just did an IP search and had a good time rereading your comments over time. It was interesting to discover that conversations like the one we just had are part and parcel of your communication style. You have argued on issues surrounding Paige Patterson and your views on creationism. You have called people liars and have been moderated for doing so.

    I believe it was Anon1 who said you would argue people off a meat truck.

    So, now I understand why I have been having particular trouble communicating with you. I am not the only one and that is no lie. Therefore, I have decided that I made my points known and so have you. There is absolutely no reason for me to continue to dialogue with you. I just saw how that turned out in a whole bunch of comments. It will continue to go downhill and I plan to have a nice evening!

  117. numo wrote:

    @ Eagle: Hey there fella – I have a request for you.
    I’m wondering if you might be able to refer to Clinton (etc.) without mentioning cigars, stains, etc.? Maybe I’m squeamish, but I find it all distasteful (not because I’m a prude; more because it’s all WAY more than I EVER wanted to know about their affair). I realize that these details are matters of public record, but then, so are the offensive things that C. Thomas said to Anita Hill (and, apparently, to other women).

    Haha….poor Anita Hill. The woman who got a $25K an hour on the speaking circuit and became filthy rich, all for trying to ruin a man’s life. Sigh…..
    Not sure if you know anyone who’s told you about their own encounters with sexual harassment (etc.), but for some of us, these reminders of the admittedly sordid details re. Clinton and M. Lewinski really don’t help much.
    Hope you understand, and that I’m not coming across as censorious. I’ve been less direct about this in the past, but I figured that it’s now or never.
    and I’m sure I’m not the only woman who finds the reported details to be distasteful.
    Enough said!
    best – and thanks,
    n.

  118. @ Eagle:

    Good spot, Eagle.

    I note this quote from the end of Mr Piper’s article:

    People are kept in the dark even as believers when their leaders give them distorted fragments of the Bible.

    I know what he means (in context, he’s referring to people who’ve been taught the hardline “prosperity gospel”). But really, people are kept in the dark even as believers when their leaders do not teach them to read the Bible, and hear the Holy Spirit, for themselves.

  119. @ Eagle:
    I hate the way Neo-Calvinism gets spread as the “correct” gospel. I disagree with the prosperity gospel to, but Neo-Calvinism is no better, it just binds people into legalism.