Is This Church Discipline Acts 29 Style?

The church also said that church discipline is rare at Mars Hill: "Out of 5,417 members, we currently have nine church discipline cases in process, which represents 0.17% of our members." Rarer still, the church said, are leaders overstepping their authority through church discipline. "By and large," the blog post said, "the process adheres to biblical standards, is healthy and loving, and results in restoration."

Mars Hill Says It Released Leaders Over Church Discipline Cases, Christianity Today (2/17/12)

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=40263&picture=hand-silhouetteHand Silhouette

It appears church discipline plays a prominent role in Acts 29 (A29) churches, even though Mars Hill claims that church discipline is rare within its ranks.  Now that more and more information is leaking out about how A29 pastors behave when we believe they are being legitimately challenged, we find this quote from a year and a half ago perplexing:  'Rarer still … are leaders overstepping their authority through church discipline"

We wanted to learn more about church discipline from the Acts 29 website and came across this:  Church Discipline:  Biblical Responses to Various Sins & Errors (written by Mark Driscoll).  The A29 post includes the following:

This document is intended to identify various kinds of sins and their appropriate responses. My hope is that this document will help us to be a discerning church that best cares for our people by obeying the counsel of Scripture. To do so we must seek God's wisdom through prayer in each situation, as James 1:5 instructs.

Just below this excerpt is a link to the complete article.  Funny thing, I have tried to download it numerous times to no avail.  If anyone has this important Acts 29 document, would you please let us know.  We are desperately trying to understand the rules of the game in Acts 29 churches.  How are A29 members supposed to know what sins call for church discipline if they can't access this important document.  Here's another conundrum — the link to the audio teaching on church discipline doesn't appear to be working either.  Hmmm…..

Update 12/10/13 9AM Thank you  to our awesome readers who help us in our job. Here is a link that Daisy sent us from WayBack Machine (You can scrub but the internet is forever!) LINK

So what are the rules according to Acts 29 churches, and just who gets to determine them?  Becky, who provided this testimony, had no idea that raising legitimate questions and concerns would result in church discipline.

As a follow-up to Becky's story, we want to share with our readers the correspondence she and her husband Brian received from the elders of Countryside Church.  Do all Acts 29 churches carry out church discipline in this manner?

To:         Brian and Becky ______

From:   The Eldership of Countryside Church

March 16, 2011

The purpose of this letter is to formally communicate that you are no longer considered members of Countryside Church and that members of Countryside Church will be asked to remove any fellowship with you.

You have been called to repentance by the eldership and in following Christ's instructions in Matthew 18:15-20, you are now considered to be outside of our fellowship because of your refusal to repent.

We pray that God will grant you repentance.  Becky, we pray that you would repent of gossip, slander, deception, lying, failing to submit to your husband and failing to submit to your church leaders.  Brian we pray that you would repent of failure to submit to God's Word by failing to lead your wife by continuing to ignore her unrepentant sin in your relationship and home.

This warning and call to repentance has been discussed with you at length through the declaration of scripture and the call to obey God's Word.  You have denied its power and remained in sin.  It grieves us to remove you from our fellowship, but we must obey God's Word and leading.

We would take great joy in welcoming you back to Countryside Church if God should grant you repentance in these matters.

Sincerely,

The Elders of Countryside Church

About a week later the following was sent to the Countryside Community. 

To:        Countryside Christian Community

From:   The Eldership of Countryside Church

RE:  Church discipline and warning to congregation

March 24, 2011

Dear Countryside Community,

The purpose of this letter is to formally communicate that the eldership has notified Brian and Becky ______ that they are no longer considered members of Countryside Church and that the members of Countryside Church will be asked to remove any fellowship with them.

Brian and Becky have been called to repentance by the eldership and in following Christ's instructions in Matthew 18:15-20, they are now considered to be outside of our fellowship because of their refusal to repent.

We pray that God will grant them repentance.  Becky has refused to repent of gossip, slander, deception, lying, failing to submit to her husband and failing to submit to church leadership.  Brian has refused to repent of failing to submit to God's Word by failing to lead his wife by continuing to ignore her unrepentant sin in their relationship, home, and in the church.

This warning and call to repentance has been discussed with Brian and Becky at length through the declaration of scripture and the call to obey God's Word.  They have denied its power and remain in sin.  It grieves us to remove them from our fellowship, but we must obey God's Word and leading.

We would take great joy in welcoming them back to our fellowship at Countryside Church if God should grant them repentance in these matters. 

We warn you, the church, to not fellowship with, nor listen to the continued lies, gossip, and slander that come from Brian and/or Becky.  This sin has harmed many souls and is contrary to the teaching of God's Word.  May our refusal of fellowship honor God through obedience and may God use this obedience in granting and leading this family to repentance.

To the Glory of God,

The Elders of Countryside Church

To the glory of God???  Can you believe this WARNING from the church elders: 

We warn you, the church, to not fellowship with, nor listen to the continued lies, gossip, and slander that come from Brian and/or Becky. 

Furthermore, can you imagine that elders in Acts 29 churches have this kind of control over parishioners?  How frightening!  What's worse, this is a divide and conquer strategy.  If the elders can prevent those attending the church from having contact with those who have left, they can keep those who remain in the dark and under the pastors' authoritah (link).

I have spoken with Becky on several occasions and have found her to be articulate, sincere, and deeply concerned about what is going on in the Acts 29 Network.  After reading the above correspondence from the Countryside elders, I am equally concerned.  As she shared in her testimony, Pastor Kevin Galloway never once met with her to listen to her concerns.   

Over two and a half years have passed since Becky and her family were excommunicated from Countryside Christian Church.  It was a community of believers she loved, and she continues to grieve over what happened.  Here are Becky's thoughts:

As I sit here this evening reflecting back on my experiences in the Acts 29 network I cannot believe how far I have come. God's grace is amazing. I came to my now church home beaten, defeated, by the personal attacks orchestrated to either force me to conform or shut up. I was broken. My husband felt torn down and beaten up for not meeting Mark Driscoll's ungodly standards of male leadership in our home, and my oldest daughter just said to heck with this and walked away from God and out of the church. She has not been back since! 

We could not know when that Police Officer escorted us out of our church home it would turn out that  morning was the worst and the best thing that ever happened to us, God brought us out of Egypt kicking and screaming with tears on our faces. We so could not see the big picture or how he planted us in our new church that very same day.  Nor could we conceive of the healing that would happen in our new church
home….

My experience is not new, it is happening even now around the country in well established churches that make the mistake of involving themselves in the network. They don't realize what they have invited in. In no short time their well established patterns of worship will be disrupted to make them seem cooler or more relevant (OH HOW I HATE THAT WORD), deacons will leave and be replaced by less mature younger men that worship at the altar of self-importance Mark has built for them. Men who will not question for they themselves have become indoctrinated. The old way of doing things will be looked at with disdain and those wonderful saints of God that we owe so much to will be diminished. They, you see are Not relevant. Before you know it the pastor will be hawking Mark's latest plagiarized book from the pulpit, and the only thing you will study in your small groups is the pastor's sermon from last week! Your learning materials will come from Acts 29 ONLY. Everything you do at church becomes part of a large model designed to assimilate established churches.

Your church is being forced to mold itself into Mars Hill's image and you better get on board or you know, there is the door. Women almost always see a sudden shift in their status; we go from having roles in the church and maybe even positions to being told our only role of importance or relevance is in our homes and how well we obey our husbands. Notice not a lot of mention about husbands obeying God. And as you began to lose those precious saints whose tithing keeps everything in motion, you stop supporting your missionaries because you cannot afford them after many years of being faithful.  You look around bewildered because so many of the families you know and love are just gone.  Sundays become scary, and you must watch what you say and who you talk to.

All the while this is happening those in church leadership bury their heads in the sand, refusing to see the writing on the wall, hell bent on following the mission. It doesn't matter to them if they lose the building; they will just try and sell it so they can take the money and run to the next building. And when that plan tanks, they — the pastors, deacons and men in charge — will rob the church building, plundering anything of value to take with them. It does not matter that they did NOT pay for any of it and that it all belongs to a soon to be foreclosed on property. Nope, they steal again from the sheep, devouring what they can find all the while talking about their new church and Acts 29. With nothing left but the spoils of war they move on, leaving a once thriving thirty year old church and building in their wake.

My message to everyone is this: This happened to Countryside Christian Church in Michigan City.  We lost it all because one man's words were more important than scripture. Our food pantry closed, Celebrate Recovery closed, and we deserted our missionaries because our leaders would rather we pay their $400.00/month cell phone bill than honor our commitments. The church credit card is used for personal purchases and when that is discovered by a few then they are shown the door.  All the while Satan is laughing at us all. Wake up church…we need to repent from the gospel of relevance and all the self-importance that it breeds. The world needs us to be salt and light, it needs a standard to attain!!!! Wake up you sleepers!!!

To end this somber post on a more cheerful note, we leave you with this humorous clip.  We earnestly pray that congregants in Acts 29 affiliated churches will be discerning if and when they are asked to shun certain individuals in the future.   

Lydia's Corner:   Isaiah 15:1-18:7   Galatians 1:1-24   Psalm 58:1-11   Proverbs 23:12

Comments

Is This Church Discipline Acts 29 Style? — 290 Comments

  1. When women are removed from many responsible roles in the church, beware.

    That’s what happened at our church.

    First the women were removed. Then the bullying began.

    I’m so happy to have left! I’m at a healthy church now.

  2. “My husband felt torn down and beaten up for not meeting Mark Driscoll’s ungodly standards of male leadership in our home”

    Man even Mark Driscoll can’t even follow his own standards…so why does he expect others to follow his ridiculous standards?

  3. When I was in college I got entangled in Mormonism. I went to a number of LDS services and debated about getting baptized. Many Mormons that I rubbed shoulders with were former Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc… I was surprised at the time but today I look back and realize how many Christians are naive and get sucked into movements like Mormonism. But I wouldn’t end there….I think many Christians get sucked into organizations like Acts 29 for the same reasons.

    And why? For social activity? Friendship? Community? Is that why you go to church? Just so you can have a million new friends and people who are cool, hip and your age? If that’s the reason why you go to church then I should have been baptized Mormon and enjoyed the benefits of the LDS faith. No one comes close to doing church as well….not Acts 29, AND certainly NOT Sovereign Grace, etc…

    I also notice how Acts 29 has successfully uses techniques that the Mormons are infamous for…especially the part about shunning. Mormons do a good job in shunning ex-Mormons…who knows…maybe Mark Driscoll plagiarized Joseph Smith, too! 😛

  4. Sorry, it appears this direction leads to the same dead link for the article though you may download the mp3

  5. Becky read this…it’s from an Ex-Mormon webpage…it’s how Mormons do shunning…

    Upon discovery that my worst fears were true and Mormonism has a false foundation, I could not abide by any teaching after that. I resigned my membership by letter notification to my Bishop, Stake President and to Church Membership headquarters in SLC, UT. I heard nothing for months. Almost immediately after a new Bishop was installed in my ward I received a letter stating (unbeknownst to me) a church disciplinary court had been held and I was officially ex-communicated “to preserve the integrity of the church.”
    My X husband was informed and from there it was taken to my five children and 9 siblings as well as to my parents via the X. It has been 10 years. Absolutely no contact from any of my family since. Good, bad, or indifferent. Except to say my angel Mother who was given the sad task of delivering the message to me that I am considered dead to the family. My children and my siblings as well as my Father. Mom tries to re-convert me, but no go. At least she still speaks to me.
    I see the little missionary boys ride past my home. They refuse to return my “hello” and quickly ride bikes past. 10 YEARS! So, I suppose and answer to your question… yes. Others have had your experience.

    —-

    Also read this link….

    http://exmormon.org/d6/drupal/Being-shunned-common-if-you-decide-to-not-join-Mormonism

  6. @ Ian Elsasser:

    I had the same result, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

    Hopefully, someone with better computer skills than I can access this document using technology such as the Wayback Machine.

  7. Is This Church Discipline Acts 29 Style?

    Yes.

    Anymore questions? 🙂

    Never say never, but it is doubtful I will ever formally join a church again. I am unconvinced that membership, as portrayed by Acts 29 and 9Marks, is biblical.

  8. Daisy wrote:

    Wayback Machine, Sept 2008 snapshot

    What I particularly love is their “Sample Church Complaint Form” on page 12.

    Sample Church Complaint Form
    Before leaving your comments, please check one or more of the following that apply: I am a
    ___ gossip
    ___ blasphemer
    ___ false teacher
    ___ nitpicker
    ___ wingnut
    ___ liar
    ___ hypocrite
    ___ unrepentant pervert
    ___ otherwise sinful person
    If you checked any of the boxes, please write your comments below and then deposit this form in one of the large, black, plastic “comment receptacles” found near the entrances. Thank you.

    So you can only complain if you admit that you are a hypocrite, unrepentant pervert, false teacher, gossip, etc.

    Ant then, of course, they will dismiss your complaint for exactly those reasons.

    Catch 22, anyone?

    This is definitely abusive and downright dangerous. The more I read about Acts29 and MHC, they more I think that they are the false teachers, the wolves in sheeps’ clothing, the hirelings the bible warns us against.

    If you meet them, people, run! Run for your life!

  9. gus wrote:

    deposit this form in one of the large, black, plastic “comment receptacles” found near the entrances

    I overlooked this – they ARE talking about the waste containers/rubbish bins, aren’t they? THey are a completely cynical bunch.

    When Shakespeare wrote Sonnet 129 he probably had another lust in mind, but the lust for power displayed by these people is not that different:

    lust / Is perjured, murd’rous, bloody, full of blame,/
    Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,/

  10. TW wrote:

    I am unconvinced that membership, as portrayed by Acts 29 and 9Marks, is biblical.

    I would agree. HOWEVER, I am a big believer in congregational church government, and for this to work, there needs to be some system of membership, so it is clear who is entitled to vote.

  11. TW wrote:

    I am unconvinced that membership, as portrayed by Acts 29 and 9Marks, is biblical.

    I’d put it one step more strongly: I am convinced that membership, as portrayed by Acts 29 and 9Marks, is not biblical.

    Quite apart from the hierarchical authority structure they propagate, which is a direct snub to the explicit instructions given by Jesus to the apostles, this kind of membership creates isolated subgroups within the local church that determinedly abandon the assembling of themselves together.

    Oddly enough, the same diversity of church traditions that keeps Christians in the local church apart from one another, could be a great advantage. Both “heavy shepherding” and abusive leadership would be much harder to sustain if those involved had to give proper account to a wider church that was not steeped in their own theological assumptions.

  12. Ian wrote:

    I would agree. HOWEVER, I am a big believer in congregational church government, and for this to work, there needs to be some system of membership, so it is clear who is entitled to vote.

    I am undecided on church polity Ian. The form of polity I experienced in the 9Marksdever church in Dubai is congregational in name, but in practice it is a benevolent dictatorship. We did not vote on the hiring of pastors, we were not allowed to nominate men for elders, we did not vote on church plants or the pastor who would become the pastor at the church plant. We were asked to vote on whether people should be granted church membership, but this was a rubber stamp formality. Potential members were interviewed by an elder and then we were shown a photo of the member and given a brief bio by the interviewing elder. Proposed elders were voted on, but again, only those put forth by the elders (in actuality the senior pastor) were allowed to be voted on, and again this was a rubber stamp vote. (A beautiful display of unity, no doubt!)

    Perhaps I would favor a true congregational polity if I ever saw one in action, but I currently lean in favor of a presbyterian form of polity.

  13. Dee
    This is the full text.

    Church Discipline: Biblical Responses to Various Sins & Errors
    Tuesday, April 11, 2006
    Acts 29 Regional [NW]
    Taught by Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church
    Introduction √ Eleven Guiding Principles
    Throughout the life seasons of a church community, there are invariably times in which sin and error need to be addressed. Therefore, it is imperative for the people of God to know the various means of resolution God has given in His Word for addressing sins and errors. Each is intended to negatively root out the conditions hindering the learning of holiness and positively teach repentant holiness.
    This document is intended to identify various kinds of sins and their appropriate responses. My hope is that this document will help us to be a discerning church that best cares for our people by obeying the counsel of Scripture. To do so we must seek God«s wisdom through prayer in each situation, as James 1:5 instructs.
    Sadly, there is very little written on the subject of church discipline because so few churches actually practice it with any degree of consistency. Worse still, most of the books on church discipline that I have read are based upon tragic exegetical errors. It is a common error for Matthew 18:15¬22 to be used as some sort of blueprint for how to deal with all church-related sin when that is not its original intent. Instead, the Bible provides multiple responses to various people and their sins and heresies. This requires Christians and Christian leaders to use great discernment so they can apply the correct process to each situation rather than either avoiding church discipline altogether or seeking to resolve all issues in the same manner.
    Before we begin, it is imperative that we start with the objectives of Scripture on the matter of church discipline.
    1. When sin has come between people, the goal is repentance and reconciliation.
    2. When a wrong has been committed, the goal is resolution and recompense.
    3. Church leaders must always pursue the protection of the gospel«s reputation and the well-being of the entire church, not just the interests of individual people who have sinned. This explains why sometimes individuals must be put out of the church (Deut. 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:24; 24:7; 1 Cor. 5:13; 2 Cor. 2:7; Rev. 2:2).
    4. Christian leaders are given authority over such matters in the church and must be careful not to in any way abuse the power that God has entrusted to them (1 Peter 5:1¬5).
    5. Discipline is unpleasant but, in the end, produces a holy people by distinguishing between the world and the church (Heb. 12:11).
    6. The goal of church discipline is to make people self-disciplined, which is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus (Gal. 5:23).
    1
    7. All matters in the church, including church discipline, are to be done in a fitting and orderly manner (1 Cor. 14:40).
    8. Because the situations causing church discipline can be incredibly frustrating, it is important that those involved don«t let their anger lead them into sin (Prov. 16:32; 17:27).
    9. For the truth to emerge, both sides of a dispute must be heard before a decision is reached (Prov. 18:17).
    10. When at all possible, multiple witnesses should be required (Deut. 19:15; 2 Cor. 13:1).
    11. The communion table is a regular time appointed by God when His people are to be reminded that unrepentant sin and unnecessary division in the church are unacceptable to a holy God; therefore, urgent matters are to be settled before partaking the Lord«s Supper (1 Cor. 11:17¬32).
    2
    Responses to a Sinning Christian
    When a Christian sins against another Christian

  14. I was just thinking that, according to Matthew 18, if someone truly is in sin and unrepentant, we are to treat them as an unbeliever. So how do we treat unbelievers? Do we shun them, or do we relate to them in love, ultimately hoping that they return to the faith? Me thinks the latter.

  15. Pingback: Be true to your cult — or else! | Civil Commotion

  16. Former CLC'er wrote:

    I was just thinking that, according to Matthew 18, if someone truly is in sin and unrepentant, we are to treat them as an unbeliever. So how do we treat unbelievers? Do we shun them, or do we relate to them in love, ultimately hoping that they return to the faith? Me thinks the latter.

    Excellent insight!

  17. Janey wrote:

    When women are removed from many responsible roles in the church, beware. That’s what happened at our church. First the women were removed. Then the bullying began. I’m so happy to have left! I’m at a healthy church now.

    …,……………………….. Yes I would agree women being removed from responsible positions is a big red flag to congregants. Really though, the bullying starts when men in leadership believe women are spiritually inferior.

  18. Becky and Brian,

    We are all grieved by the wickedness you had to endure, but we THANK YOU for speaking up and for enduring in the faith. That is the best part of this story.

    Dee and Deb,

    Thank you for posting the actual letter(s) that the church leadership sent out. Those are just SHOCKINGLY OFFENSIVE. Obviously, none of us who were not present can verify what happened in various conversations or encounters, but the letters speak for themselves, and that is the value of posts like this for me.

    Here are my fears:

    1. That letters like that are the “new normal” in Acts29 / 9Marks / SGM / T4G type churches.

    2. That too many Christians have drunk the KoolAid, lost their basic humanity, and approve of such letters.

    One final off-the-main-point comment:

    Such a letter is a violation of my denomination’s (the PCA) church polity/government in about a thousand ways. Disturbingly, that has not kept these sorts of things from happening in my denomination anyway. I have no idea how widely this sort of thing happens in my denomination, but even once is one time too many. If anyone here at TWW has ever received such a letter from a PCA church, I hope you will have the courage that Becky and Brian have shown and tell your story as well. I do not presume to know or say to whom or in what venue, but tell it you must. You are the salt and light of the world, and the world that is within the church.

  19. Former CLC’er wrote:

    I was just thinking that, according to Matthew 18, if someone truly is in sin and unrepentant, we are to treat them as an unbeliever. So how do we treat unbelievers? Do we shun them, or do we relate to them in love, ultimately hoping that they return to the faith? Me thinks the latter.

    I know what you mean, but I want to chip in one more variable: not all unbelievers are the same.

    The trouble is that this debate is inevitably clouded by the context, which is a perversion of “church” discipline applied by leaders to protect their own influence against people who try to shine a light on their misdeeds. In other words, it’s a case of believers suffering for the cause of Christ, being punished by unrepentantly sinful men holding church office.

    Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18 addressed a situation in which actual sin is going on. It was not about supporting trumped-up charges of “gossip”, “slander” and “divisiveness” which are themselves slanderous, and are the primary refuge of false leadership whenever it is held to account.

    We encountered a genuine gossip and slanderer this year, who among other things tried to spread some very nasty rumours about our marriage. We wish it could have been otherwise, but we certainly had no doubts about making it clear to her that we would have nothing more to do with her while she persisted in unrepentant sin. And had she never professed to be a Christian, we would still not have associated with her; it was a very unpleasant experience.

  20. @ Lin:
    Lin, I think you’re partially. But the way it happened at our mego-church was subtle.

    First they decided to elevate the stature of the committee chairs to “elders.” When my mother was in charge of the Christian Ed committee, she was the “Chairman of the C.E. Committee,” but over time, the word was changed to “elder.”

    Once the pastor did that, then he could point to Titus and 1 Timothy and claim that elders had to be men.

    Slowly but surely all of the responsible women were moved out of key positions.

  21. Daisy wrote:

    Church Discipline Document

    This document is not indicting, in my opinion. Except for the foolish complaint list at the end, it addresses legitimate issues with scripture. However, it sounds like a version of the sermon given prior to my excommunication (laden with similar scriptures, heavy on “love” and “restoration”, yada yada). Where both systems fall apart, I think, is in the “twilight chamber” as you call it here. Before the masses, the leaders prop themselves up with gospelly words and even right-on doctrine, and behind the scenes what plays out is perverse, harsh, cruel, and totally unrighteous. I think what this document illustrates is one of three things: That some Acts 29 churches are delusional (blinded by their own glory) or hypocritical (ok with spouting one thing and doing the opposite) or blinded to the truth of scripture (unregenerate, perhaps).

    What gags me about all of these disciplinary actions is that they are carried out to “protect the reputation of Jesus Christ”. Unbelievable.

  22. Janey wrote:

    @ Lin:
    Lin, I think you’re partially. But the way it happened at our mego-church was subtle.
    First they decided to elevate the stature of the committee chairs to “elders.” When my mother was in charge of the Christian Ed committee, she was the “Chairman of the C.E. Committee,” but over time, the word was changed to “elder.”
    Once the pastor did that, then he could point to Titus and 1 Timothy and claim that elders had to be men.
    Slowly but surely all of the responsible women were moved out of key positions.

    ……,………………..

    Yes, the same thing happened at my old (not mega) church. New younger pastor, by stealth, began dismantling the leadership, inserted new leadership and then together, they changed the polity. This process took about 3/4 years. By the time the women were dumped from their positions, the takeover was complete.
    Note to church members looking for a new pastor….really grille them on what they believe about women serving in the church.
    Thankfully we have found a church where women and men are regarded as spiritually equal.

  23. “the process adheres to biblical standards, is healthy and loving, and results in restoration.”
    I have several concerns about this claim. The blurb about “biblical standards” is basically nonsense talk. A quick web search will demonstrate all kinds of people showing how polygamy, homosexuality, slavery, veganism, patriarchy, and driving a Chevy are all “based on biblical principles.” Second, how is restoration defined? In my experience it is usually defined as “agreeing with the elders on everything”. Third, a thing is not healthy or loving just because someone says it is. What is meant by healthy? In my experience it is presumed that agreeing with whoever is in power is healthy; by definition, then, a process which results in lemming-like behavior is healthy. The same kind of issues surround use of the word “loving”. I ask all critical thinkers – how would your perception of this statement change if it were issued by Scientology? The not-exactly subtle foundation of this paradigm is that the end justifies the means.

  24. Has anyone here ever seen a church discipline situation handled effectively, resulting in strengthening of a local church and perhaps repentance and restoration?

  25. All the stories have really made me very sad about how we divide ourselves in so many different groups. My home church actually solicited support for a mission group to go to “convert” Greek Orthodox Christians. I reminded my church that they believe in the same Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior as we do. Just because they celebrate Christmas on a different date does not make them heathen.

    I thought Julie Anne’s tweet on 12/9 about Wayne Grudem tying himself into knots about what women can & can’t do hilarious. God knows we need more strong godly women in this world. Wasn’t it strong godly women that started the Temperance Movement – particularly a woman named Carrie Nation that put the fear of God in many, many men? Google her name & you may be shocked at how many men ran away from her in fear.

    Anyways…all the divisions reminded me of this story:

    “Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

    He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.”

    I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too!

    What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too!

    Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too!

    Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
    He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too!

    Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said,
    “Me, too!”

    Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”

    I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.”

  26. Former CLC’er wrote:

    I was just thinking that, according to Matthew 18, if someone truly is in sin and unrepentant, we are to treat them as an unbeliever. So how do we treat unbelievers? Do we shun them, or do we relate to them in love, ultimately hoping that they return to the faith? Me thinks the latter.

    Hi, former CLC’er! I’m a former CHBC’er! 🙂 I agree with you here. I have experienced shunning, and while I obviously know that experience, alone, is not the measure of Biblical teaching, I simply don’t see how shunning reflects the heart of Christ. He goes after the lost sheep. From what I see in Scripture, He doesn’t shun them.

    Moreover, the *reason* that I have been shunned by so many of my Reformed friends (i.e. my decision, based on much Biblical and church-historical study, prayer, and soul-searching, to return to the Catholic Church) is not one that, at least in my understanding, is coming from a hardened, unrepentant heart.

    To be clear, I understand, full well, that most of my friends at CHBC, and at my other past Calvinistic church, believe that the Catholic Church teaches a “false gospel of works.” I used to strongly believe this myself. I tried to “evangelize” Catholics out of the Church, and I fear that I succeeded with some of them!

    However, after a period of very seriously studying Catholicism, from *its own sources*, and comparing what I learned to Scripture, with Jesus’s own words being the “lens” through which I interpreted Paul and everyone else, I came to the honest conclusion that I had been misinformed about Catholic teaching by my Reformed leaders. I don’t judge their hearts. I trust that *they* are sincerely teaching what they *believe* to be the truth. After learning what I did though, I ultimately had to act on my convictions, which led me back to the Catholic Church.

    Does this mean that I am in rebellion against God? I certainly hope not, because my honest testimony is that I did what I did out of *obedience* to Him, to the best of my understanding, after serious prayer and study! If I have somehow completely misunderstood what I studied in the Bible and the writings of the early Church Fathers, then I hope and pray that God will have mercy on me. Catholics vocally pray, in unison, for Him to have mercy on us every single time that we gather for Mass. We also pray (silently, with the priest, who prays vocally) for God to look not on our sins but on the faith of the Church. If I am a hardened sinner, in rebellion against God, it is unconsciously so (whatever that even means!), and it is in direct contradiction to my honest desire, at least in my conscious understanding, to follow Him! In that light, I don’t see how my former friends think their shunning of me will bring me “back to the (Reformed) fold.” If they truly think I’m lost, and they have concern for my soul, they should attempt to engage me. Some of them have… but not most of the ones from CHBC. Only a very few friends from those years have even tried to talk to me about Catholicism and the Bible.

  27. Lin wrote:

    . New younger pastor, by stealth, began dismantling the leadership, inserted new leadership and then together, they changed the polity. This process took about 3/4 years. By the time the women were dumped from their positions, the takeover was complete.
    Note to church members looking for a new pastor….really grille them on what they believe about women serving in the church.

    Another way of determining what a new pastor really believes is to watch his wife. We should have noticed the dead giveaway that she always wore a hat in church. Any signs or affirmations of extreme submissiveness should be noted.

  28. The attitude of these churches sickens me. It suggests that women are to be owned and controlled by their husbands.

    Can a husband truly control his wife?

    Is she a child who must be told how to behave, and then reprimanded when she doesn’t follow the guidelines.

    Do women check their brains/personalities/talents/desires at the marriage altar?

    These attitudes turn my stomach.

  29.   __

    Axe29: “Juzzzzzzz Pass’in Through?”

    hmmm…

      If this is anything like a sojourn with SGM, the whole lot are, on close inspection, transformed into proverbial sin sniffers and tattle-tales. I kid you not. You are ‘assigned’ a mentor, their job is essentially to get the dirt on you and transmit this “who is this person” to core leadership. 

    What?

      You learn very early that there is a standing pecking order along with peer cliques. 

      Essentially, you learn not to say anything of substance; with the understanding that anything you do say to anyone in the group you are assigned to, that it would most certainly not be kept private, as it is just the nature of this type of religious game.   

    huh?

    Is this Christianity?

    ha!

    Knowing the Word of God well, can assist greatly with such groups as these, and provides great assistance in helping one pass through essentially encumbered.

    It is best in retrospect, to avoid such religious groups that practice such behavior.

    (…word to the wise.)

      It would appear upon surface examination that Acts 29 is a close approximation of the inner-workings of SGM, where control and manipulation,are certainly key features exhibited and encountered in groups such as theses.

      One is dully warned to avoid these type of religious groups at all costs.

    This is ‘SCARY’ e-x-ć-r-e-m-ē-n-t .

    “The soul you save, may very well be your own!” (C) (TM)

    (sadface)

    Thy word Oh! Lord, is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path…

    YeHaaaaaaa!

    Sopy

  30. Rob wrote:

    Can a husband truly control his wife?

    The sad thing is often these wives do it to themselves. They want to show other women (and men) how devout they are. I’ve seen wives toadying to husbands who don’t even want it.

  31. @ pcapastor:

    I have scanned the list of U.S. churches that are affiliated with Acts 29. 

    It appears that almost all have undergone name changes; however, there are a few in Ohio and Oklahoma that have been able to keep "Presbyterian" in their name so far.

  32. @Nick – I totally agree with you that all nonbelievers are alike, and some people you do have to avoid.

    @Christopher Lake – sorry that people shunned you like that for a theological difference. I have friends and family who either never left the Catholic church or returned, and I am confident that they have a relationship with the Lord. It’s not an issue to me.

  33. Eagle wrote:

    Man even Mark Driscoll can’t even follow his own standards…so why does he expect others to follow his ridiculous standards?

    Because if you don't, HE'LL GET GOD TO BEAT YOU UP! Rank Hath Its Privileges.

  34. Deb wrote:

    @ pcapastor:
    I have scanned the list of U.S. churches that are affiliated with Acts 29. 
    It appears that almost all have undergone name changes; however, there are a few in Ohio and Oklahoma that have been able to keep “Presbyterian” in their name so far.

    Acts29 has taken over presbyterian churches as well?!

  35. Can anybody verify that church membership in Acts29 is decreasing? I scanned the list of member churches in Texas and saw far fewer than I remember seeing last year. There is only one church in my region that is an Acts29 church now and there used to be 5 or 6. The same goes for another area of Texas I am familiar with. I wonder if this trend is continuing in other parts of the country.

  36. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Second, how is restoration defined? In my experience it is usually defined as “agreeing with the elders on everything”. Third, a thing is not healthy or loving just because someone says it is. What is meant by healthy? In my experience it is presumed that agreeing with whoever is in power is healthy; by definition, then, a process which results in lemming-like behavior is healthy.

    I had 2 cups of excellent strong Yemeni coffee this a.m. and I am still trying to wrap my head around the A29 documents provided here, including the “list of offenses.”

    In the “sample” provided on page 5, the one meant for the black plastic rubbish bin 🙂 can someone kindly clarify what the heck is the offense of being a “wingnut”??!!

    Dr. F hits the nail on the head in the above quote – “healthy restoration” = sit down, shut up, and don’t dare question the Dear Leaders.

  37. @ JeffT:

    Thanks for that link Jeff. I have read the church discipline stuff on the Mars Hill website before. I want to encourage everyone to read this info which includes a chapter on church discipline in Mark Driscoll's book Vintage Church.

    Sorry, folks. I'm having a hard time believing what Driscoll wrote in his book. He describes a wife and mother who frantically runs out of the church with her small children because her husband and his honey are sitting in the same church a few rows up from where the jilted wife had been sitting with her kids. Somehow, I'm having a hard time picturing this.

    Yep, I'm now skeptical about EVERYTHING Driscoll writes. Remember the machete incident in Vintage Jesus?

  38. @ Janey:

    “Look at this list of offenses for which you can be disciplined.”
    +++++++++++++

    such a matter of perspective they all are. kind of like the young woman/old woman optical illusion, and all those who see the young woman must be put out of the church.

    and fussy(!)…. “Habitual, nitpicking doctrinal pest! He’s a habitual, nitpicking doctrinal pest!” (hops up & down, pointing finger)

    “Encouraging false doctrine! She’s encouraging false doctrine!” (still hopping up and down)

    Time for a Young Frankenstein moment.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9HsjyfHHdg

  39. @ Christopher Lake:

    Christopher, as an FYI I’ve known more than a few reformed folk in the last decade who, after very very serious consideration, have joined the Catholic church.

    I can’t go into the theological considerations here at length, and you are by far better positioned to comment on your own journey (and BTW, your thoughts on this here at TWW are appreciated).

    That said, I have nothing but respect for those I know who decided to join the Catholic church, though I am not Catholic myself. I am appalled but sadly not surprised that such people would experience “shunning.” 🙁

  40. @ Deb:

    Deb, I was perusing the website of a Northern VA A29 church and in the “beginnings” section of the site, they noted that they were a church plant initiative of 4 churches but didn’t name them.

    Am curious personally about any links with the PCA – in the case of a new NoVA A29 church plant I wouldn’t be surprised if there were former PCA members in attendance but no formal institutional links. Pcapastor’s insights on this would be of interest of course.

    Sigh – does anyone else besides me find the whole industry of church planting to be confusing, lacking in transparency, and a bit exhausting? 🙂

  41. Deb wrote:

    Lin wrote:
    Ugh…..spell check. Should read, congregants, not contestants.
    Made that change for you.   

    TY……:)

  42. Mandy wrote:

    Can anybody verify that church membership in Acts29 is decreasing? I scanned the list of member churches in Texas and saw far fewer than I remember seeing last year.

    Back in Spring 2013 I counted approx 300 Acts 29 churches worldwide.

    By the way, y’all know there’s only 28 chapters in the Book of Acts.

  43. I spoke up because I am worried. Worried that the Acts 29 Marc Driscoll infection is spreading. And I am angry. Really angry. When those men left the building they stole everything of value out of it. Anything that we could liquidate to pay our outstanding bills, all of it , gone. The sound system all the kitchen appliances, computers, all of it! These things were PAID FOR by Countryside Christian Church NOT Christ Church. Not Acts 29! By the many people who tithed faithfully for years! By members that were forced out, and their families. I asked repeatedly for Matthew 18 to walked with us. If I had sinned I wanted the scripture walked with me. I wanted to know who was accusing me and what I had done as well. You see, they had a list, and every time we met it got bigger and more involved, but no one showed up or admitted to me or our leadership what I was being accused of. When I made the point then even that became my fault. They told me people were afraid of me, did not want to come forward because I was such a strong personality. You see it was MY fault they would not come forward, so the leadership had to do it for them. (gagging noises ensue)Again why would'nt trust these guys? LOL Each meeting I became a even bigger sinner, pariah, etc. Nothing we did could stop the inevitable. They wanted us out, for my long list of sins. What they really wanted was to take my copy of the credit card statement and shred it and then throw me out so no one would find out. I just could not oblige them. And the fact that my husband stood with me bent their pretzels. So we were perp walked out with a off duty Police officer, and everyone out in the lobby watching… my son crying and yelling, my girl telling me she was done with church. You see they lied to us again…they told us in our meetings we would never have to deal with police, they would NEVER call the cops…but that is what happened..they lied and my children cried all the way out to the parking lot. I never would have brought them had I thought that might happen. Never. So fast forward a few years my daughter has not been back to church since, just like she promised. I and my husband and family are firmly planted in a wonderful and pretty healthy church body. My younger kids are really enjoying their new church groups, my hubby is working in youth group sound again, and we are moving forward. We did NOT give up and walk away from God. We won't either. Mark Driscoll cannot take from me my love and respect for my God. He cannot tell me that my Jesus doesn't love me because I am an opinionated woman. Matter of fact he made me that way!!

  44. @ rebecca lynn:

    “When those men left the building they stole everything of value out of it. Anything that we could liquidate to pay our outstanding bills, all of it , gone. The sound system all the kitchen appliances, computers, all of it! These things were PAID FOR by Countryside Christian Church NOT Christ Church. Not Acts 29! By the many people who tithed faithfully for years! By members that were forced out, and their families.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Rebecca lynn,

    what did they do with these things?

  45. “Church discipline” as advocated by Acts 29, Driscoll, and other persons and organizations of this ilk is as heretical a practice as any that has been seen in the history of Christianity – this is not hyperbole. Nowhere is the goal of loving God and loving neighbor, the two foundational principles of Christianity, even hinted at, much less practiced, as the hoped-for outcome of this process.

    Note the list of ‘sins’ for which one can be disciplined are in no way grounded in helping people spiritually in walking in the way of Christianity. When you strip it all down to what their ‘church discipline’ is really all about, the major ‘sins’ listed of ‘gossip’, ‘divisiveness’, ‘busybody’, ‘appointing oneself to leadership’, the purpose of ‘church discipline’, has nothing whatever to do with Christian doctrine at all. Sure, they will toss out a few Bible verses to claim Biblical support, but it’s a sham. They have twisted Scripture in the most heinous way possible because, for these people, it’s not at all about being Biblical, it’s really all about control of the congregation and silencing any and all accountability of the leadership.

    In short, their ‘church discipline’ is church fascism, making sure the congregation does and goes along with whatever the leader desires without any questions asked. And in many cases, the leader himself won’t even deign to discuss the issue directly with those who have questions. Instead, he has brownshirt lackeys to do his dirty work for him.

    These people are the worst kind of plague on Christianity, the only gospel they preach is a gospel of oppression. Were it not for the U.S. Constitution, we would have religious leadership controlling government that would make the power of any medieval Pope jealous.

  46. Janey wrote:

    Back in Spring 2013 I counted approx 300 Acts 29 churches worldwide.
    By the way, y’all know there’s only 28 chapters in the Book of Acts.

    That’s because Acts 29 churches think they’re writing the next chapter of the Book of Acts. Some sort of Apostolic Succession?

  47. Deb wrote:

    Yep, I’m now skeptical about EVERYTHING Driscoll writes. Remember the machete incident in Vintage Jesus?

    These days Bee Jay DOES have plausible deniability.
    He can claim his ghostwriter made it up, not him.

  48. Mandy wrote:

    Can anybody verify that church membership in Acts29 is decreasing? I scanned the list of member churches in Texas and saw far fewer than I remember seeing last year. There is only one church in my region that is an Acts29 church now and there used to be 5 or 6. The same goes for another area of Texas I am familiar with. I wonder if this trend is continuing in other parts of the country.

    If so, you’ll never get Acts 29 to admit to it.
    (Just like Scientology.)

  49. BTW – Isn’t it a supreme irony that Christian beliefs that were born out of opposition to a medieval dictatorial Pope and forged the doctrine of a priesthood of all believers are being jettisoned to create dictatorial mini-Popes on that same medieval model?

  50. Rafiki wrote:

    Dr. F hits the nail on the head in the above quote – “healthy restoration” = sit down, shut up, and don’t dare question the Dear Leaders.

    I wonder if this is related to the preaching on Heaven I heard now-and-then that made Heaven sound like some sort of Cosmic North Korea? In which case, imitating Comrade Kim Jong-whatever would just be being Godly(TM).

    It’s really saying something when the Kingdom of God and the Age to Come ends up described in terms of the absolute NASTIEST Third World Dictatorship in existence.

    You have to flee to Princess Celestia of Equestria to find a god-figure who is Benevolent, Approachable, and even Playful. Wonder if that’s why both Nones and Bronies are growing in numbers? You find hope in that magical land of ponies, not in churches.

  51. @ elastigirl:

    Why they took most of it with them to the new church. Christ Church here in Michigan City. Some might have gone into storage as well. I am just not sure. I am sure however that all this stuff went missing when they moved out of the building. They left nothing of value. It hurts to know all of this because whatever they have at that new church was bought by the members of Countryside Christian Church and now all of it is gone absorbed by the Acts 29 machine.

  52. I can give a partial example of a successful use of Matthew 18 – the only time I ever used it. I had just moved in with a long time friend of mine, when she proceeded to move her boyfriend into the house, with talk of them getting married. First, it was fraud on her part, getting me to move in without telling me her intentions concerning him, and it was morally wrong for her, as a professing Christian. She did not listen to the appeals from me, nor from her family, so I called her ladies’ care group leader at CLC, even though I had left the church awhile before that. They talked with her, and I honestly don’t know what they did after that in terms of discipline. I moved out hastily and had no contact with her for about six months, since she had caused me emotional and financial distress. Then she called me and over breakfast, confessed her sins to me and asked forgiveness. Her boyfriend had left her, stealing property on the way out (he ended up being a drug addict as well as a con man), and she had reconciled with CLC. AGain, I don’t know what interaction they had with her, but she attends CLC to this day.

  53. Thank you, Dee and Deb, for continuing to fight on behalf of Jesus and his church. And thanks to Becky for courageously speaking out and sharing her story. Rot and mold can’t survive out in the light . . . stories like this help clean out the corruption.

    I am appalled and angry that Becky and her family were treated this way by the very men assigned to gently, lovingly care for them. As in many other MH/Acts29 churches, the biblical concept of “pastor/shepherd” has been perverted at Countryside to protect and pamper the pastor while the “regular ‘ol sheep” sit out in the cold.

    As I read this post, it occurred to me that, prior to my experiences within Acts 29, I had never before heard pastors obsess so much about gossip/slander regarding church leadership. Of course now it makes sense…that with so many unqualified, ill-equipped leaders, they have to be pro-actively defending against the critiques that inevitably arise.

    At our new church (EFCA, non-Calvinista-infiltrated) I have yet to even hear the words “gossip” and “slander” uttered by the lead pastor. Of course, he is in his 50s, has an MDiv, a DMin, and over 25 years of ministry experience. He is also one of the most gentle, sweet, loving men I have ever met. Confident and secure but also humble and gracious. No need to be worried about “gossip” or “slander” from his congregation…if anyone tried, they’d be laughed at by everyone else!

    Lastly, I’m reminded again of the need to clearly define “gossip” and “slander” as well as the need to clearly distinguish both concepts from “healthy critique.” In my opinion, this has been one of the biggest failures of MH and Acts29. (Example of this failure, quoting our former pastor at an Acts29 church: “Gossip/slander is saying anything negative about anyone.”)

  54. JeffT wrote:

    BTW – Isn’t it a supreme irony that Christian beliefs that were born out of opposition to a medieval dictatorial Pope and forged the doctrine of a priesthood of all believers are being jettisoned to create dictatorial mini-Popes on that same medieval model?

    That’s because to them the only reason Medieval Romish Popery was wrong was THEY weren’t the one on top.

    Not “dictatorial mini-Popes”. These guys go well beyond even the worst of the Borgia Popes in their Arrogance and Thirst for Power and throwing their weight around. For example, actual “Ex Cathedra” pronouncements from the Pope are actually fairly limited in scope by precedent and protocol — limited to a binding decision on a Matter of Faith and Morals that must not conflict with established precedent (Scripture and Tradition).

    These “dictatorial mini-Popes” have NO such restriction — they can Announce Ex Cathedra that God Hath Said Two Plus Two Equals Five or to make their Horse one of their Board of Elders.

  55. rebecca lynn wrote:

    Why they took most of it with them to the new church. Christ Church here in Michigan City.

    Figures. Pillaged your church for their new church plant’s bling.

  56. @Dee and Deb – because another poster mentioned an Acts 29 church in Northern Virginia, I was curious and googled churches in my area that are affiliated with Acts 29. There’s not too many in Maryland, where I live. However, I saw that Redeemer Church of Arlington, pastored by Eric Simmons and church plant from Covenant Life Church, is now an Acts 29 church. Did you know this?!

  57. @ Mandy:

    Some formerly Acts29 churches have split off from the movement – such as Sojourn here in Louisville. Sojourn has its own network of churches. Mars Hill seems to be doing the same thing. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see others splitting off and founding their own networks (though I can’t think of any others off hand). Also, some churches may simply have disbanded, or perhaps gone in another theological direction.

  58. Many heartfelt thanks to all (on this thread and other ones) who have encouraged me to comment at TWW. Even as much of the pain of rejection and shunning from (most of) my Reformed friends has lessened with time, I don’t know that I will ever completely “get over” those losses. I have forgiven them and moved on as best as I can by God’s grace. I have new Catholic friends, and some non-Reformed Protestant friends who have stuck with me, and they have helped with the healing. In a way though, I think that I have a form of “spiritual PTSD” that I did not previously have, pre-shunning-as-church-discipline. It’s hard to really articulate. Hopefully, it is not affecting my faith in God and my life as a Catholic Church member…. at least not too much… I hope and pray.

    On this whole matter of Acts 29/church discipline/Mark Driscoll’s dictatorial ministerial style, one thing that is *incredibly ironic* to me is that Driscoll and many of the Acts 29 leaders seem to believe that they are truly, faithfully teaching what the Bible teaches about “the grace and freedom of the Gospel.” They would have us believe that they oppose the “legalistic false gospel” of the Catholic Church. Well, I am a practicing Catholic, a “revert” to the Church, and I can say that I have experienced more true freedom in Christ in the last three years than I ever did at Capitol Hill Baptist (and, to a lesser extent, at the other Calvinistic church in New Mexico). I’m not talking about license to sin either. I’m talking about freedom from legalistic shackles which were taught me as “Biblical principles” or, depending on the situation, supposedly Biblical “prudential judgment.”

    Here’s an example of what I mean. No Catholic priest has told me that, as a man with a physical disability who uses a wheelchair, is unable to drive a car (I’ve tried), and has terribly struggled in the job market, that I still must be the sole or main provider before I can marry a woman. To be clear, I agree that, *in the main, in the overwhelming majority of cases*, it is highly recommendable, even important, for a man to have steady employment before, or while, pursuing a relationship and marriage. Heck, having steady employment is healthy for basically *anyone*– I know that (and wish that I had it!). However, in the past, when I asked my Reformed leaders if, given my particular physical condition, and my transportation realities and struggles, it might possibly be “Biblically allowable” for my girlfriend or wife to be the main provider, not necessarily perpetually, but just for a time– the answer was no, that would not be good at all, not “Biblical.” This kind of pastoral counsel actually helped to wreck a relationship and engagement that I had with a woman at the time.

    By comparison, I have found the Catholic Church to have an atmosphere of much more freedom, in terms of not dictating the exact terms under which Christian men and women should pursue relationships and marry. Of course, there are still general principles which are taught, such as respecting each other’s basic dignity as human beings and not having sex outside of marriage. However, the extremely “hands-on” approach to dictating about the terms of relationships, and about certain other things, that I experienced as a legalistic burden in my Reformed past is refreshingly absent in my experience of the Catholic Church. The negative, and ironic, comparison with Mark Driscoll and others of his anti-Catholic bent, hardly even needs to be made… so much for the “freedom of the Gospel!”

  59. Former CLC'er wrote:

    @Dee and Deb – because another poster mentioned an Acts 29 church in Northern Virginia, I was curious and googled churches in my area that are affiliated with Acts 29. There’s not too many in Maryland, where I live. However, I saw that Redeemer Church of Arlington, pastored by Eric Simmons and church plant from Covenant Life Church, is now an Acts 29 church. Did you know this?!

    Oh my! Thanks for letting us know.

    http://www.acts29network.org/church-detail/redeemer-church-of-arlington/

  60. Mr.H wrote:

    At our new church (EFCA, non-Calvinista-infiltrated) I have yet to even hear the words “gossip” and “slander” uttered by the lead pastor. Of course, he is in his 50s, has an MDiv, a DMin, and over 25 years of ministry experience. He is also one of the most gentle, sweet, loving men I have ever met. Confident and secure but also humble and gracious. No need to be worried about “gossip” or “slander” from his congregation…if anyone tried, they’d be laughed at by everyone else

    Mr. H…be careful. The Evangelical Free is struggling with Hyper-Reformed theology as well, and parts of the EFCA have been hijacked. This reason is why I don’t attend of get involved in the EFCA. Here are some examples for you to consider:

    Look at this example from Clovis Evangelical Free Church in Clovis, California

    http://www.clovisevfree.org/value-and-teach.php

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrott to having expositional teaching and discipline so front and center. Poke around on the website and your eyes will pop open.

    Then here in DC there is an Acts 29/EFCA church plant I guess Capital Hill Baptist isn’t good enough for this crowd. Poke around on the website…

    http://www.redemptionhilldc.org/about-us/networks

    Here’s another Evangelical Free..the Senior Pastor Bill Keynes is on the Board of The Gospel Coalition with CJ Mahaney. This one is down the road from where I live.

    http://cornerstoneefree.org/

  61. @ Rafiki:
    The term “wing nut” usually refers to a far right wing person who thinks most Republican office holders are insufficiently conservative. I have seen it once or twice referring to a left winger, but it seems less applicable in general. Some so-called wing nuts refused to vote for some Republican candidates because they were insufficiently conservative for them, and therefore did not vote in that race.

  62. former Sojourn member wrote:

    Some formerly Acts29 churches have split off from the movement – such as Sojourn here in Louisville. Sojourn has its own network of churches. Mars Hill seems to be doing the same thing.

    Sure this isn’t a Pastor(TM) splitting off from a Dictatorial Mini-Pope so HE can be THE Dictatorial Mini-Pope instead of the other guy?

  63. Hmm–good warning about “gossip and slander”. I’ve been visiting a church that is beginning to sound a tad Acts29.

    One lady had shared a bit with me about a situation that is causing her great pain. When I walked over to her before the meeting yesterday and simply asked if she was doing ok, she looked panicked and started in on me about gossip being a sin, you know.

    OK, so now I know never ever to ask her if she is doing ok again, right?

    But why the fear on her face? Was someone listening? What she had shared earlier and my response were certainly not gossip. Just two moms who have had to deal with a similar situation, and what works and what does not work.

    I seriously need to ask more questions.

  64. Deb wrote:

    Former CLC’er wrote:
    @Dee and Deb – because another poster mentioned an Acts 29 church in Northern Virginia, I was curious and googled churches in my area that are affiliated with Acts 29. There’s not too many in Maryland, where I live. However, I saw that Redeemer Church of Arlington, pastored by Eric Simmons and church plant from Covenant Life Church, is now an Acts 29 church. Did you know this?!
    Oh my! Thanks for letting us know.
    http://www.acts29network.org/church-detail/redeemer-church-of-arlington/

    Was Mahaney’s middle name Adam?

    From their core practices page:

    “Under Adam we sought to build altars and communities that worship ourselves.
    In Christ we are builders of His church community who live life together.

    Under Adam we sought to use our gifts, talents, time, resources in deeds that produce more for us even at the expense of others….

    Under Adam we were students of false teachings and false words that perpetuated the lie that was started in the garden….

    Under Adam our mission was to make our name known….”

  65. On the other thread someone asked what is the problem with a program like Celebrate Recovery, etc.. and why did Countryside stop the program? In Neo-Cal circles programs like Celebrate Recovery are viewed as being non-Biblical. What is used in their place is Edward Welch. For example this is the book used in Sovereign Grace churches

    http://www.amazon.com/Crossroads-Study-Guide-Step—Step/dp/1934885940/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1386704430&sr=8-2&keywords=edward+welch+addictions

  66. Rebecca Lynn (and other knowledgable folks), did I misunderstand something? I have read the Acts 29 document. “Responses to a Sinning Christian” lists scripture passages of diverse sinful attitudes and actions, and within those scripture passages the appropriate Christian responses. For example: “Proverbs 20:19: A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.” Are they acknowledging that this is sound advice, or are they saying that the sin of gossip (as they define it) will be dealt with by way of shunning and excommunication? The document ends with “Ephesians 4:32: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” So I am confused about the specific Acts 29 discipline algorithm; exactly what sins committed by which people merit the involvement of leaders and termination of fellowship? I assumed from the biblical context of most of these verses, that most of these issues were to be overlooked or resolved brother to brother.

  67. @ Deb:

    You are welcome.
    I tried to find a copy on Google cache too, but the pdf was not turning up, just the page that links to the bad link.

  68. Eagle wrote:

    In Neo-Cal circles programs like Celebrate Recovery are viewed as being non-Biblical. What is used in their place is Edward Welch.

    I assume Edward Welch’s approach can be summarized as “SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! CALVIN! CALVIN! CALVIN! CALVIN!”?

  69. Christopher Lake wrote:

    By comparison, I have found the Catholic Church to have an atmosphere of much more freedom, in terms of not dictating the exact terms under which Christian men and women should pursue relationships and marry.

    Really? I believe the church’s teaching regarding artificial birth control is well known. I assume you are in 100% agreement and would abide by their teaching. But if you have a problem with the teaching (I understand many Catholics do) and used artificial birth control, would you tell your priest that the church’s teaching is wrong? Would he say what you are doing is a sin? Would there be any church discipline? I don’t think its a matter of dictating the terms; its a matter of enforcement of the terms which may be lacking.

  70. @ JeffT:

    And from that page (which describes a preacher confronting a husband with his mistress during a church service, in the hallway):

    On the other hand, the man and his whorish girlfriend

    I suppose we could debate the accuracy or merits of referring to a mistress as “whorish,” but what gets my goat is that I do not see the adulterous husband being described in such terms.

    The bottom of that post says: “By: Mars Hill Church”

    Isn’t that a wee bit like the story of the Pharisees bringing the woman caught in adultery to throw at Jesus’ feet, but not also the man she was sleeping with???

    Referring to a woman who is in an affair as “whorish,” while just describing the man in the story as “being in sin” and the like, is a huge red flag, IMO, that the folks at Mars Hill (like sadly, a lot of other Christians in other churches and denominations) tend to excuse men more for sexual failings than they do women.

    Yes, they will say the man is in sin, but they seem to reserve even more contempt and hate and judgment for the woman.

  71. @ Christopher Lake:
    I pray that you will receive much support and love from your new church. I have been consistently impressed with the kindness and understanding that is offered to congregants by the priests who, in many instances, show more compassion than men like Driscoll who are supposedly “theologically sound.”

  72. Joe wrote:

    I assume you are in 100% agreement and would abide by their teaching

    My understanding of the Catholic stand on this issue is whether or not the Pope spoke ex cathedra. The Catholic church allows for dissension in the rank and file on such matters. In fact, most priests are understanding about birth control and their parishioners discuss such matters with their local priest.

    The Catholic church is not like the Protestant church with all of its denominations based on differing understandings of Scriptures. They actually work with the people and allow for dissension so long as the person clearly understands the teaching of the church.

    I had a long term friendship with a priest in Dallas who helped me to understand the Catholic position on purgatory, birth control, communion, etc when i was teaching a class on the Reformation. i was attempting to carefully explain the Catholic position and he was such a help.

    I have a great deal of respect for the faith of devoted Catholics and priests and deeply admire the current Pope. He puts some of our current crop of arrogant leaders to shame.

  73. @ Christopher Lake

    Thank you so much for sharing. I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through. I’m glad that you’ve experienced such encouragement and grace in the Catholic Church.

  74. @ Daisy:

    Thanks Daisy for pointing that out about the name calling. I was going to post that if no one else did. Just from following enough id Driscoll’s other comments about wives I’m thinking that when he was that intern he was probably also entertaining thoughts about what the poor wife may have done to deserve all that she was testing from her husband.

  75. Daisy wrote:

    I suppose we could debate the accuracy or merits of referring to a mistress as “whorish,” but what gets my goat is that I do not see the adulterous husband being described in such terms.

    She’s in good company, Daisy; cf the lassie caught in the act of adultery (with, by definition, a man) as recorded in John 8.

    Not sure on what basis the example purports to know that the man was paying her for sex, though.

  76. Daisy wrote:

    hallway):
    On the other hand, the man and his whorish girlfriend

    I suppose we could debate the accuracy or merits of referring to a mistress as “whorish,” but what gets my goat is that I do not see the adulterous husband being described in such terms.

    The bottom of that post says: “By: Mars Hill Church”

    I believe the two to be related. Mars Hill, whose pastor/dictator described Queen Esther as a ho. Whose Visions from God(TM) are always voyeur-porno (“I SEE Things…”). And who is male supremacist/it’s always the woman’s fault.

  77. Daisy wrote:

    Isn’t that a wee bit like the story of the Pharisees bringing the woman caught in adultery to throw at Jesus’ feet, but not also the man she was sleeping with???

    There may have been good reason why the man was not brought to Jesus. It’s possible that he was stronger than the woman and was able to fight off the Pharisees or could run faster and couldn’t be caught.

  78. dee wrote:

    @ Christopher Lake:
    I pray that you will receive much support and love from your new church. I have been consistently impresses with the kindness and understanding that is offered to congregants by the priests who, in many instances, who more compassion than that of men like Driscoll who are supposedly “theologically sound.”

    Whenever I hear of “Theologically Sound” in that context, I can’t help thinking of the Communists and their “Purity of Ideology”.

    P.S. Chris? When they ask you online “What church do you go to?” here’s the answer I use: “ROMISH PAPIST WITH SATANIC DEATH COOKIES!”

    You’re not the only one to find Fundamentalism-to-Catholicism a breath of freedom like jumping the old Berlin Wall into the West.

  79. @ Daisy:
    @ Joe:

    This woman caught in adultery account is not found in the earliest manuscripts. Take a look at the notes in the study Bible that you use. However, it does not really matter because the Gospel is not diluted with its absence.

    However, to Daisy’s point, men were not as frequently punished as women. In fact, it has been a societal custom since forever that the women’s virginity is to be inviolate and the man’s conquests to be winked at. And now I shall duck!

  80. @ Joe:

    That’s my own favoured theory; pick the soft target. That, and they just didn’t care as much (since a woman being stoned to death was less likely to inconvenience them).

  81. dee wrote:

    This woman caught in adultery account is not found in the earliest manuscripts.

    True, but I didn’t want to let that particular can of worms out of the bag.

  82. Eagle wrote:

    Mr. H…be careful. The Evangelical Free is struggling with Hyper-Reformed theology as well, and parts of the EFCA have been hijacked.

    Thanks for the warning, Eagle. Our particular church is quite safe from the Calvinistas for now. I suppose when our pastor retires change could happen, but that won’t be for a while, I think.

  83. In other news, Manchester City (from being 2-0 down after 12 minutes) have just taken the lead against Bayern.

    Iiiiiiiiiiinteresting game in Munich; there may be more goals to come.

  84. Re: Ed Welch

    I don’t know him very well, but in my opinion he is trying very hard to straddle the line between nouthetic counseling and legitimate psychology. Very hard to do, as nouthetics hate psychology and legit psychologists see nouthetic for what it is: wacky.

    A couple of things are quite interesting about Welch:

    First, the way he cites his professional degree: a “PhD in counseling” with the little parenthetical addendum “neuropsychology.” Two very different fields. From a professional psychological standpoint, this is a very odd and confusing way to present one’s academic degree.

    Second, Welch consistently using the term “counseling” to describe what he does. Again, this is very unusual from the standpoint of professional psychology. Psychologists actually don’t “counsel” – that term has a very specific technical meaning in the mental healthcare profession. Clinical psychologists (i.e. psychologists who work primarily with clients, as opposed to doing research in a lab setting) do things like “assessment” and “therapy.” Therapy and counseling are NOT the same thing, contrary to what many seem to think. Counseling is essentially listening and giving very basic advice – very simple and limited in scope. Therapy includes listening, but includes much more complex clinical work that addresses a client’s needs according to the clinician’s theoretical orientation (CBT, psychodynamic, systems, humanistic-existential, etc.).

  85. Christopher, thank you for sharing! Praying for the Lord’s blessing and guidance in your life. He loves you very much. I am thankful on your behalf that you have found a place to worship that features loving, gentle guidance from your leader(s).

  86. Okay. So after reading all this, a question remains: “What specific sin was committed that they are being required to repent of?”

    (Vague generalizations do not count when your defamatory accusations destroy people’s reputations and cause emotional injury.)

  87. dee wrote:

    I have a great deal of respect for the faith of devoted Catholics and priests and deeply admire the current Pope. He puts some of our current crop of arrogant leaders to shame.

    Me too. The fact that I investigated catholicism and did not convert did not in any way diminish my respect for a lot of catholics and a lot about catholicism. I hope I did not give that impression. My issues were doctrinal, not personal.

  88. @ dee:

    I did read in a book on King James Version Onlyism that the woman caught in adultery could have been an oral tradition, and that is how it got carried into later manuscripts. So it’s possible it’s true and happened.

  89. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Receiving payment for sex is not a requirement of “Whorishness”. It is being sexually active disregarding the marital commitments of the other party or of one’s own.

  90. @ Mr.H:
    I talked about an Ed Welch book I read on this blog a few months ago.

    Some of Welch’s views do not have support in the Bible, and are very uncompassionate. His book was worthless. I got more help with my issues (such as anxiety attacks) from reading books by Non Christian authors.

    I typed up portions of the Welch book and sent that in an e-mail to Deb and Dee. The guy is a bit on the victim-blame side in some regards.

    He, yes, tosses out a comment or two in the book that he’s not into victim blaming but then does that very thing at a few points in the book.

  91. Okay, that’s scary looking at the Acts29 member directory list! Hard to believe there is one in our area, and we seem to have a church on every corner! And I remember looking at this list a few months ago and did not see an A29 church in the area. Although all the signs are there: there was the local news story (the news seemed to drool over this particular church) about moving into their new 2nd location, located downtown by the way, all the graphics the church uses, and then again on the news about the “S*x and the Gospel” conference they hosted. Makes sense to have a conference of that title – Acts29 and Driscoll seem obsessed with that subject! And what’s really scary is their description of their Gospel Class: “The Gospel Class is required to become an Investor [member] at ***** Church.” You’re not a fellow believer, you’re an investor???

    Okay, I don’t mean to rant on this particular local church, especially since I’ve never had any relationship with them, nor will I ever now! It just surprises me how the small town I’m near that literally has a church on every corner, has an Acts29 church. I know my husband thinks I’m nuts for always reading TWW, SpiritualSoundingBoard,etc., and looking up different things, but I think it’s important to know what is going on in the religious world, not just for ourselves, but also for our friends and family. Thank you Dee and Deb for all your hard work!

  92. dee wrote:

    However, to Daisy’s point, men were not as frequently punished as women. In fact, it has been a societal custom since forever that the women’s virginity is to be inviolate and the man’s conquests to be winked at. And now I shall duck!

    P.S. I’m still a virgin in my 40s, and it still does not matter – some quarters of Christians just assume all adult women my age are having sex all over the place.

    I’m still suspected of being a big hussy just from sheer fact of being an unmarried woman, even though I’ve not had sex and was waiting to get married.

  93. @ TedS.:

    Agreed, and I think this should encourage us to grasp a pretty kettle of hot potatoes by the horns. Namely: just suppose that the local church really did begin to live and breathe the way it did in New Testament times. But with all the different denominations and histories that we have.

    That would mean, then, that the Brian’s and Becky’s of the church (and the Nick’s and Lesley’s, come to that) could not have their fellowship threatened by an unaccountable cabal of leaders. Certainly those leaders would not get away with levelling vague accusations on the alleged testimony of nameless and untestable “witnesses” who are supposedly too frightened of the individual to come forward. (It’s funny how that argument never applies to corporately powerful leaders themselves.)

    We (and I’ll put this in the first person now) would be able to appeal to a much wider congregation of mature believers, with different possible outcomes.

     The wider church might rule that they couldn’t tell beyond reasonable doubt which one party was in the wrong, a bit like the falling out between Paul and Barnabas, and suggest we go our separate ways if our position had become difficult – whilst making it clear that we had done nothing that deserved being disfellowshipped and that believers could not be ordered to shun us.
     … But if that sort of thing had often happened before and a pattern were developing, they call the leadership to account and require them to receive proper instruction in how to get on with other Christians. Eventually they might even rule the leadership to be contentious and factional.
     They might rule against us and require certain steps of repentance from us. But I would accept that, because it would genuinely be the judgement of the church, not the summary verdict of a kangaroo court.
     They might rule against the leadership, and require certain steps of repentance from them. Either of these two rulings might, if handled well, truly restore relationships.
     If the whole local church found it necessary, they would be able to initiate discipline against the unrepentant and factional leaders who were not fulfilling the responsibilities of their position (or were abusing it). They could make it clear to all local church members that any believer from x congregation that wished to leave it should be welcomed and helped through a potentially difficult process of transition. In extremis they could expel the rebellious leaders from the fellowship of the local church, declare their eldership null and void, and their “church” non-valid.

    All interesting, if hypothetical. But freeing slaves was hypothetical once. As a declared None, the kind of thing I’ve described is part of my hope.

  94. @ An Attorney:
    The generally accepted definition of “whore” involves personal gain even if not a one-off monetary payment as such. But maybe in Mars Hill, it just sounds like a good , mean-sounding word to use for a woman we don’t like.

  95. Daisy wrote:

    P.S. I’m still a virgin in my 40s, and it still does not matter – some quarters of Christians just assume all adult women my age are having sex all over the place.

    They assume all adult men, too.
    (And Celebrity Pastor/Dictators usually are and then some…)

    It’s just the Christianese version of “Everybody’s Doing It!” and/or “If you’re not Doing somebody, YOU’RE A NOBODY!”

  96. Lola wrote:

    And what’s really scary is their description of their Gospel Class: “The Gospel Class is required to become an Investor [member] at ***** Church.” You’re not a fellow believer, you’re an investor???

    Just like “Operating Thetan Level whatever” in $cientology.
    Because simply achieving “Clear” isn’t enough.

    (And then there was that pyramid scheme called “The Airplane Game” years ago, where you advanced from “Passenger” to “Flight Attendant” to “Copilot” to “Pilot” as your name went up the list. After “Pilot” you could sign more downlines for the Upline over the Pilots, the “Commander of Great Feathers”. I am not making this up.)

  97. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Not sure on what basis the example purports to know that the man was paying her for sex, though.

    Maybe he was working from an “All Women Are Whores” mindset?

  98. dee wrote:

    @ Daisy:
    @ Joe:
    This woman caught in adultery account is not found in the earliest manuscripts.

    Could it have been a parallel oral tradition about Jesus that was written down later and merged into the later manuscripts? That wouldn’t mean the account was fictional, just that it wasn’t written down early.

  99. Former CLC’er wrote:

    God brought us out of Egypt kicking and screaming with tears on our faces

    Former CLC’er wrote:

    I was just thinking that, according to Matthew 18, if someone truly is in sin and unrepentant, we are to treat them as an unbeliever. So how do we treat unbelievers? Do we shun them, or do we relate to them in love, ultimately hoping that they return to the faith? Me thinks the latter.

    I kept thinking the same thing as I read the letters. We are to treat those outside fellowship the way Jesus reached out to those on the margins of society, not the way the Pharisees treated those poor people. Sheesh!

    Also, I loved this line from Becky: “God brought us out of Egypt kicking and screaming with tears on our faces.” Pure gold.

  100. Hmm, @ Tim:
    Tim wrote:

    Former CLC’er wrote:
    God brought us out of Egypt kicking and screaming with tears on our faces

    Hmm, didn’t mean to attribute that to the wrong person, sorry!

  101. @ Janey:
    NT Wright in People of God (Vol 1 of Christian Origins and the Question of God) observed that Acts has 28 chapters but the history of the church does not stop there, for the continued history continues the account as a subsequent chapter. Perhaps Driscoll borrowed the observation from Wright.

  102. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    Arghhhhhhhhh!

    Yours truly,

    Rafiki-the-Bayern-fan-and-in-particular-think-Manuel-Nuer-is-dreamy 🙂 -in-addition-to-being-one-of-the-best-goaltenders-in-the-business.

  103. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Could it have been a parallel oral tradition about Jesus that was written down later and merged into the later manuscripts? That wouldn’t mean the account was fictional, just that it wasn’t written down early.

    Yep. I mentioned that in a post above. Some writers postulate it was an oral tradition that wasn’t written down til later.

    If memory serves, one of the oldest mss has an empty space leaving room for the story. So it looks like whomever copied that had a question as if to include it or not, so apparently the story was known way back when

  104. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    former Sojourn member wrote:
    Some formerly Acts29 churches have split off from the movement – such as Sojourn here in Louisville. Sojourn has its own network of churches. Mars Hill seems to be doing the same thing.
    Sure this isn’t a Pastor(TM) splitting off from a Dictatorial Mini-Pope so HE can be THE Dictatorial Mini-Pope instead of the other guy?

    I can’t say that, HUG. Perhaps it’s mainly about growing their brand and network.

  105. @ anon 1:

    Tim Beltz, Brad House. I’m sure the money’s coming from somewhere, and they do have four campuses that pay in tithe/offerings.

  106. To our readers

    There is much more to come in this story. For all Acts 29 readers: Shouldn’t Acts 29 take responsibility for this stuff? Wit until tomorrow.

  107. Janey wrote:

    @ Lin:
    Lin, I think you’re partially. But the way it happened at our mego-church was subtle.
    First they decided to elevate the stature of the committee chairs to “elders.” When my mother was in charge of the Christian Ed committee, she was the “Chairman of the C.E. Committee,” but over time, the word was changed to “elder.”
    Once the pastor did that, then he could point to Titus and 1 Timothy and claim that elders had to be men.
    Slowly but surely all of the responsible women were moved out of key positions.

    Wow. That’s cute. And profoundly exasperating.

  108. Rafiki wrote:

    can someone kindly clarify what the heck is the offense of being a “wingnut”??!!

    I would like chapter and verse on that myself.

  109. @ TedS.:
    I was told after the first meeting that another pastor had contacted the men in charge of our meetings to complain, that I had spread lies and gossiped with another couple at his church. The problem was and is…I don’t drive and have not for many years. I could not get to his church in order to track down a couple so as to gossip. I made however several statements in response to others comments on FB. I also shared a bunch of info on Marc Driscoll on my fb copying and pasting stories I found online. Especially one done on him in Christianity Today. I made no bones about my concern about Acts 29. When we went to our meeting the first time it was about me telling them who had spoken to me about what I had heard. My husband being so very trusting of his leaders had shared with the youth pastor I was very upset about something I had heard. Well at that we got a phone call the next night, and two days later had a meeting where I was told I would tell them not only what was said but who said it. I refused to their dismay and my husband backed that play. I was not going to be the tool they used to beat someone I loved up. They were not happy with me. I brought my copy of the church credit card statement I had with me. I asked some hard questions, and they told me I had to make an appt with another deacon who handled the finances. They could not or would not discuss things with me, and in the second meeting they took my credit card copy and shredded it. All the while telling me about all my evil, slanderous ways. Not bringing anyone to the meeting at all who had heard me say anything. Nope. No one. I should say that Pastor who said I came to his church and gossiped never showed either. I think it was all intended to bully and scare me into subservience. My only sin was getting really angry over the obvious misspending of our tithes and then calling them on it. And that made me too dangerous to keep around. My poor husband tried in vain to require them to walk Matthew 18 with us, our accusors never showed. That is what is so baffling to me, if I was such a dirty dog sinner (which we all are) then no problem all those people needed to come forward and confront the issue with love. But there is no godly accountability allowed in these churches. NONE.

  110. @ rebecca lynn:
    You sound a lot like Deb and me. You kept a copy of that credit card statement. Good for you. We now recommend recording devices at all meetings with people like this.

    Acts 29 are you listening??? You have a moral and ethical responsibility and tomorrow I will ram the point home.An ethical breach occurred and there are witnesses to this. Unless there is a change, you have no “gospel” witness to the world.

    Stay tuned!

  111. dee wrote:

    Shouldn’t Acts 29 take responsibility for this stuff?

    Don’t tell me, let me guess. Matt Chandler’s response was

    {chirp}

  112. Erik wrote:

    It makes me very upset, because I realize now that my suspicions over the years were accurate.

    I knew that from the first time you reached out to us. Keep tuned to this discussion. It will give you far more insight and help you to see how these guys operate. They are willing to give up basic moral values to push the program. They even benefit themselves through the good people who donate to the church.

  113. @ JeffT: By the time we finish with this series, they will have to say something or be marked with the unethical actions that we will spell out. Gospel? not be a flaming long shot.

  114. Rebecca…just as a heads up. Its Mark Driscoll NOT Marc Driscoll. Its cool…you can ask Deb I made a huge snafu in saying CJ Mahaney was a high school drop out. Deb corrected me last week and I was grateful. As you can see I have no problem submitting to female authority…just don’t tell Mark Driscoll or John Piper that! 😛

    You’ve been through a lot and I’d hate to see some of these clowns jump all over you for not getting Mark Driscoll’s name correct. If I was where you are at..I’d give you a hug and we’d weep together over all this.

  115. @ rebecca lynn:

    Becky has refused to repent of gossip, slander, deception, lying,

    You ever considered a defamation lawsuit? Seriously, they’ve crossed the line

  116. dee wrote:

    @ JeffT: By the time we finish with this series, they will have to say something or be marked with the unethical actions that we will spell out. Gospel? not be a flaming long shot.

    I do so want to hear one of them explain their actions. Are all these guys Southern? Must be because they all have the same motto: Stonewall.

  117. @ JeffT:
    Honestly I have not ever wanted to sue, I just cannot reconcile that with the word or who I am. What I want is an acknowledgement of the wrong that was done us and the total shutdown of Acts 29. I know it’s such a little thing right? I want Mark Driscoll to shut his piehole and get over himself too. LOL Think I will be waiting a long time for these things since some people here in town are still shunning me.

  118. If Acts 29 are going to be serious about forgiveness and reconciliation here’s what they need to do.

    1. Apologize and work out all issues with people who were slandered and emotionally assaulted. Do whatever it takes to restore their reputation.
    2. Close down Christ church and take those stolen resources and give it back to Countryside Church.
    3. Corporate Acts 29 re buy Countryside and leave it financially sound.
    4. Remove Galloway from all further church planting. Seriously I wouldn’t trust this guy with a lemonade stand.
    5. Galloway and Chandler should meet with the former Pastor who led Countryside for 30 years and beg for his forgiveness.
    6. Leave Countryside alone.

    Reconciliation and true forgiveness is not cheap. I've learned a little about this in the last few months! ;-)

  119. @ formerly anonymous:

    The offense is being so conservative that you refuse to vote for less radical Republican who won the primary, resulting in better chances for the Democrat on the ballot, instead of doing the “evangelical Christian” thing of electing Republicans, as if that were the mandate of God.

  120. A pastor who led a church for 430 years!!!! ROFL…. I’m fried!!! LOL!! I need to go to bed.

  121. rebecca lynn wrote:

    Honestly I have not ever wanted to sue

    Sometimes that’s the only way to stop them. They think they are a law unto themselves and the real law is the only way to disabuse them of that belief.

    At any rate, you and your husband have my admiration. You have been persecuted for your faith and it makes me ashamed to call myself a Christian because of it.

  122. The hypocrisy in the stewardship and managing money is what gals me. A church that cannibalized another and can’t be a good steward of its resources frosts me. Again in Neo-Calvinism what you have created is a modern day Caste system. Where the Pastors are exempt and the members of the organization are the new Dalits.

    One other thing about Galloway…I would be curious to know this. What was his record as a cop like? Did he leave under pressure? Face any investigations by Internal Affairs for unethical conduct? People change but the habits stay the same. I wonder if he misused any country or city government credit cards, etc…

  123. Eagle wrote:

    One other thing about Galloway…I would be curious to know this. What was his record as a cop like?

    Maybe the power of being a cop gave him a thirst for more and he created a God complex for himself?

  124. Anyone awake please pray for my son. Eye probelm diagnosed as pink eye last week has gotten much worse. I made him go to urgent care today. They sent him to ER. He is in extreme pain and we are concerned about his eye. Thanks.

  125. Bridget wrote:

    Anyone awake please pray for my son. Eye probelm diagnosed as pink eye last week has gotten much worse. I made him go to urgent care today. They sent him to ER. He is in extreme pain and we are concerned about his eye. Thanks.

    You son and you and your family are in my prayers.

  126. Without at all wishing to take away from what sounds like a heartbreaking story – can we be careful before tarring every A29 church with this brush? These churches, by and large, are filled with humble godly parishioners led by humble godly pastors. The problem of “this A29 church may have done a terrible thing” is certainly serious, and it may even extend to “A29 leadership enabled this and needs to repent,” but that doesn’t reflect one way or another on the other 300 A29 churches, their pastors, or their congregants.

  127. Joe wrote:

    Really? I believe the church’s teaching regarding artificial birth control is well known. I assume you are in 100% agreement and would abide by their teaching. But if you have a problem with the teaching (I understand many Catholics do) and used artificial birth control, would you tell your priest that the church’s teaching is wrong? Would he say what you are doing is a sin? Would there be any church discipline? I don’t think its a matter of dictating the terms; its a matter of enforcement of the terms which may be lacking.

    Joe,

    Thanks for your questions. To be clear about where I stand, I am both 100% in agreement with the Church’s official teaching on artificial birth control, *and* I also know, from the testimony of other Catholics, and from simple logic, that this teaching can be challenging (although *not* impossible, by God’s grace!) to consistently follow. I have heard that, in individual situations, priests tend to be very understanding about the difficulties of living out this teaching for lay Catholics– but it is very important here to make some clarifications.

    It seems that, from what Dee wrote, the counsel she has been given, as a non-Catholic inquiring about the matter, is that Catholics are allowed to “dissent” from the Church on artificial birth control. Certain priests and/or individual Catholics may have actually told her this (I’ve been told the same in the past), and they may have told her that this teaching is not infallibly defined in the Church, and is not a “non-negotiable” part of the Catholic faith. If so, unfortunately, whether from a priest, a nun, or a lay Catholic, she has received mistaken counsel. Dee, please feel free to clarify about your experience on asking about this matter if you wish (and only if you wish– no pressure from me!).

    Both in my time as a Reformed Protestant, and as a Catholic, I have done careful research on this issue, from the Bible, from the current Catechism of the Catholic Church, and from papal encyclicals and other Church documents. In a real sense, the so-called “ban” on artificial birth control is a non-negotiable part of Catholic teaching and always has been so. It was taught in the very early centuries of Christianity by the early Church Fathers, it was reaffirmed in 1968 with the Papal encyclical, “Humanae Vitae,” and the current Catechism speaks clearly about it as being part of the Catholic faith.

    Actually, it may surprise many Protestants here to read this, but literally, from the 1500s until 1930 (beginning with the Anglican Church), all *Protestant denominations* officially taught that artificial contraception interferes with God’s design for sexuality within marriage. This article explains more about *that* historical (but today, widely unknown!) reality of Protestantism, and about where the teaching “stands,” officially, from Scripture and Church documents, within the Catholic faith. http://www.catholic.com/tracts/birth-control

    Joe, to be completely honest with you, I can’t knowledgeably speak as to how any possible “church discipline” might be enforced, if I were married and consistently choosing to disobey this teaching. I have never been in this situation myself (I’m 40 and never married, though that is definitely not what I wish!) , and I have never personally talked to, nor heard of, *any* married Catholic person who has described an official “church discipline” process for consistent disobedience against this teaching. With that said, any Catholic who is consistently choosing to disobey any part of the Church’s teaching on matters of faith and morals is strongly encouraged to refrain from taking the Eucharist *but* still attend Mass, and hopefully, take the matter to his/her priest in the confessional. The same goes for a Catholic who is consistently choosing to disobey what he/she knows the Church teaches about pre-marital sex, adultery, *and* any other mortal sin, including the ones which are not sexual in nature, as most of them are not!

    I understand that, for contemporary evangelical and/or Reformed Protestants, *and* for many Catholics, the Church’s teaching against artificial birth control may seem “legalistic” and ridiculously intrusive. However, I think that the teaching speaks, in a deeply profound way, to God’s revealed design, in our very bodies, for both male and female sexuality, in ways that are rarely considered today in the Western world. And, again, as I wrote above, I have heard that priests tend to be, personally, very understanding with Catholics who struggle with the teaching. (Sometimes, though, some priests can be so “understanding,” and so wanting to sympathize with the difficulties, that they actually deny that the teaching is part of the Catholic faith, and this is mistaken.)

  128. Dee, and *everyone else* who has replied to my comments in this thread,

    Thank you all so much, for your sympathy and love, regarding my painful past experiences in Reformed churches. I do want to say that I *haven’t* been shunned by *every* Reformed friend in my social circles (only by most of the ones at Capitol Hill Baptist), and I would be heartbroken if readers here took my experiences to somehow be a normative representation of most Reformed church life in America.

    To be clear here, I have no reason to think that *most* Reformed, or “Calvinistic,” churches in America practice shunning, or any other heavy-handed aspect of so-called “church discipline,” that I’ve personally encountered. As a Catholic, I am still very thankful for all of the good, true things that I learned about God and Scripture, in sermons, Bible studies, and in conversations with friends, while I was a “five-point-Calvinist.” I seriously differ with certain aspects of Reformed theology now, as a Catholic, but I would certainly never say, and the Church does not teach, that Reformed people are not fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, seeking to follow God as they sincerely understand Him from Scripture.

  129. Bridget wrote:

    Anyone awake please pray for my son. Eye probelm diagnosed as pink eye last week has gotten much worse. I made him go to urgent care today. They sent him to ER. He is in extreme pain and we are concerned about his eye. Thanks.

    I’m so sorry to hear about this, Bridget. I will pray for him and for you and your family. Please keep us updated on his condition.

  130. Thank you. Still don’t know what it is. ER checked it out and he sees ophthamologist first thing in morning. They did give him some pain meds.

  131. @ Bridget:
    I have read all of the updates to here, and I am praying. I have several friends who have had a similar extended pain issue with an eye, and it is a most difficult pain to manage. I am praying and will until we get an update that says it will be OK.

  132. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    nonsense talk. A quick web search will demonstrate all kinds of people showing how . . . driving a Chevy [is] “based on biblical principles.”

    Nonsense indeed! Who would say that driving a Chevy is more biblical?! Obviously, they haven’t read Acts 5:12. The NASB says: 12 [a]At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico.

    Clearly, the apostles had a HONDA ACCORD, so don’t give me any of that biblical Chevy talk. 🙂

    True story tangent: I still have the Honda Accord my parents bought me back in 1985. It was just after I had returned from working a year in Indonesia. I was excitedly telling them about how most of the Indonesians rode motorcycles instead of cars. It was so much fun, I told them, I had decided I wanted to buy a motorcycle to use in the States. Very shortly after that, out of the blue, my parents told me that they wanted to buy me a brand new car. Pretty amazing, right? I’d never even asked for one. 😉 And yeah, their plan worked; I never did get that motorcycle.

  133. In view of another unending thread here I have posted to too often, something in Becky’s testimony brought a wry smile to my face. The smile faded when I read the following in the dis-fellowshipping letter issued by the church:

    “Becky has refused to repent of gossip, slander, deception, lying, failing to submit to her husband …”

    The statement by Becky in her testimony was

    “I have always been willing to submit to my husband and I follow him as I should, the problem with his leadership was only thought up by this leadership because he refused to allow them to beat me up and challenged them to walk scripture with me …”

    Now the point is (not getting distracted) these two statements cannot both be true. Someone is being dishonest. No suprises as to whom I think that is … If I were into psychobabble, I might wonder if the church leadership is projecting or transferring its own sin onto Becky.

    In cases like these, the local church needs a third party to investigate, someone who has no interest in the outcome except to make sure the truth comes out and problems are resolved. Someone a bit like a bishop in the Anglican sense or a moderator in a baptist sense. A mature pastor from a neighbouring congregation to act as honest broker. If this isn’t possible/the church won’t countenance it, then there is little or no check on the power of the leadership of the church where the mentality of ruling has overcome the mentality of serving, and the only way to deal with abuses of such power for members is to leave the church.

    I have never liked the democratic mentality behind the average Baptist church meeting, but at least it does have the merit of holding the church leadership to account if they are getting too big for their boots.

  134. TW wrote:

    Never say never, but it is doubtful I will ever formally join a church again. I am unconvinced that membership, as portrayed by Acts 29 and 9Marks, is biblical.

    Same here, TW. Unfortunately, it is darn near impossible to find a church in this metro area I live in (hundreds of nearby churches) that isn’t falling under the A29 or 9Marks spell.

  135. @ JeffT: I would agree with you. Unfortunately, these men who claim to believe in the sovereignty and love of God only fear one thing, and it isn’t God since they *know* He is on their side of every issue. They fear the retribution of man.

  136. TedS. wrote:

    What specific sin was committed that they are being required to repent of?”

    Perhaps they questioned the liquor store charges? You are going to love today’s post.

  137. @ former Sojourn member: It is typical of this crowd. They are convinced that they can do it better than one another. I will probably cover on Friday what Kevin Galloway formed at his church. The hubris is incredible.

  138. An Attorney wrote:

    I have seen it once or twice referring to a left winger, but it seems less applicable in general.

    Why? You don’t think micromanaging the personal lives of 300 million people is wing nutty? :o)

    BTW: I read yesterday of a woman who said she was excommunicated from Doug Phillips’ church because she told him she voted for George Bush. It seems they were told not to.

  139. @ Anon 1:
    The idea of a “wing nut” is someone so far to one end of the spectrum that they refuse to vote for the primary winner of their party b/c that person is not extreme enough, therefore possibly causing the candidate of their party to fail to win the election. It seems that is rarer among Dems the Repubs for some reason. Another use is that of a candidate that is so far to one end of the spectrum that he/she cannot win the general election in a district that has a majority of the electorate voting for their party but not the wing nut candidate.

  140. Ken wrote:

    In cases like these, the local church needs a third party to investigate, someone who has no interest in the outcome except to make sure the truth comes out and problems are resolved.

    Agreed. There’s another comment above (here) floating a similar idea but more audacious, and with cool apple-shaped bullet points. A lot more words, it’s true, but overall the comment represents extraordinary genius, and the writer should be paid a shedload of money to talk through his rear end at conferences. IMHO.

    (Er – make that IMO.)

  141. Ken wrote:

    I have never liked the democratic mentality behind the average Baptist church meeting, but at least it does have the merit of holding the church leadership to account if they are getting too big for their boots.

    Sort of like democracy. Full of flaws. But many times with many less flaws than the other choices.

    A flat open meeting congregational church business setup has it’s flaws. But it general the flaws are in the open for people to see and deal with or not. And if they deal with them badly at least it is public. Most of the other structures let the cockroaches hide in the dark closed rooms where the doors are not allowed to be opened. 🙂

  142. Rafiki wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Arghhhhhhhhh!
    Yours truly,
    Rafiki-the-Bayern-fan-and-in-particular-think-Manuel-Nuer-is-dreamy -in-addition-to-being-one-of-the-best-goaltenders-in-the-business.

    Well hey – so far on TWW, then, we have Liverpool, West Ham and Bayern. This has “superleague” written all over it.e>

  143. @ dee:

    Some hours yet before we can get to ophthamologist. Feels better due to pain meds. Will update later in the day.

    Thank you all for the prayers.

  144. @ Christopher Lake:

    For everybody interested in this check out the article “Pontifical Commission on Birth Control” in Wikipedia.

    I was in internship (at a catholic hospital) and then in residency (partly at a program affiliated with a Jesuit university) and then on the lowest possible clinical rung of faculty at that same university during the time that this was going on. This was such a hot issue at the time. Note, that the church’s position could have been changed but was not. It was not that it could not have been changed at that time, only that it was not changed.

    My personal observation is that the proverbial large catholic family seems to be relatively rare these days and that the size which is considered “large” in our culture seems to be a lot smaller than before the pill hit the market.

    When I was in RCIA about 10 years ago this issue was avoided like the plague and we were all told to “talk to the priest” about it. IMO, it is probably easier to get forgiveness that to get permission.

  145. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    dee wrote: @ Nick Bulbeck: This blog is known for the worms. Worms are very nutritious. At one point, the church of Rome had a diet of worms.

    Love it!

  146. rebecca lynn wrote:

    Honestly I have not ever wanted to sue, I just cannot reconcile that with the word or who I am.

    Yes, 1 Cor 6 went through my mind as well (To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you). It’s no coincidence though that following on from the grievance passage here Paul goes on to say “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, …. nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

    What I am not doing is jumping to the conclusion that the leadership of your former church are not Christians. Feelings can run high, and people say things they later regret or acknowledge were over the top or just plain wrong.

    Nevertheless, if the church is in reality a case of human empire building and the leaders are indistinguishable from crony capitalist managers in their attitudes, trampling over those who get in their way, it does make you wonder if they are actually just religious and use this as a means of fullfilling more earthly ambitions, and are indeed deceived.

  147. @Thom:

    First of all, unique spelling of the name Tom.

    Secondly, it would be much easier to separate the Acts 29 wheat from the Acts 29 chaff if the godly, humble leaders you refer to would actively speak out against the high-profile, embarrassing, offensive, unqualified ones. At minimum, silence is seen as tacit approval in a close-ranked group like A29.

    Also, it would be helpful for everyone is Acts 29 would just stop allowing such guys to become lead pastors.

    @Ken:

    Not sure if it was sarcasm, but using the term “psychobabble” is moderately offensive to professional psychologists. Contrary to what you may think after listening to the warnings of some Calvinistas, modern psychology, if practiced well, is not a combination of stage magic and nihilism. Evidence-based therapy is legit. And concepts like “projection,” while very complex, do accurately describe real world dynamics.

  148. Thom wrote:

    can we be careful before tarring every A29 church with this brush? These churches, by and large, are filled with humble godly parishioners led by humble godly pastors.

    Thank you for your comment. However, if you don’t mind, I am going to say that the jury is out on your statement. I no longer broad brush either positive or negative.

    To be frank, this is not the first failure of this network and there is precious little accountability from what I can see. They are still pushing this guy on the Acts 29 website which means, to this blogger, that the organization approves of his actions. If that is the case, then the entire system is open to question.

    Today, read more and think about it. Why should I believe that the majority are humble and decent? This is not a rhetorical question. How do I know what you say is true?

  149. Big Blue Fan in Asia wrote:

    I had decided I wanted to buy a motorcycle to use in the States. Very shortly after that, out of the blue, my parents told me that they wanted to buy me a brand new car. Pretty amazing, right? I’d never even asked for on

    That is too funny!

  150. Mr.H wrote:

    modern psychology, if practiced well, is not a combination of stage magic and nihilism. Evidence-based therapy is legit. And concepts like “projection,” while very complex, do accurately describe real world dynamics.

    Agreed!

  151. @ Ken:

    Look at the assumptions Paul was making. He was assuming that the church was composed of believers. He was assuming that there were specific people in the church who could function to judge matters. He was assuming the civil courts were composed of unbelievers. And then he assumes that issues can be resolved, indeed, without lawsuits. He does not say anything about what to do if the situation and the assumptions change, or if there is no resolution without a lawsuit. Only that things ought not come to that.

    So, what to do now? We could assume that Paul’s assumptions are still accurate and valid. We could even assume that to leave a thing unresolved and/or permit injustice is better than to admit defeat and go ahead and solve it whatever it takes. Or we could solve it, take a good look at the areas in which the solution was something Paul called a defeat, and then remake the system so that the system functions better. But “see no evil” is not in the bible.

  152. <Christopher Lake wrote:

    Joe, to be completely honest with you, I can’t knowledgeably speak as to how any possible “church discipline” might be enforced, if I were married and consistently choosing to disobey this teaching. I have never been in this situation myself (I’m 40 and never married, though that is definitely not what I wish!) , and I have never personally talked to, nor heard of, *any* married Catholic person who has described an official “church discipline” process for consistent disobedience against this teaching.

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. It kind of supports my thought that it may be the lack of “church discipline” (as may be experienced in a Reformed church)that gives the atmosphere of much more freedom. The legalistic shackles may still be there, just not enforced. Not to belabor the point, but if you were to go to a priest and asked to be married, but told the priest upfront that you and your wife could not obey the teaching on birth control, would the priest go ahead and perform the marriage? I think you would get the same answer that you received in the Reformed church regarding your girlfriend or wife being the main provider. Both churches are controlling your relationship.

  153. Are there a large number of Acts 29 survivor blogs? I know there are a couple. I would be fascianted to know how Acts 29 is different under Matt Chandler than Mark Driscoll. To me the only thing that has changed is the figurehead. One is more likable than the other.

  154. @ Nancy:
    The point is seems to me is that Paul doesn’t want the sinful actions of church members in wronging and defrauding each other to be displayed before an unbelieving world.

    Although this at first sight seems like letting wrongdoers get away with it, there is a coming judgment at which everyone will appear that will put right all the injustices ever committed, so it is not as though anyone ultimately gets away with anything.

    He does nevertheless expect the church to have the guts and willingness to sort this kind of thing out.

    This does not apply to actual law breaking, of which child abuse is a good and sadly current example. God has ordained government to execute wrath on the evildoer, and we should not hesitate to make use of this in such circumstances.

  155. Ken wrote:

    The point is seems to me is that Paul doesn’t want the sinful actions of church members in wronging and defrauding each other to be displayed before an unbelieving world.

    I believe that we can take this way too far. For an internal, minor issue that can be debated between people of good will within the church which has not yet leaked to the public,that is fine.

    However, today’s pastors jump up and down, telling us to come to their churches, to look at them, and to let them role model for us what constitutes a “Christian.” They do not get to tell the observers what they do, and do not, see. In fact, the watching world is already tuned into the ongoing controversies within churches.

    You apply this verse in a way that I think could damage our witness to the world. They see it. You should see the emails from outsiders that we get. And they look at us and say we are no different than anyone else and do not even have the guts to cop to our problems. So, needless to say, I deeply disagree with your application of this verse.

  156. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Ken wrote:
    In cases like these, the local church needs a third party to investigate, someone who has no interest in the outcome except to make sure the truth comes out and problems are resolved.
    Agreed. There’s another comment above (here) floating a similar idea but more audacious, and with cool apple-shaped bullet points. A lot more words, it’s true, but overall the comment represents extraordinary genius, and the writer should be paid a shedload of money to talk through his rear end at conferences. IMHO.
    (Er – make that IMO.)

    The conferences would then be called Sheeps of Height. As for the cool apple-shaped points, I notice they have one bite taken out. Is this due to a diet of worms in the remainder? Or to illustrate Eve’s sin of usurping Adam’s authority? Because Adam didn’t really take a bite himself you see– his sin was * letting* her talk to the snake.
    Seriously, your apple- filled comment and Kens do illustrate WHY the typical “church discipline” usually doesn’t *work*. I tried to explain something like this last year to young elders who were disciplining and excommunicating a former congregant (he’d already left the church AND told them he was never coming back) following the A-29/9marks script. (BTW — did Park Fiscal properly cite/footnote the parts of the discipline script he borrowed from 9marks? Seems really similar…) Anyway, my plea fell on deaf ears– which may not have happened had I typed in an intelligent-sounding British accent.

  157. Ken wrote:

    Although this at first sight seems like letting wrongdoers get away with it, there is a coming judgment at which everyone will appear that will put right all the injustices ever committed, so it is not as though anyone ultimately gets away with anything.

    “In the Sweet Bye and Bye,
    You’ll get Pie in the Sky when you die…”
    — old Wobbly anthem “The Preacher and the Slave”

  158. An Attorney wrote:

    Another use is that of a candidate that is so far to one end of the spectrum that he/she cannot win the general election in a district that has a majority of the electorate voting for their party but not the wing nut candidate.

    California fixed that long ago by drawing one-party districts. Win the Primary (where you need the True Believer wingnuts to get the nomination) and you ALWAYS win the General. This selects for True Believer wingnuts in power.

  159. Eagle wrote:

    One is more likable than the other.

    Although, when they made the change, I did read one Chandler sermon. It was about shooting “Wolves” to protect the flock. Then the example he gave of “Wolves” was– shallow young from the big city who might want to MARRY the beautiful young flock-daughters. Very Driscoll-like.

  160. I am not impressed by Matt Chandler. Actually I think he’s overrated. Before my faith crisis he was the one people told me to read when it came to pain and suffering due to his brain tumor. So everyone would drool over what Chandler would say. When my Dad had his brain tumor I was curious so I listened to a couple of things by Chandler and read a couple of articles. I was disgusted with what I read, I recall him saying he only doubted God once during his brain tumor. And my reaction was like “ONCE? Are you ^&%$ing kidding me!!” This was when my family was going through MRI scans over my Dad’s brain tumor. And it was an emotional roller coaster ride. One doctor would say good news, another would say bad news…and we were trying to figure out everything amidst all that. I think of the times my Mom cried on the phone while my family hung on through all this. And I got disgusted to think that Chandler only doubted God once. And who knows since Matt Chandler uses Docent, I wonder if that was after or during his brain tumor.

    But Chandler is overrated. I had a guy who gave me Chandler’s stuff and he would get flustered when I critiqued it. He said I always had to listen to it and not just read the text. I was puzzled as to why because the content would always be the same regardless. The downer, and I admit this, is that read a sermon is kind of like reading an email. You can’t get voice fluctuations, emotions, etc…

  161. Bridget wrote:

    Some hours yet before we can get to ophthamologist. Feels better due to pain meds. Will update later in the day.
    Thank you all for the prayers.

    Thank you for the updates, Bridget. I’m glad to hear that the pain meds are working. I will keep praying.

  162. JeffT wrote:

    Bridget wrote:
    Anyone awake please pray for my son. Eye probelm diagnosed as pink eye last week has gotten much worse. I made him go to urgent care today. They sent him to ER. He is in extreme pain and we are concerned about his eye. Thanks.

    You son and you and your family are in my prayers.

    Me too, Bridget.

  163. Dave A A wrote:

    Then the example he gave of “Wolves” was– shallow young from the big city who might want to MARRY the beautiful young flock-daughters.

    Shut the front door, did he really insinuate that a guy from a city/town larger than a patriarchal nut-job’s fortified family compound in the woods who is interested in dating is a “wolf”??!!

    Where o where are all those 90s-era comp blogger/writer Christian scolds (usually female) who were so into haranguing singles to “get off their, um, tails and just get yourself married” to point out the horrible mixed messages here?

    Oh that’s right, only a disobedient heretical sheep would challenge such a patently awful accusation against normal men. Ugh.

  164. Mr.H wrote:

    At our new church (EFCA, non-Calvinista-infiltrated) I have yet to even hear the words “gossip” and “slander” uttered by the lead pastor. Of course, he is in his 50s, has an MDiv, a DMin, and over 25 years of ministry experience. He is also one of the most gentle, sweet, loving men I have ever met. Confident and secure but also humble and gracious. No need to be worried about “gossip” or “slander” from his congregation…if anyone tried, they’d be laughed at by everyone else!

    Hi, Mr. H. Sounds like you’ve found a good local church. Please may I point something out? I was bludgeoned by church discipline in an EFCA church, including shunning, for making a complaint in writing to the EFCA District Office about a personal matter my elders insisted on handling for me. I gave permission in writing to the EFCA District Office to share everything I had written with the elders. The “sins” the elders presented to the congregation at my excommunication were that I had “slandered the elders in my email communication with the EFCA.” The congregation was advised that I had refused to repent (that is, sign a document starting that my (true) comments were lies, and then sign another document promising never to speak about it to anyone), and that talking to me about it would be gossip.

    What you should know is that each EFCA church is accountable only to itself. The EFCA District Office in Turlock, CA, told me to find another church where my son and I could heal (not submit myself to the elders and repent), and when I contacted the President of the EFCA, Dr. Greg Strand, he advised me the same, but said each church handles its own affairs and the national office would not get involved either.

    The certified nouthetic counselor on staff at my former church told me the problem was that even though the elders might have sinned against me, the real issue was that I had the responsibility to accept the blame for a sin I did not commit as a sign of submission, then never speak of it again as a sign of forgiveness.

    My points are this:

    1. The quality of your pastor has nothing to do with the EFCA affiliation of your church.
    2. The EFCA affiliation of your church means that your elders are accountable only to themselves.
    (Please do not sign a membership contract! Discipline was taken against me after I resigned in good standing, a clear violation of our church membership contract, yet neither level of EFCA office would address this violation).
    3. A nouthetic counseling certificate does not make one competent to counsel.

    I wish you and your church the best.

  165. @ Janet Varin:
    “The certified nouthetic counselor on staff at my former church told me the problem was that even though the elders might have sinned against me, the real issue was that I had the responsibility to accept the blame for a sin I did not commit as a sign of submission, then never speak of it again as a sign of forgiveness. ”

    Whoa…

  166. Rafiki wrote:

    Shut the front door, did he really insinuate that a guy from a city/town larger than a patriarchal nut-job’s fortified family compound in the woods who is interested in dating is a “wolf”??!!

    Wow, this IS Craster’s Keep near The Wall in North Westeros.

    Just ask that “wolf” Sam of the Night Watch….

  167. Haitch wrote:

    @ Janet Varin:
    “The certified nouthetic counselor on staff at my former church told me the problem was that even though the elders might have sinned against me, the real issue was that I had the responsibility to accept the blame for a sin I did not commit as a sign of submission, then never speak of it again as a sign of forgiveness. ”
    Whoa…

    Perfect Slave Religion, isn’t it?

  168. Nancy wrote:

    For everybody interested in this check out the article “Pontifical Commission on Birth Control” in Wikipedia.
    I was in internship (at a catholic hospital) and then in residency (partly at a program affiliated with a Jesuit university) and then on the lowest possible clinical rung of faculty at that same university during the time that this was going on. This was such a hot issue at the time. Note, that the church’s position could have been changed but was not. It was not that it could not have been changed at that time, only that it was not changed.
    My personal observation is that the proverbial large catholic family seems to be relatively rare these days and that the size which is considered “large” in our culture seems to be a lot smaller than before the pill hit the market.
    When I was in RCIA about 10 years ago this issue was avoided like the plague and we were all told to “talk to the priest” about it. IMO, it is probably easier to get forgiveness that to get permission.

    Nancy (and anyone else who is reading and curious– one never knows!), 🙂

    It’s very unfortunate that your RCIA class avoided directly talking about the Church’s stand against artificial birth control. I know that this teaching seems ridiculous to most people today, but there is a very serious Christian anthropology of the human person behind the teaching, and it has always been held by the Church. On a purely practical level, people who are looking into what the Catholic Church teaches, especially with the possible intent of becoming Catholic (which is part of the reason for the RCIA process, of course), have every right to know what the Church teaches, and what Catholics are called to accept by the Church, and what they are not called to accept.

    When one joins the Catholic Church, one is (or is *supposed* to be asked at least) asked to affirm all that the Catholic Church teaches. This would include the teaching on artificial birth control. I’m not saying that it’s easy to live the teaching. That would be dishonest at worst and naive at best. It is challenging.

    In particular, the teaching challenges the modern sensibility, found among even among most Christians now, that human beings should somehow get to enjoy the physical pleasure that was “built into” the act of lovemaking, by God, while deliberately choosing *not* to be open to the reproduction of new life– which is, just as obviously, “built into” lovemaking by God! 🙂 The part of me that wants life to be (more) easy and comfortable struggles mightily with the Church’s teaching here! However, the part of me that cannot ignore how God clearly, biologically designed lovemaking, with the possibility of new life as an intrinsic, logical part of it, sees the point of the Church’s teaching. It’s a matter of respecting the marital act *as* God designed it, not as we might wish to “tweak it” to make it more convenient for what *we* may want out of it (closeness, comfort, physical pleasure) or not want out of it (the possibility of a new life).

    From the 1960s up until today, some Catholic theologians, and priests, and nuns, and lay people have maintained that the teaching can still be changed. However, according to the official Church documents, it cannot be changed. Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, “Humane Vitae,” made that very clear yet again (although many Catholics choose to ignore it or dissent from it): http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html The current Catechism also reaffirms the teaching.

    I completely “get” that most readers here probably see this issue as a “Catholic thing.” However, up until 80 years ago, that was not the broad Christian consensus. From the 1500s until 1930, all Protestant denominations officially taught that the use of artificial contraception is an intrinsic evil too. Now, one may certainly choose to think that, up until 1930, Protestants were just holding onto a Catholic remnant that was/is unnecessary and legalistic. For myself, when I seriously asked myself the question, “Why did all Christian churches officially agree on this subject until 80 years ago, and why is the Catholic Church the only one still teaching the historic Christian position on it?”… answering that question helped to lead me back to the Catholic Church (with sincere respect for all of Christian brothers and sisters who disagree about it!) 🙂

  169. Yawn. This has been going on since the early 90s. New Calvinism, the 5th resurgence of authentic Calvinism since Geneva, will now begin to die out because of this primary reason among 6–tyranny. The original Reformation will keep coming back and dying again unless it can get back in bed with the government. I wouldn’t even know where to start in these situations, other than to say that biblically, ELDERS HAVE NO, AUTHORITY IN YOUR HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! MEN, WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  170. @ Janet Varin:

    Janet…you’re not far from my hometown of Fresno. The problem in the EFCA from what I gathor is that it is structured loosely like the SBC. There is a lot of freedom in the individual churches and they can go in differing individual directions at the whim of the leadership. My first exposure to evangelicalism was at Fresno Evangelical Free Church, which is called The Bridge today. Back in 1999 it wasn’t half bad..still pretty evangelical in teaching. But Neo-Cal theology was not an issue. As far as I know its still not, but I wonder if Turlock falls under the Fresno district. The other local EFCA Church that has become corrupt is Clovis Evangelcial Free on Armstrong. I exploded last year when I saw the Pastor there on his blog pushing Sovereign Grace material. He was touting CJ Mahaney’s book on Humility and writing about how much humility Mahaney exhibits even in stepping down in leadership from CLC. I was livid at seeing that crap at an EFCA.

  171. Rafiki wrote:

    Shut the front door, did he really insinuate that a guy from a city/town larger than a patriarchal nut-job’s fortified family compound in the woods who is interested in dating is a “wolf”??!!

    Strangely, I believe The Village has a Dallas campus. And Chandler doesn’t seem like a nut-job. But there are similarities to certain patriarchs with their 30ish SAHD’s still serving Daddy, who’s still fending off potential suitors.
    Since Chandler is the president of Acts 29, I do think this passage gives us some insight into their idea of “church discipline”:
    ‘The wolves are in the church. So when people say to me, “This happened. . .this happened. . .this happened,” I’ve got no argument. I just go, “It’s worse than that.” It’s played itself out here in several ways. There are young men in the city of Dallas who know that there are young, beautiful women at the Village Church, and so they come here to hunt. And I plead with our girls constantly that good behavior and godliness aren’t the same thing, and if you marry good and not godly, you’ve set yourself up for sorrow, especially if you want to raise children and serve God. If you marry a man who is not interested in those things, your children are going to take their cues from their daddy. And men, that should be an unbelievable weight on you. So when we find out that you’re hunting here, we’re going to shoot you. It’s even to the point where we’ve had discussions about putting your dumb picture on all of the screens and going, “Avoid this idiot.”’
    http://media.thevillagechurch.net/sermons/transcripts/201010171700FMWC21ASAAA_MattChandler_UltimateAuthorityPt4-GuidingAndConfrontingTheMess.pdf
    Because, to paraphrase Driscoll, If *you* don’t *have* the young men, you’ve got NUTTIN’!

  172. Thom wrote:

    Without at all wishing to take away from what sounds like a heartbreaking story – can we be careful before tarring every A29 church with this brush? These churches, by and large, are filled with humble godly parishioners led by humble godly pastors. The problem of “this A29 church may have done a terrible thing” is certainly serious, and it may even extend to “A29 leadership enabled this and needs to repent,” but that doesn’t reflect one way or another on the other 300 A29 churches, their pastors, or their congregants.

    I’ve been thinking about this all morning.

    Here’s where I am at this moment. If there are 300,000 churches in America and only 300 belong to Acts 29, then with only 0.1% of all churches, Acts 29 really isn’t a significant movement. Yet it already has one (or more) survivor groups.

    What’s the attraction? What does Acts 29 promise to those churches? What’s worth the price of membership? What does the pastor get out of it that’s worth the time and financial commitment?

    Good theology is free. You don’t need to join a group to have it.

  173. @ Dave & Rafiki:

    Then the example he gave of “Wolves” was– shallow young men from the big city who might want to MARRY the beautiful young flock-daughters

    But of course. If they meet someone from off-compound they’ll figure out that compound life is not normal and daddy is really just a controlling nutjob…

  174. Janey wrote:

    What’s the attraction? What does Acts 29 promise to those churches? What’s worth the price of membership? What does the pastor get out of it that’s worth the time and financial commitment?

    Those are my questions as well. There may well be good Acts29 or 9Marks churches, I don’t know. But what is it that Acts29 or 9Marks provides that helps churches and their communities grow in Christ and love for God and neighbor? Reading their own material I can’t see anything they bring to the table that remotely addresses that. In the case of Acts29, it’s really all about planting more churches – the Gospel is secondary if at all. That’s the main thrust of their 5 “Doctrinal Distinctive”, a secondary thrust is to get women out of the pulpit and church leadership. Some is terribly wrong with an organization when it lists it top five priorities and one of them is to marginalize women, and not one of the priorities discusses spreading the love of God and love of neighbor which, foolish me, I thought was the core of Christianity.

  175. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    As for the other, it is no guarantee that the man won’t be a scoundrel.

    That’s because they make up their own definition of “Godliness” which so often seems to have little to do with morality.

  176. Dave A A wrote:

    Then the example he gave of “Wolves” was– shallow young from the big city who might want to MARRY the beautiful young flock-daughters. Very Driscoll-like.

    It would appear that these guys are obsessed with youth and virginity almost to the point of it being a demi-idol in the various brands of fundagelicalism. It seems that the more testosterone laced the sect is, the more pronounced this mindset is.

  177. There’s another reason why I think these churches become popular. And its something that I think should raise many eyebrows. With the exception of Mars Hill Seattle, The Village, etc… many of these churches are small. And I think there are lots of benefits to that fact. The Sovereign Grace church that I visited twice was quite small. There is a Sojourn Church around the corner from where I live that is quite small. And Acts 29 churches from my understanding tend to be small. I think this is a reaction to the mega churches that many evangelicals become enamored by.

    But I for one would prefer a small church community. Why? You get to interact with the Pastor and Elders. You get to know members of the congregation. You can be intimately involved in other people’s lives and not just a beep on the radar. Not only that…but look at how society is going today. From banking, to companies, etc.. the emphasis is always on bigger and growth. How many here get frustrated when you call your bank and you get transferred to a call center in the Philippines and the person on the other end is struggling to understand you? Or how many get frustrated when you call your credit card or utility company and all you deal with is an automated system. Much of society is impersonal.

    I think many young people are pushing back from all that. Plus I think many people want community which is what these Acts 29 or SGM churches also offer. I can tell you from living in the Washington, D.C. area for 8 years. It’s a lonely place. It’s probably the loneliest place I’ve lived because of how transitory the area is. In the last year most of the people who I hanged around with have moved away. It’s a cold, harsh reality of life here in DC. Plus another unique thing I have noticed living here is how many people die alone and bequeath their gifts to the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, etc…

    But when people ask…what do these churches want…I think what many people want…myself included is community. Genuine friendships, loving relationships, etc… That is the draw to small churches and I think Acts 29 knows and exploits that fact.

  178. Muff Potter wrote:

    Dave A A wrote:
    Then the example he gave of “Wolves” was– shallow young from the big city who might want to MARRY the beautiful young flock-daughters. Very Driscoll-like.
    It would appear that these guys are obsessed with youth and virginity almost to the point of it being a demi-idol in the various brands of fundagelicalism. It seems that the more testosterone laced the sect is, the more pronounced this mindset is.

    It is a semi – idol of sorts. Some what reminiscent of fertility cults. Incessant emphasis on sex (within marriage of course) and a full womb.

  179. Dave A A wrote:

    Anyway, my plea fell on deaf ears– which may not have happened had I typed in an intelligent-sounding British accent.

    Dave A A,

    Don’t think for a moment that an intelligent-sounding British accent will get you anywhere! When I wrote to the pastors/elders of the church we attended for 24 years, to tell them about my concerns over issues which I now recognise as being the result of Neo/Cal influences, I was charged with having a “tone” and “shouting” at them because I capitalised SOME words for emphasis. It didn’t matter that my husband, one of their fellow elders, was fine with my letter. All hell broke loose and now I am free! It seems I am now a slanderous woman, for telling people our story. So the Acts29 stuff rings very true. And yes, I am British. And I am intelligent. Perhaps my great downfall is being a woman.

  180. Joe wrote:

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. It kind of supports my thought that it may be the lack of “church discipline” (as may be experienced in a Reformed church)that gives the atmosphere of much more freedom. The legalistic shackles may still be there, just not enforced. Not to belabor the point, but if you were to go to a priest and asked to be married, but told the priest upfront that you and your wife could not obey the teaching on birth control, would the priest go ahead and perform the marriage? I think you would get the same answer that you received in the Reformed church regarding your girlfriend or wife being the main provider. Both churches are controlling your relationship.

    Thanks for your response, Joe. I apologize for the lengthy sentence that is to come, directly below, but I can’t think of a better way to write it. 🙂

    From what you wrote, it appears that you perceive my former Reformed elders’ strong counsel against (all *but* forbidding, it seemed!) my getting married to my fiancee, as a physically disabled man who did not have a paying job at the time, as being basically on the same level to the Catholic Church potentially refusing to marry a Catholic couple who openly admit that they will be using artificial contraception in their marriage. Is my understanding of your view accurate? If not, please feel free to clarify.

    From what I can tell, you seem to see both of these examples as being ones of “legalistic church interference in your (i.e. my) relationship.” A very important question here– do you hold to Sola Scriptura? As a Reformed Baptist, I definitely *did*. As a Catholic, I definitely do *not*, because in the Catholic Church, we hold to both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

    My Reformed Baptist elders were claiming to hold to Sola Scriptura– Scripture alone– as their highest authority in faith and practice. However, does Scripture “clearly teach” that, in each and every single situation, a man *must* always have a paying job *and* be able to be the sole or main provider, before he can be married, without sinning, by Christian leaders? Let’s seriously consider the question here.

    Think about all of the men who go to Protestant seminaries, full-time, *while* they are married, *with* their wives often being the sole or main providers in their marriages during that period– which can last at least two or three years. By contrast, the Reformed counsel that I received was basically telling me, “According to clear Biblical principles, you cannot do, without sinning, what many Reformed men have done for centuries, up to the present day, with their elders teaching that it is perfectly allowable from the Bible.” Is that counsel an example of faithful adherence to Sola Scriptura? If it is, then perhaps there are some problems of the paradigm of Sola Scriptura itself… At the very least, it seems that there are some severe problems with the operation and application of the SS paradigm in some Reformed (and non-Reformed) churches. Elders are teaching, as being apparently “clear from the Bible.” their own opinions about “Biblical principles,” which even many of their own Reformed brethren, in other churches, do not see as being “clear from the Bible” at all– *and* they are basically giving their church members “Biblical” permission to marry, or not, based on their opinions about these “Biblical principles.” Is this a problem in your mind? I definitely see it as a problem.

    As I wrote above, the Catholic Church does not claim to hold to Sola Scriptura. From the Catholic perspective (for which there is abundant historical evidence, if one looks into the early Church counsels), the New Testament canon was finalized by the Church– as opposed to the other way around, which is often the Protestant perspective. I’ll be very clear here. To Catholics, Sacred Scripture is the bedrock and source of all extra-Biblical Church teaching, because Sacred Scripture is inspired by God in a way to which *nothing else* can be compared. However, the authoritative interpretation of Scripture, for the Catholic, is not a matter of private, individual interpretation. The latter form of interpretation led to the Protestant movement– which today has manifested itself in thousands of differing denominations, non-denominations, and “church is whatever I interpret the Bible to teach that it is” ways of thinking. The Catholic Church has never even claimed to hold to Sola Scriptura, because the interpretation of Scripture is an unavoidable reality of reading Scripture– and the interpretation of Scripture involves one in what Catholics openly confess to be Sacred Tradition, which is attested to in Scripture itself, i.e. 2 Thessalonians 2:15.

    As I wrote to Nancy above, from the 1500s until 1930, *all* non-Catholic churches– Anglican, Reformed, Baptist, Wesleyan, Pentecostal, etc.– taught what the Catholic Church *alone* still teaches about the serious sinfulness of the use of artificial contraception. (If you are doubtful about that claim, please look up “Anglican Lambeth Conference of 1930.) If you perceive that fact as being a matter of Catholic-influenced Protestant legalism for 400 years, you’re certainly not alone in that holding that view. (I don’t know if you do or not. It is a view that some Protestants hold.)

    When I willingly returned to the Catholic Church in 2010, I knew full well what the Church officially teaches about artificial contraception. As a Catholic, I willingly submit to the Church’s authoritative interpretation of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, because I believe that the Church was founded by Christ Himself, with apostolic succession to this day, with the authority to interpret Scripture and Tradition in a way that I am very glad that I don’t claim for myself anymore. I’m dead serious about that. I don’t think that “Sola Scriptura” is taught in the Bible itself. I don’t think that Christ intended churches to function according to SS. I respect and love all of my Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ who firmly disagree.

    In regard to the Catholic Church, artificial birth control, and pre-marital counseling, this is not a matter of Reformed “Sola Scriptura” interpreters teaching as being “clear from the Bible” what we Catholics admit to be a matter of the historic Biblical interpretation of the Catholic Church. Even though all Protestants agreed with that Catholic interpretation of the Bible for 400 years… but I digress! 🙂 It’s apples and oranges, my brother!

    Unfortunately, in today’s Catholic Church *in America* (which has many, many priests who dissent from official Catholic teaching and tell their members, wrongly, that they can too!), it is not much of a problem to find a priest who will marry Catholic couples, even while those couples openly admit that they will use artificial contraception in their marriages. This unfortunate “priestly reality” in America today is a defiance of historic Christian (both Catholic *and* Protestant) teaching on artificial contraception.

    Honestly, I wish that there were more church discipline against these *priests* who mislead Catholics about what the Church teaches– or, trying to assume the best here, I wish that these priests were better catechized, themselves, about the very long history, and the seriousness, of this teaching in the Catholic faith *and* in historic Protestantism. (I have heard that American Catholic seminaries have been getting better about faithfully teaching what the Church teaches, since Blessed John Paul II became Pope, and in the years since then).

  181. Dave A A wrote:

    There are young men in the city of Dallas who know that there are young, beautiful women at the Village Church, and so they come here to hunt.

    This statement from Chandler is BEYOND ridiculous on so many levels.

    Firstly, and I’m sorry, it can’t be denied, it doesn’t take a massive leap of logic to thing that ‘young men in the city of Dallas’ is a not-so-subtle reference to young BLACK men in the city of Dallas. If not, why didn’t he say “young man-wolves from the ultra-exclusive suburb of Preston Hollow?”

    Secondly, the statement whiffs of the ridiculous Christianese meme of “say hi to my smokin’ hot WIFE” only geared at the youth group set. “Our church’s youth group girls are smokin’ hot!!!”

    The cheese factor would be overwhelming if the whole statement wasn’t so derogatory to both men and women.

  182. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:

    🙂 Couldn’t agree more.

    Let’s see, in about a year or so of following TWW, I’ve learned lots about “godly” men like: John Piper, Mark Driscoll, CJ Mahaney, Larry Tompkins, Al Mohler, Douglas Phillips, Esq., Mark Chandler, “Pastor” Galloway, among many others. All of their followers, books, websites, and conference materials say they are really, really “godly!”

    Knowing this, I’ll take “well-behaved” over “godly” ANY DAY.

  183. dee wrote:

    Pope Francis is Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. I think he deserves it. Did you know that Mylie Cyrus was on the short list? Good night!

    Wow, Dee! I’m honestly very surprised by Time’s choice of the Pope for Person of the Year! I agree with you that he deserves it– although, I will quickly add, I *hope* this isn’t a case of Time giving the Pope that honor because they hope that he will change the Church to fit what the editors of the magazine would like it to be. 🙂 Pope Francis pretty much calls *everyone out* in different ways, including me, and including himself– and I’m very glad to have a Pope who challenges me in hard ways, ways in which I truly need to grow (i.e. particularly, in having less of an attachment to material things, even good material things, like a big Christian library in my apartment)…! 🙂

  184. @ Janet Varin:

    Hi Janet,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences at an EFCA church – I’m sorry you had to go through that. It sounds pretty horrible!

    I’m not sure what exactly you are trying to say, though. I agree with most of what you say. EFCA as a denomination is pretty loose, structurally and hierarchically – intentionally so. I actually attended the EFCA seminary (although I am baptist in background) and took a required class about EFCA as a denomination. They want to be as broadly and inclusively evangelical as possible. I think that this is a good thing! This does mean that the district offices and the national offices aren’t as willing to get involved in local church matters, but it’s a double-edged sword.

    Honestly, and respectfully, it sounds like the EFCA “higher ups” acted pretty fairly to you and your family, all things considered. (And compared to some of the horror stories I’ve heard coming out of Mars Hill). They heard you out, didn’t automatically side with the pastors, and tried to take a neutral position and not get too involved, either on behalf of your church leader or on behalf of you. They counseled you to leave the church to heal, rather than telling something like “repent, submit, and go back to your old church.”

    I’m sure you can understand that, for a denomination like EFCA, which is founded in part on the principle of local church autonomy, they have to try and be fair and limit their involvement in discipline cases where there isn’t grievous sin (adultery, theft, etc.).

    As for your statement about nouthetic counseling – I agree with you. Again, not sure what point you are trying to make? I am a strong advocate for legitimate, clinical psychology as the way to address mental health issues. I absolutely do not endorse nouthetics and I actively discourage anyone I can from getting involved in it.

    Long story short – I think we’re on the same team. 🙂 I think we both want churches to be led by trained leaders who are also gentle, humble, and careful in how they care for their congregation.

  185. Eagle wrote:

    I think many young people are pushing back from all that. Plus I think many people want community which is what these Acts 29 or SGM churches also offer.

    Bang on, Eagle! At least, from my experience. At our old Acts29 church, we held on a lot longer than we should have because we loved our little community so much. Even when the leaders started to short circuit, it was difficult to leave our close friends behind.

    Sadly, now that we are gone, we don’t really hear from any of our friends from that church. Interestingly, we just found out that many of them ended up leaving not too long after we did! Perhaps the time is ripe for a reunion of sorts…

  186. Hester wrote:

    But of course. If they meet someone from off-compound they’ll figure out that compound life is not normal and daddy is really just a controlling nutjob…

    VERY good point. As I recall, there was a Greek film nominated for the Academy Awards a few years ago about a man and his wife who try and control every aspect of their childrens’ lives, to the extent that they limit any contact with the outside world. (Disclaimer: the film contains gruesome and disturbing scenes illustrating the extremes the parents will go to . . . probably not for most viewers. I myself wish I had not seen a few of the scenes.) I believe there was also a film a few years back about a group of parents who create and live in a fake medieval village to protect their children from the “evil” outside world…

  187. @ Janet Varin:

    Hi Janet,

    Quick update (sorry for all the posts! This is my last for today! I promise!)

    Did a bit of searching and found what I think is the EFCA church in California that you mentioned. Wow, are they Calvinista through and through! The pastor went to MacArthur’s seminary) and his big influences include CJ Mahaney and John Piper. And indeed, they seem to heavily push the faulty nouthetic approach to counseling.

    It’s a shame that such a church can be affiliated with EFCA, but as long as they adhere to the EFCA statement of faith (very broad), they can get it. Disappointing.

    Don’t give up on EFCA as a whole, though! There are many good pastors serving at EFCA churches, who aren’t Calvinista. Just make sure they went to a good seminary and that they don’t list Piper, Mahaney, or Driscoll as their favorite authors on their bio page. 😉


  188. Acts Of Da ‘Religious’ Bruiser: “Axe29 Proverbial Busing Measure?”

    hmmm…

    “…not ‘one’ of the [Acts 29] priorities discusses spreading the love of God and love of neighbor which, – foolish me, I thought was the core of Christianity.” ~ JeffT

    Love God first, love your neighbor as yourself?

    Nahhhhhhhhhh!

    —> get on da Axe29 bus, Silly, fo youze get run’d over…

    -snark-

    sugar-coat-it-any-way-you-want,

    …it is proverbial ‘religious’ terrorism in Santa suit?

    What!

    Hijack Calvin’s sled, n’ go 4 broke?

    VaRooooooooooooommm!

    huh?

    (See the holy scriptures for da details…)

    (sadface)

    Sopy
    ___
    Comic relief: ‘Lost In Neo-Cal Space’, F-o-r-e-v-e-r ?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gD3cF6UlW0

  189. @ Christopher Lake:

    I would say it may be more prevalent than you think, for legit reasons (spousal abuse and/or abandonment, for example) and illegitimate reasons (disagreeing with the elders, questioning Acts29/SGM influence as two other examples).

  190. @ Eagle:

    None that I know of. It takes a lot of guts to start one of those things and persistence in maintaining it, because it can make you a target for a lot of people who wouldn’t like what you have to say.

  191. To those praying for my son, please continue to pray. He went to ophthamologist today who diagnosed a serious eye infection . . . not conjunctivitis. He is putting a special drop in eye every hour. Dilating his eye twice per day as well to help medicine get deeper into eye. Going back again tomorrow. Don’t remember what it was called. Thanks so much for your prayers.

  192. Bridget, sorry to hear of the more serious diagnosis but hopefully you can take some tiny comfort in the at least receiving an answer for your poor guy’s condition!

    I am sure he is so uncomfortable and that must be terribly difficult for a parent. 🙁 Hoping for the best for the meds to kick in quickly and nail this infection.

  193. @ Mr.H:

    Hi again Mr. H. Clearly you are far more knowledgeable than I ever was. I never even questioned the issue of accountability of the leadership. And yes, that was my church. … heavily neo-cal and just raised a million bucks to fulfill the pastor’s vision: a dedicated nouthetic counseling center so that the entire central coast can bask in the wisdom of a third rate alternative to professional therapy.

    I think your church is fortunate to have you there. But please don’t sign anything!

  194. Bridget wrote:

    To those praying for my son, please continue to pray. He went to ophthamologist today who diagnosed a serious eye infection . . . not conjunctivitis. He is putting a special drop in eye every hour. Dilating his eye twice per day as well to help medicine get deeper into eye. Going back again tomorrow. Don’t remember what it was called. Thanks so much for your prayers.

    Bridget, I’m very sorry about this distressing news, but I will keep hoping and praying that your son’s condition improves! At least there is more clarity now about the problem. God bless, and keep us updated!

  195. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Dave A A wrote:
    good behavior and godliness aren’t the same thing
    I agree completely! I think all women should only date well behaved men. As for the other, it is no guarantee that the man won’t be a scoundrel.

    I’ve been there and done that. One daughter married a *godly* man from church, and within a year he proved to be a scoundrel. Last I heard of him involved 2 years probation and a bunch of community service.

  196. @ Mr. H:

    a man and his wife who try and control every aspect of their childrens’ lives

    One of the male anti-patriarchy bloggers (Lewis at Commandments of Men) was engaged to a girl from a patriarchal house. Very dysfunctional family, controlling dad. He was essentially helping her get out by marrying her…or trying to. He never finished writing out what happened, but it sounds like the family may have kidnapped her the morning of the wedding and successfully reprogrammed her. Very sad.

  197. @ Muff Potter:
    So “Wolves” to them become those who they fear will rob the “beautiful” girls (what of the plain ones?) of youth and virginity– even in marriage. Rather than wolves as those who “devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers”.

  198. former Sojourn member wrote:

    I would say it may be more prevalent than you think, for legit reasons (spousal abuse and/or abandonment, for example) and illegitimate reasons (disagreeing with the elders, questioning Acts29/SGM influence as two other examples).

    I hope that I’m understanding you correctly here. By “it,” what do you mean? Are you referring to church discipline in Reformed churches in America?

    If that is what you mean, I’m certainly not denying that Reformed churches tend to practice church discipline more consistently than many non-Reformed churches. As you mentioned, sometimes, they do so legitimately, and sometimes, non-legitimately.

    However, as for the heavy-handed elder counsel on relationships and marriage, and the shunning-as-church discipline that I have encountered, from most of my Capitol Hill Baptist friends, I don’t think that those things are at all representative of what one will find in *most* Reformed Churches in America.

    I have a friend who has spent all of his Christian life in PCA and EPC churches and one other similar sort of theologically conservative Presbyterian church. My friend was once very hurt and upset with me, because he felt that the way I was talking publicly, repeatedly, on Facebook, about my experience at CHBC and, to a lesser extent, at another “9 Marks-friendly” church, gave non-Reformed people and non-Christians a very poor view of most Reformed Christians and churches in America. My friend’s reaction forced me to stop and think. How much did I *really know* about the wider Reformed tradition in America today, beyond the two “9 Marks-friendly” churches where I had been a member?

    Specifically when it comes to Catholicism, my friend is Reformed, and most of his friends are Reformed, yet he has many Catholic books in his library, and his pastor is very Catholic-friendly. Upon serious reflection, I came to think that this more “ecumenical, broad-minded” stream of Reformed Christianity probably actually reflects more Reformed churches in America than all of the “9 Marks” and “Acts 29” churches put together. At least that is my hope and prayer.

    On the matter of relationships and marriage, I can’t imagine my friend’s Presbyterian church saying that a wife can, or should, never be the main provider in a household. His wife makes much more money than he does, and to my knowledge, his elders have not said one negative word to him about it. The Reformed world, even just in America, is much, much bigger (and healthier) than some of the more extreme 9 Marks and Acts 29-affiliated churches. Many Reformed people completely disavow those churches as even being Reformed at all. (I write here as a Catholic who simply wishes to be fair to my Reformed brothers and sisters in Christ.)

  199. Rafiki wrote:

    Firstly, and I’m sorry, it can’t be denied, it doesn’t take a massive leap of logic to thing that ‘young men in the city of Dallas’ is a not-so-subtle reference to young BLACK men in the city of Dallas. If not, why didn’t he say “young man-wolves from the ultra-exclusive suburb of Preston Hollow?”

    Just so happens, on my way to find the “Wolves” sermon, I found “What Are Elders”, including 6 references to “Anglos”. One of those: “Let me tell you just as I begin to end… In fact, if you’ll go ahead and put that slide of all of our elders up, I want to show you. These are your elders. I’d like to point out there are a ton of Anglos on here. I would like to fix that, but you don’t have an elder until you have an elder. Are you tracking with me? A ton of Anglos. I hope one day it isn’t so white, but for now, these are the men God has given us, so I delight in running with these men.”
    Somehow, I’m not “tracking” with him on this one…….

  200. Dave A A wrote:

    I hope one day it isn’t so white, but for now, these are the men God has given us, so I delight in running with these men.”

    Heaven forbid they’d make it a priority in the here and now TODAY to find minority candidates for elders.

    Just kick back and run with the dudes that God gave us, sticking our collective heads in the sand, waiting passively for “one day” lalalalalalalalalalaaaaaaa ….

  201. Dave A A wrote:

    Rather than wolves as those who “devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers”.

    Man can them guys pray! We’ve all heard them. We’ve all seen them. No need to mention names or the sects they rule. Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 puts it all into focus.

  202. @ Christopher Lake: i respect your choices, but i don’t think people in the RCC are going to toe the Vatican’s line anymore, especially not with ongoing issues of sexual abuse, clerical good old boy networks that have been protecting offenders, and the unwillingness of many in the hierarchy to listen to what lay people are saying.

    Christ is the head of the church, after all… not the Magisterium. and the RCC’s positions on LOTS of things are not – and never have been – set in stone. there’s been a great deal of change over time, and there will be still more changes to come.

  203. numo wrote:

    i respect your choices, but i don’t think people in the RCC are going to toe the Vatican’s line anymore, especially not with ongoing issues of sexual abuse, clerical good old boy networks that have been protecting offenders, and the unwillingness of many in the hierarchy to listen to what lay people are saying.
    Christ is the head of the church, after all… not the Magisterium. and the RCC’s positions on LOTS of things are not – and never have been – set in stone. there’s been a great deal of change over time, and there will be still more changes to come.

    Numo,

    I’m not sure, specifically, what you’re referring to, about people in the Catholic Church not following “the Vatican’s line anymore.” Do you mean on artificial birth control? That’s the only explicit point of Catholic teaching I’ve mentioned in this thread. From the statistics, it would certainly appear that most American Catholics haven’t been obeying Church teaching on *that* issue for decades, long before the sex-abuse scandals hit. With that said, the willingness or unwillingness of most Catholics to obey Church teaching (whether on artificial contraception or any other issue) has absolutely no bearing on the objective truth of that teaching.

    You mention that “Christ is the Head of the church… not the Magisterium.” With respect, as a Catholic who seriously studies his faith, from Scripture and from Church documents, I have to say that the Catholic Church already explicitly teaches that Christ *is* the Head of the Church, not the Magisterium. The Pope and the Magisterium serve under Christ, not instead of Him. No Pope or bishop has, or could, die for my sins and redeem me, as Christ did. Catholics hold that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, not Christ Himself. Christ is the Head of the Catholic Church.

    I’m curious– have you read carefully about the different levels of Catholic teaching, from the official Papal and Magisterial sources? Have you read what *the Church herself says* about what can and cannot be changed in Catholic teaching?

    The Church’s understandings of certain things have deepened and developed over time, and her teaching has developed to reflect that understanding. However, in 2,000 years, the Church has never taught that artificial contraception is *not* intrinsically sinful. Every other church in the world has accepted artificial contraception, but the current Catechism still teaches what the Catholic Church always has on that issue– because it has infallibly taught by the Church.

    Obviously, not every teaching that a Catholic may hear from a priest or a Bishop or the Pope is to be regarded as infallible. Every well-catechized Catholic knows this. The Church *has* spoken definitively on artificial contraception though. This article shows it to be the case, from official Church documents, past and present: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/birth-control

  204. JeffT wrote:

    That’s because they make up their own definition of “Godliness” which so often seems to have little to do with morality.

    Too true, Jeff; “Reformed” doctrine has no power to reform people.

    If it comes to a choice, I’ll work with people of faith rather than people of sound doctrine any day. People full of faith can be taught doctrine, but people full of doctrine can’t be taught ****.

  205. Dave A A wrote:

    Anyway, my plea fell on deaf ears– which may not have happened had I typed in an intelligent-sounding British accent.

    Dave – I have, as I am sure you would all expect, an intelligent-sounding British accent. And I still attract patronising people like a jam-jar attracts wasps.

    You would have had more success if you had spoken with an appearance of confidence and authority, warned them against being deceived and projected the impression that you were completely satisfied that the Biblescriptures agree with you.

    People who don’t discern spiritually do the best imitation they can, which is to follow subtle non-verbal clues. In particular, they give way before someone who appears strong. That’s one reason bold and self-assured leaders are able to do such damage in churches.

  206. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    In particular, they give way before someone who appears strong. That’s one reason bold and self-assured leaders are able to do such damage in churches.

    Ouch! I’ve been there with the giving way to those who appear so strong and have got it all together. And who have x hundred in their church to boot, and you can’t argue with that, can you.

  207. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    If it comes to a choice, I’ll work with people of faith rather than people of sound doctrine any day. People full of faith can be taught doctrine, but people full of doctrine can’t be taught ****.

    Amen!

  208. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    In particular, they give way before someone who appears strong. That’s one reason bold and self-assured leaders are able to do such damage in churches.

    Early on, when dealing with Drisconians elsewhere, I learned this early. I learned that displaying Galatians fruit of the Spirit would get you NO WHERE with these guys. Displaying these spiritual fruit only made them think that you were a sissy, mamby-pamby, limp-wristed weakling. (previous phrase not meant to offend anyone. it just displays the inner working of the Driscolite mind.) So I knew that if I wanted to get anywhere with any of them, even if it was only to get them to acknowledge my existence or throw them off the trail of a searching wounded person, I put on a bold face and got straight up into theirs. As far as changing any minds, it didn’t do a whole heck of a lot of good, especially with some because of my gender. But others took notice. And even if it didn’t change their minds, it made them think a bit outside the teeny-tiny Drisconian box.

  209. JeffT wrote:

    Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
    As for the other, it is no guarantee that the man won’t be a scoundrel.
    That’s because they make up their own definition of “Godliness” which so often seems to have little to do with morality.

    And their own definition of immorality. So when Mahaney stepped back from leadership for his season of reflection, he could say he’d done nothing immoral– no prostitutes in sight! Pay no attention to the blackmail and coverups behind the curtain!

  210. @ Mara:
    With Nick, Ken, Gus, and JeffT: Any qualifying phrases, such as we use in polite blog conversation, can and will be used against you. Chandler had a whole section in one of the 2 sermons I skimmed yesterday, decrying anyone who says, “I Think”. Only absolute statements of “sound doctrine” are allowed. No “It seems to me” or “I feel led”or “usually” or “seldom” or “IMHO”. Nothing which allows for exceptions to the vision or plan or covenant, or that the other person’s thoughts may have validity or that they, too, have the Spirit of God. I did everything wrong when I confronted my young “elders”. And I knew in my heart I was doing it wrong, and couldn’t seem to help myself. I knew about the sound military advice of Ahithophel and purposely bad advice of Hushai the Archite, friend of the king. Yet I wrote to all the elders, tried to be gracious, qualified my absolutes, covered many of the many more wrong things about the situation, and quoted many Biblescriptures. Only the Senior pastor responded to my letter, with a letter three times as long based upon unassailable logic and containing three times as many Biblescriptures refuting my Biblescriptures. He also reminded me of every issue I’d come to him about (never gossiping to others) in the past. I apologised for causing additional distress in such a trying time, and we’ve never spoken since. I OUGHT to have written to Senior pastor alone, and said, “Are you crazy!? How can can a Schism cast someone out of the Church, when he’s already left both? What the bloody hell? I’m elder– you’re younger! I have a theology degree– you don’t! I’m ordained– you’re not! Submit!” Then I would have apologised for saying “bloody hell” and we would never have spoken since. Or— maybe if I’d just gone to Cambridge! Surely he’d have listened then! As it is, I went to the same school as Park Fiscal….. Sigh…

  211. @ Dave A A:

    Well,
    One advantage that I have had is that I have NEVER belonged to a New Calvinist church or had to be ‘submitted’ to the leadership of any of these present day abusive pastors.

    I had already done my time in an abusive church back in the 80s and early 90s and figured out then what an abusive set up looks like. That way, when Drisconians and the like came barreling in on certain blogs, throwing their weight around, I had experience under my belt to face them head-on.

    Though they could play the gender card and question my salvation or my relevance (‘Mark Driscoll is well read’, ‘He has a churches of 1000s, what do you have?’, ‘He’s relevant, you aren’t’ etc…). But it was far too late for their bullying and circular logic to have any real impact except make me get further into their arrogant, wet-behind-the-ear, little faces. I’d BTDT and had ALL the t-shirts.

    I’d already seen a train wreck. And I could see the tracks they were barreling down were heading for the same “bridge out” ravine that my church went down.
    If I hadn’t already seen that train wreck, it might have been easier to walk away. But when you see people heading for the same crash you saw before, you can’t back down, because you hope that somebody will listen and jump off the dang train.

    We are only seeing the beginning of the train wreck that is Mars Hill Church.
    I’m thinking this might be true for some of these other abusive situations that this blog deals with.

  212. @ Christopher Lake: I spent many years with Catholic charismatics back in the 70s, when the reforms of Vatican II were quite palpable. I even lived in a convent for a little over a year while going to college.

    I’m not Catholic, but I have great sympathy for many Catholics as well as for a lot of aspects of Catholicism. Living with the sisters gave me a foundation in *many* things that becomes more real to me as I grow older.

    The last two popes did a great deal to try and reinstate things as they were prior to Vatican II. The church has, historically – over its entire history – changed its stance on many things, including celibacy, which was a medieval introduction and was intended primarily to stop priests’ sons from inheriting church property.

    I am certain you have read a lot of church history, and I do respect your beliefs. I am not here to debate you, only to say that I believe that there is a *lot* of room in Catholicism for differing beliefs. (How else can you explain the fact that Eastern Rite priests can marry, for example?)

    I don’t wish to engage in a big debate on birth control, only to reiterate what Nancy said re. reforms in the stance toward the use of artificial birth control very nearly having made it into official church dogma, not so long ago. The truth is that pregnancy is *hard* on womens’ bodies; pregnancy after pregnancy takes a great toll on health, and having large families is a strain in *many* ways. (Look at information from people who have left Quiverfull marriages and families by way of comparison.) In this, I think people need to follow their own consciences, Christopher… and I think we need to agree to disagree. I know you feel that many people here in the US are wrong, but I am by no means convinced that traditionalists and hard-liners are any *less* wrong in many ways.

    I can see how/why you have so fully embraced everything you know about “right” belief, but I trust that you’re also open to being able to take a step back, or will be in time, and see things from a slightly different perspective.

    peace,
    n.

  213. @ numo: Let me leave this with a question for you: if the changes re. artificial birth control *had* passed, would you be defending that position as adamantly as you are now defending the present position of the RCC?

    It’s entirely possible that substantial changes *will* take place on this issue (and many others), even if not in my lifetime. What then?

  214. numo wrote:

    I spent many years with Catholic charismatics back in the 70s, when the reforms of Vatican II were quite palpable. I even lived in a convent for a little over a year while going to college.
    I’m not Catholic, but I have great sympathy for many Catholics as well as for a lot of aspects of Catholicism. Living with the sisters gave me a foundation in *many* things that becomes more real to me as I grow older.
    The last two popes did a great deal to try and reinstate things as they were prior to Vatican II. The church has, historically – over its entire history – changed its stance on many things, including celibacy, which was a medieval introduction and was intended primarily to stop priests’ sons from inheriting church property.
    I am certain you have read a lot of church history, and I do respect your beliefs. I am not here to debate you, only to say that I believe that there is a *lot* of room in Catholicism for differing beliefs. (How else can you explain the fact that Eastern Rite priests can marry, for example?)
    I don’t wish to engage in a big debate on birth control, only to reiterate what Nancy said re. reforms in the stance toward the use of artificial birth control very nearly having made it into official church dogma, not so long ago. The truth is that pregnancy is *hard* on womens’ bodies; pregnancy after pregnancy takes a great toll on health, and having large families is a strain in *many* ways. (Look at information from people who have left Quiverfull marriages and families by way of comparison.) In this, I think people need to follow their own consciences, Christopher… and I think we need to agree to disagree. I know you feel that many people here in the US are wrong, but I am by no means convinced that traditionalists and hard-liners are any *less* wrong in many ways.
    I can see how/why you have so fully embraced everything you know about “right” belief, but I trust that you’re also open to being able to take a step back, or will be in time, and see things from a slightly different perspective.
    peace,
    n.

    Numo,

    The Eastern Rite Catholic policy of allowing married priests is a matter of a different discipline, not a different doctrinal teaching. This is a crucial distinction, when it comes to things “changing” or “being different in different circles” of the Church. Priestly celibacy is a discipline, not a doctrinal teaching. Disciplines in the Church can change. Doctrinal teachings cannot change. They can develop but not utterly change. That is why priests in the Latin (Roman) Rite of the Church could legitimately be allowed to be married literally *tomorrow*, if the Pope made that decision. Celibacy is a discipline, rather than a matter of doctrinal teaching. The teaching against artificial contraception is a matter of doctrinal teaching. It’s on a different level than, say, the pre-Vatican II discipline of fasting from meat every Friday of the year. Disciplines can be changed or even stopped. Doctrinal teachings are a different matter.

    On pregnancy and birth control, the Church is far from being unsympathetic, whether in her official teaching, or on a personal, pastoral level (at least from what I have heard from married Catholics) about the very real difficulties of living out this teaching for women and, on a lesser level, for men. The Church does *not* teach that every act of lovemaking must, or should, always result in procreation. The various Natural Family Planning models that have been developed over the last 40 years are much more effective, in most cases, at avoiding pregnancy than the old “rhythm method.” NFP is substantively different than artificial contraception, though, in that NFP does not put couples in a place of doing something, in the *process* of lovemaking, which changes the *very nature* of the *act* of lovemaking itself.

    Please know that I truly, sincerely don’t wish to have a contentious debate about the Church teaching on this issue. I’m just attempting to explain my best understanding of the teaching, and to speak to the perception that the Church is uncaring towards women in this teaching. To that latter end, this is a thoughtful, sensitive article from a Catholic woman on the subject: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jennifer-fulwiler/those-catholic-women-who-use-contraception

    Peace and blessings, from your brother in Christ,
    Christopher

  215. numo wrote:

    Let me leave this with a question for you: if the changes re. artificial birth control *had* passed, would you be defending that position as adamantly as you are now defending the present position of the RCC?
    It’s entirely possible that substantial changes *will* take place on this issue (and many others), even if not in my lifetime. What then?

    I may have answered your questions here in my above reply. If not, please let me know, and I will try to clarify. Peace to you.

  216. @ Christopher Lake: I think we’re on different pages, Christopher. I am aware of what the RCC’s official teaching is re. birth control. What I’m saying is that I do not believe it to be right – nor do a great many women who are “cradle” Catholics.

    Catholicism is a big tent; if there is no dissent, let alone no allowance for people to disagree on points both major and minor, then it becomes a dictatorship. I do not believe that the RCC really is about that, let alone Jesus himself.

    God bless you, Christopher, and – as I said above – I respect your choices.
    n.

  217. @ Christopher Lake: I do not believe Natural Family Planning is effective. Talk to women who got pregnant while trying that “method” (often repeatedly) and then see if you find it reasonable.

    sorry; I shouldn’t go on about this, as it’s a side issue and not one I want to harangue you about. It just gets my goat.

  218. Dave A A wrote:

    Or— maybe if I’d just gone to Cambridge!

    I did – Magdalene College, 1986-1989, graduated in Natural Sciences (albeit only with a Desmond). And naebdy listens tae me…

  219. Numo,

    You’re obviously correct that we’re on different pages regarding the Catholic Church’s position on artificial birth control. That’s fine– it’s ultimately a manifestation of how we’re on different pages about ecclesiology, and about contesting views on other theological issues too. We’ll agree to disagree. 🙂

    To be clear, if you are wondering on this point, I don’t accept the teaching on ABC because I happen to be a man. If you think that’s the case, then I sincerely wish you could talk to the *many* female Catholic friends I personally have who see the teaching as one which is profoundly respectful to them, as women, and to human sexuality, period. With that said, you are my sister in Christ, I love and respect you, and, yes, we’ll agree to disagree on certain things– but we *do* agree on Christ and His redemptive love and His Sacrificial death for all people, which are no small things to agree on, I hope you would agree (no pun intended)! 🙂 Peace and blessings to you in Him!

  220. @ Christopher Lake: thanks so much for your gracious reply – no matter how much we might disagree on specifics, I do believe we have several Creeds (and a lot else) in common, and i’m very glad for that! (And for your perspective, too – you’ve been through a lot, and your compassion and empathy for those who’ve been hurt is quite evident.)

    As for your being a man, I didn’t assume any insensitivity because of gender. I know that some folks are very happy with NFP, so I get what you’re saying – though I still disagree, especially re. simple barrier methods, like diagraphms and condoms. But that’s not the be-all and end-all of this conversation by any means.

    All the best to you!
    n.

  221. Dave A A wrote:

    And their own definition of immorality. So when Mahaney stepped back from leadership for his season of reflection, he could say he’d done nothing immoral– no prostitutes in sight! Pay no attention to the blackmail and coverups behind the curtain!

    Like the sexual predator in Proverbs, he wipes his mouth and says “I Have Not Sinned”.

  222. numo wrote:

    The last two popes did a great deal to try and reinstate things as they were prior to Vatican II. The church has, historically – over its entire history – changed its stance on many things, including celibacy, which was a medieval introduction and was intended primarily to stop priests’ sons from inheriting church property.

    Compared with the Megachurch (and splinter Fundy) tradition of the pastor’s son inheriting the church from his father. There’s a running joke that the main way to become a Megapastor is to be born the son of a Megapastor; becoming a certainty if your name is the same as your father’s with the addition of “Junior”.

    “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to Bob Jones III…”

  223. Rafiki wrote:

    Firstly, and I’m sorry, it can’t be denied, it doesn’t take a massive leap of logic to thing that ‘young men in the city of Dallas’ is a not-so-subtle reference to young BLACK men in the city of Dallas. If not, why didn’t he say “young man-wolves from the ultra-exclusive suburb of Preston Hollow?”

    http://youtu.be/493pL_Vbtnc?t=15s

  224. Mr.H wrote:

    Eagle wrote:

    I think many young people are pushing back from all that. Plus I think many people want community which is what these Acts 29 or SGM churches also offer.

    Bang on, Eagle!

    A little momento from classic Dr Demento:
    http://youtu.be/nEUckHi0cGk
    Ain’t sleep deprivation wonderful?

  225. Mr.H wrote:

    Not sure if it was sarcasm, but using the term “psychobabble” is moderately offensive to professional psychologists

    I know it’s a bit late, but I thought you deserved a reply.

    There is a study of psychology that consists of empirical observations about how people behave. That’s not the issue. Psychobabble, however, is the fruit of Freud and Jung, both of whom were decidedly unsypathetic to Christianty, especially the former. This has led to a whole host of therapies that are little more than superstition, or if not that, do not hold people responsible for their actions.

    I have been in more than one church were sin has effectively been replaced with unmet needs and a whole load of excuses for bad behaviour, where building your self-esteem, that is self-love, is seen as a virtue. The four temperaments and all that. That’s what I have in mind when using psychobabble pejoratively.

    Although reactionary, J Adams and his nouthetic counselling were a good start at being an antidote to this kind of stuff. The bible has the most honest and accurate diagnosis of the human condition, and I find it infinitely more preferable than blaming everyone or everything but ourselves for the mess we get into, uncomfortable that this is. There may be room for legitimate criticism of Adams, but getting back to the bible in dealing with human behaviour isn’t one of them.

  226. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I did – Magdalene College, 1986-1989, graduated in Natural Sciences (albeit only with a Desmond). And naebdy listens tae me…

    That’s why I joked about Cambridge!

  227. of course they dont think church leaders are overstepping their authority–when your authority is absolute how can you overstep it?

  228. Matt. 7:21-23….(21)”Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22)”Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name dome many wonderful works?” (23) “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
    In that day, Jesus will be the righteous judge.He will not say “I knew you once and you left.” Nor will he say “You knew me because you called me Lord.” (Satan knows who Jesus is, but cannot call him Lord) He will say “I NEVER knew you.”
    Many of these so called pastors today are not preaching Christ as the apostle Paul said we should; His death, burial, and resurrection. Paul said if any man preach any other gospel than which he has preached, let him be accursed. The Bible never speaks of a TRUE believer being Accursed.
    It’s time we quit playing church and start being the Church. Most (not all) of the mega-churches are doing more harm than good; not only to church members, but to un-believers, as well. Jesus said “Take up THY cross and follow me” Being a christian is not a name it and claim ‘society’, but rather a walk with God that will be at imes persecuted, tried, lonesome, and even perilous. Revelation tells us that to the victor will be a crown and a white robe. Its time we get busy doing that which Jesus commanded us, and forget what Satan tempts us.