Christian News Service Ad: Reader Input Sought

TWW has decided to place an ad at Christian News Service to counter the Lyall Mercer ad in which he implied that Janet Mefferd was "an enemy of the church." I have already spoken with Russ Jones and we are anticipating no problems. A TWW reader has graciously offered to fund the ad.

We are asking our readers for thoughts on what we should say in the ad which will be the same length as the Lyall Mercer ad. Our ad will then be sent out to a few hundred news services. We would like to get this written and sent out by early next week. Your input will be crucial.

Comments

Christian News Service Ad: Reader Input Sought — 102 Comments

  1. And in the spirit of Mark Driscoll, John Piper and Mark Dever A MAN claims his throne and rightly asserts himself. All women around me…I hearby declare SUBMIT!!! 😛 Make sure you prophisize falsely… 😯

  2. “Unlike another ad recently masquerading as a news article, we want to be up-front with you and tell you that this is a paid release intended to correct Lyle Mercer’s travesty, which appeared on previously-reputable news sites.”

  3. the church is not defined by 4 walls,campuses,or conferences. We are all part of the body and since when is it only for a select few who defines the church and who is a stumbling block. Is it right for so called christian leaders to judge who or what is an enemy of God. Let God be true an every man a liar. Just because they have a bully pulpit and the microphone they believe they can silence the rest of the body?? If the body is hurting it lets the head know by the pain it is experiencing.

    Just some thoughts on the relevance of the church as a whole body and not just organizations.

  4. Dee, My suggestion would be to tell Lyall Mercer that when we finish with Mark Driscoll, we are going to be looking at him. So he better make sure his closet is clean.

  5. I find Lyall Mercer to have an interesting and meaningful first name. If it was given him by his mother, perhaps it was because that was how she became pregnant, by a bunch of lies. But it definitely fits his current profession and offer of services to scripture-twisting mega church abusing pastors.

  6. Eagle wrote:

    And in the spirit of Mark Driscoll, John Piper and Mark Dever A MAN claims his throne and rightly asserts himself. All women around me…I hearby declare SUBMIT!!! Make sure you prophisize falsely…

    In my best zombie impersonation … “I submit, Oh Great Eagle!”

  7. “Single nerdy guy seeks kind gal for Over the Rhine concerts and light necki–” what, not that kind of ad?

    How about something along the lines of “Can’t criticize published pastors, then you can’t criticize us. Dee+Deb 2016”

  8. How about taking John Piper’s recent “Five Pleas to Pastors” and showing how Mark Driscoll and his non-elder board of outside advisors have ignored and violated almost every one of them?

    Possible headline:
    JOHN PIPER SPEAKS OUT AGAINST DRISCOLL CHURCH GOVERNANCE AND MISUSE OF FUNDS

    I want pastors to keep watch on themselves. I have five pleas to pastors. My hope is that pastors will listen to this and take this 68-year-old pastor’s heart-aching that we not bring this kind of reproach on the name of Christ…

    1. Kill every desire to be rich and get rich
    Don’t want this. If you see the desire in your heart take aim at it with the words of Christ and the words of Paul and put it to death with a swift blow with the sword of the spirit. Jesus said how difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom. In other words don’t want this.

    2. Pastors, if you see your income starting to grow, set a governor on it
    Keep away from accumulating more and more and communicating to your people that you lay up treasures on earth. One of the best ways to do this I think, is to grow the percentage of your giving. I’m not impressed with a pastor who gives 30 percent of a million dollar royalty check and keeps 70 percent of it to buy luxuries with. I’ve heard pastors boast that they give 30, 40 percent. I’m not even impressed with giving 90 percent of a $10 million royalty check and keeping a million dollars to play with. While you look like every other millionaire and think that you have done a virtuous thing. Money is insidiously deceptive. We’ve seen it over and over again and I’m pleading with pastors, be content with what the church pays you and give the rest away with joy and strategic wisdom.

    3. Be totally transparent with your fellow elders about your sources of income
    These elders should not be the wealthy powerful peers from outside the church. That is an unbiblical way to lead your flock. It has no biblical foundation and it communicates distrust for your local leaders and a kind of pride that you are above their local accountability. Let all the books of your income be open to any member of your church who asks the elders. Secrecy around money is deadly. It’s a sign that something is not right so work to give your ministry the flavor, ‘we’re not like peddlers of God’s word.’

    4. Live simply to show that your treasure is in heaven and not on earth
    Please don’t write this off as pauper theology. There goes Piper again with his pauper theology. That is absolutely ridiculous. The kind of distortion that makes of what I’m saying is a sign of fear that what I’m saying just might be true.

    Get a car that works; that gets you where you need to go. Get a car that doesn’t break down on you every few months. I’m talking about a modest entertainment budget that doesn’t eat out every night. I’m talking about a refreshing vacation, not an exorbitant one. I’m talking about clothes that are unremarkable and undistracting, both for not being shabby and not being brand driven. I’m talking about a home that accomplishes your family and ministry purposes leaning towards ordinary folks in your congregation, not the wealthiest.

    5. Put in place a leadership structure of a plurality of elders
    A council of elders on which you the pastor have one vote. You are a chief among equals…not by having veto power over everyone else.

    I’m so jealous of these things because I am jealous for the name of Christ. His name is being blasphemed. Paul said “… the name of God is being blasphemed because of you. You abhor idols and you rob temples.” That is hypocrisy to the core … that is happening today because of pastors who love money.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/pastor-of-world-s-largest-church-convicted-of-embezzlement

  9. Wouldn’t respond directly to anyone, neither Mercer nor another.

    I’d print a manifesto; say something about how Christians, such as those who run and post at TWW, are going to stand up and fight for Jesus, for the true Church, for the truth, and I’d warn the wolves who’ve taken much of it over that they will no longer be able to keep their actions in the dark, we will expose evil and will not be silenced by or afraid of those who perpetrate it or enable it anymore. Those days are gone. Have you contacted others with a similar bent? Pajamapages? SGM Survivors? Mars Hill Refuge? Perhaps others might like to lend their names to such a document.

  10. @ srs:
    Yes it is and it makes me sick. So, we make our stand at the expense of the children. 10,000 kids lose their sponsorship but TGC is righteous. No matter which you float on this subject, it is a travesty when you let your theology intentionally hurt children.

  11. In other news, Enceladus (one of Saturn’s moons) has been found to contain a body of sub-glacial liquid water of about the same volume as Loch Superior. This is Very Interesting scientifically.

    I hope this is helpful.

  12. A friend of mine posted this quote to FB, attributing it to this link:

    http://www.wendydavistexas.com/issues/

    “In his new education plan, Greg Abbott cites the work of Charles Murray, a man who has argued that “men have larger brains than women” and that “no woman has been a significant original thinker in any of the world’s great philosophical traditions.”

    Where Are the Female Einsteins?
    Charles Murray | National Post
    November 22, 2005

    http://www.aei.org/article/society-and-culture/citizenship/where-are-the-female-einsteins/

    My initial response…..

    What happened to being counter cultural????
    Something on the lines of “Be in the world, but not of the world…”

    Romans 12:2
    New International Version
    Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

    John 15:19
    If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

    I would love to see an in-depth Biblical and Theological analysis to show that Lyall’s “thinking” was unbelievably shallow…..I think that many of the women here can author that kind of an essay, to use their own form of “argumentation” to show that this is a big facade.

    Not that men are not welcome to the ad, of course. But this whole idea that men are better thinkers, that men are more logical than women, that men do better critical analysis than women, needs to be exposed as one big myth.

  13. Learning hasfar more to do with myelin layers than brain size.

    When they dissected Einstein’s brain, they didn’t find it to be larger, they found that he had a tremendous amount of myelin. Anyone of either gender can accomplish this through concentrated learning.

  14. Oooh, it’s late here right now or I’d love a crack at this. Something about the use of language covering up the fact that those who critique the church for good reason are not the enemy – the enemy in the church is the one who acts against Christ through appalling sin & covers it up with fake righteousness.

  15. A New Problem wrote:

    “Unlike another ad recently masquerading as a news article, we want to be up-front with you and tell you that this is a paid release intended to correct Lyle Mercer’s travesty, which appeared on previously-reputable news sites.”

    @ LawProf:

    I think both of these points make a useful start. It is worth being completely up-front about the context in which the ad is being placed, but at the same time, if we critique Mercer by name we just play into the hands of the industry he represents. We must be as innocent as doves and as shrewd as serpents here.

    Mercer’s sales pitch has around 340 words, btw. That’s the ballpark hymn sheet we’re barking up.

    Anyway – have to go and watch Masterchef just the noo, but will be back…

  16. @ dee:

    I guess it can be said that many evangelcial’s don’t give a rat’s behind about children. That could apply to World Vision and the SGM lawsuit for child abuse coverup. I guess for many evangelcials its a crime to be a child.

  17. @ Anon:
    Hmmm, that would be interesting. It is a way to pint out that the leaders have overlooked Driscoll without saying that is what they did.

  18. I like idea of a manifesto. It has the right feel to it. I will be thinking alot about this tonight. You guys really rock Deebs! And I think it should be placed in many of the same places Mr. Mercers was. An answer, or maybe a call to arms to the community of faith to wake up! That may be the right tone. Putting those wolves on notice that the wounded are healing and on the march. We are called to stand against the wicked leaders in our times, even if they are the heads of large churches. Let rally and move. I would really like to see an organized protest at the Mars Hill proper. Something else to think about?

  19. Eagle wrote:

    I guess for many evangelcials its a crime to be a child.

    VERY true…..My husband and I will def give a one time gift to World Vision. I wonder if there is a way to do an Internet campaign to encourage people to do one-time gifts, even if they don’t feel comfortable with a long-term commitment???

  20. @ Rebecca Lynn:

    Hi I like your idea much better than mine…..No use trying to directly answer those people to show how smart women are….they are not smart enough to realize that….if I had a million dollars I would show up for a Mars Hill protest.

  21. dee wrote:

    @ LawProf:
    Great idea.

    I like this overall idea of a manifesto as well. While there is definitely a time for deconstruction and defense, there is also a time for constructive (re)building. A random rambling of thoughts, for what they’re worth:

    As a backdrop to all this, it occurs to me that, as Galadriel translates for us, “The world has changed,” but many have not updated either their worldview or their world-do, or rejoined the broken connection between the two.

    While many of the apologists for the mega-ists and narcissists go all Gollum against those “nasty, tricksy, and false” survivor bloggerzes, they don’t seem to realize that the horizon has shifted — while they have not. Specifically, it seems to me that “discernment” ministries/bloggers have been seen as being about truth statements and identifying false teachers, including those who are “not gospelly enough” for the gospel. Meanwhile, “survivor” ministries/bloggers have been seen as picking big-time leaders apart for their practices which “supposedly” victimize people.

    But, as many within the more classic Reformed tradition (not neo-Puritian, Calvinistas) have noted for generations, “Ideas have legs.” What people believe translates into action. The two are truly integrated and cannot really be separated. So, if critics of contemporary “spiritual abuse survivor blogs” would stand back from the minutia for a moment, they might see that, in the big picture of these blogs, the focus has increasingly become about how specific beliefs directly and indirectly connect with abusive actions that harm the sheep. So … worldview and world-do, roots and fruits. If the fruit is rotten, what does that say about the roots?

    How can a multi-plagiarist in his/her publications be trusted to tell the truth on other matters?

    How can “accountability” boards be counted on to hold someone accountable when they are beholding to that person directly, or indirectly through his/her ministry organization, for any form of fame, acclaim, or finances?

    How can a media publication or public ministry claim it functions in the best interests of people when it fails to protect the identity of a victim of abuse?

    I suppose if a mega-ministry or leader who is in the public eye doesn’t want to be watched and scrutinized by the digital watchmen/watchwomen on the firewall, there is a perfectly legitimate and actually quite easy solution: Remove your organization and yourself from all public involvement. Of course, to do so with “biblical” consistency would require no longer being a 501(c)3, because that means you contractually vow to function in the public interest and within the law of the land.

    And actually, this isn’t really a battle of mega-churches versus meta-critics, as some have suggested. It’s meta-critics attempting to call out the false dichotomies and dualism of Christian entities and individuals who have split beliefs from practices, and their disintegrity manifests itself in the direct harm of those supposedly in their charge.

    So —

    WHAT are we FOR and WHY? Book of James type reintegration of beliefs and actions, faith and practice, so that there is increasing integrity that validates our witness as we — paraphrasing the words of Brother Maynard — “Live our faith and share our life.”

    WHO are we FOR and WHY? First of all, victims of other people’s disintegration and corruption of faith-and-practice.

    Second, for the Church at large, as a call to (1) help in the recovery of victims so they grow into survivors, (2) to publicly hold accountable the public individuals and institutions who perpetrated abuse, and (3) to advocate for the recovery process of perpetrators, their enforcers, and their enablers. All of this is so that the Church becomes healthier overall.

  22. Marie2 wrote:

    Not that men are not welcome to the ad, of course. But this whole idea that men are better thinkers, that men are more logical than women, that men do better critical analysis than women, needs to be exposed as one big myth.

    Murray’s thesis will not stand the light of day. From Hypatia of Alexandria to Marie Curie and beyond, women have shown themselves to be intellectual titans and equal to the mettle of any man in the grey realm. Whether in secular or religious circles patriarchy is dying out and their exponents know it full well. I expect that in future they will double up with new shticks, each one as absurdly unsupportable as Murray’s.

  23. Hmmm…..how about something along these lines….

    “You have heard some religious leaders say [fill in the blank damaging doctrine], but what about [and counter with what is the more compassionate, just, merciful way].”

    You (we?) could do this for a list of the main dangerous doctrines/behaviors of these men without actually directing it to them…. e.g.

    “You have heard Lyall Mercer say that to publicly expose problems with church leaders is to be an enemy of the church. But we suggest that to not expose dangerous behavior among the leadership of the church is to be complicit in the continued abuse the flows from it.” …which could be followed by examples, maybe…..

  24. Muff Potter wrote:

    Murray’s thesis will not stand the light of day

    Yes, Amen! I fully agree with this statement. Not sure if Piper or Driscoll has quoted Murray in the past, but I think that his viewpoint can be lumped in with all of the idiots who see things in a totally skewed way.

    I wish there was a way to work in the Murray view as a straw man….But I just see Driscoll/Piper as a theological extensions to that disturbing thought process. Had to bring that up.

    Jeannette Altes:

    Another great contribution to this thread.

  25. @ Jeannette Altes:

    Great contribution, many apologies for not being able to count, lol. I attempted to do something by hand.

    Love this:
    “But we suggest that to not expose dangerous behavior among the leadership of the church is to be complicit in the continued abuse the flows from it”

    Maybe some reference to Paul’s rebuke of the circumcism party could be in order….that the abusive NPD behavior of these people is just as serious…

  26. I think the manifesto needs to speak for the wounded. The outrage should come on behalf of those still hurting and hiding. Those that have not told their stories need to be told that we are all listening. I would like to see all the blogs named so they can find them and begin maybe for the first time to start speaking. AT the same time it puts the faith community on notice that this is just beginning, we won’t be silenced by their misuse of authority and scriptures. At the top and the bottom maybe the same scripture speaking to the protection of the flock from false teachers. Just a thought. I really am not an expert or really experienced in writing press releases, but I think getting to the point, making it obvious that they are in error, and offering those hurt a chance to speak out. Just a thought.

  27. @ Rebecca Lynn:
    Great ideas, here…

    Almost needs to have a pre-ad ad, kind of like the pre-meeting meeting in Dilbert, but more serious.

    Calling all bloggers to come together, unite, and address this issue together!

    I had NO idea how many blogs were out there until looking at all of the posts here. And like either Dee or Deb had pointed out, there are many “little churches” or “rather mainstream churches” that have members that would be completely surprised by these revelations.

    I only stumbled upon a blog when I looked up what SGM was up to, after having a scary SGM-like experience in a church almost 3 years ago….

  28. You could be very positive and just give the facts. What a great sex education teacher Mr. Driscoll is. He has taught men to be men and women to be submissive little women. He has educated the public with his great sense of humor. Wasn’t it funny when he “crashed the party” at John MacArthur’s church, and taught us the value of little white lies. And you could describe the story how Mr. Driscoll has hired ghost writers to write books, like many a successful busy executive. Someone everyone should emulate. And you could describe how Mr. Driscoll put that un submissive women, Janet Mefford, in her place. He called her out on her un womanly behavior in questioning him, a male. If mr Driscoll did plagiarize it is all excusable because he is God’s gift to everybody. You can praise Mr. Driscoll for how he disciplines the women and girly men at his church. He has boasted he will run them over with his figurative bus. Mr Driscoll has shown what a man he is by the witness of his own behavior. Doesn’t seem like Christians are attacking Mr. Driscoll? He is attacking himself.

  29. @ Rebecca Lynn:

    I wrote several a day for three months while the chief policy person on a gubernatorial campaign 35+ years ago, but the styles are available in places like MS Word, and the writing needs to be crisp, short sentences as reasonably possible, and with a few quotes. If someone gets it drafted and to me, I will work it over and send it back for comment.

  30. The facts are if Christians were not outraged by Mr. Driscoll’s plagiarism and religious organization, the secular media would be attacking him. Mr. Driscoll’s behavior is not a standard Christian behavior which is why he is criticized by Christians. It would also not be a good reflection on other Christians if they said nothing. It would sanction Mr. Driscoll’s behavior and would stymie the Christian witness.

  31. @ Mark:

    When looking up something else about Driscoll about 30 minutes ago, I found this old gem, this charming analogy (from driscollcontroversy.com), quoting Driscoll:

    ‘Over the years, I’ve just accepted that if I do not quickly open the back door when God is trying to run people out of our church, I am working against God by keeping sick people in my church so that they can infect others.

    Indeed, the church is a body, and one of the most important parts is the colon.

    Like the human body, any church body without a colon is destined for sickness that leads to death.’

    Not only is he comparing the church (or part of it) to a colon (doesn’t the Bible say the church is the bride of Christ? Christ is married to a colon?!), but he seems to be saying that individuals in his church whom he does not like are equivalent to human waste. Stay classy, Driscoll.

  32. Another idea that occurred to me is that those of us who read here and have our own blogs could (if interested) do simultaneous blog post – synchroblogs – of our individual takes on this topic at the same time the ad is published and link all those posts together. I know there are quite a few people who read/comment here that have their own blogs, representing a diverse readership. I haven’t posted on my blog for over 2 years, but I still have a few people checking regularly to see…and I can think of no more worthy cause to put up a new post on than this. What do you all think?

  33. Post Script.
    Daisy wrote:

    Quoting Driscoll:

    Over the years, I’ve just accepted that if I do not quickly open the back door when God is trying to run people out of our church, I am working against God by keeping sick people in my church

    I just re-read that. Interesting.

    First off, I doubt it’s “God” who is trying to “run people out,” I think that’s all Driscoll.

    Secondly, the Freudian slip of sorts. Driscoll spends the first half of that sentence attributing everything to “God” but refers to the Mars Hill church as “his” church – not God’s, not Jesus’, but “his” (as in Driscoll’s) church.

  34. Daisy wrote:

    Not only is he comparing the church (or part of it) to a colon (doesn’t the Bible say the church is the bride of Christ? Christ is married to a colon?!), but he seems to be saying that individuals in his church whom he does not like are equivalent to human waste.

    Could it be that Mr. Mercer is Driscolly correct, but had an unfortunate auto-correct, and there really are “enemas within the church,” not “enemies”?

  35. Mark wrote:

    Ugh! And Mr. Driscoll is an innocent lamb? Really? Wow!

    Sociopaths LOVE to turn the tables and play the Poor Poor Innocent Victim. With their victims as the Big Bad Meanies. Someone on one of these threads actually cited a study that the surest sign of a sociopath is the ability to Play the Poor Poor Victim, Pity Me Pity Me Pity Me.

  36. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Could it be that Mr. Mercer is Driscolly correct, but had an unfortunate auto-correct, and there really are “enemas within the church,” not “enemies”?

    To paraphrase Jack Nicholson’s Joker, “THIS WHOLE CHURCH NEEDS AN ENEMA!”

  37. I think the article should be the REAL list of top Christian bloggers! Maybe ranked by average number of comments per post. (Minimum of 1 post per week to qualify.)

  38. How about ~

    When his life was ruined, his family killed, his farm destroyed, Job knelt down on the ground and yelled up to the heavens, “Why god? Why me?” And the thundering voice of God answered, “There’s just something about you that ****** me off.”

    😀

  39. @ Daisy:
    From the stories that have been shared here over the years about Mars Hill, it seems to me that God is leading the ‘sick people’ out of Mars Hill so that they can heal away from the source of their ‘illness.’

  40. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Sociopaths LOVE to turn the tables and play the Poor Poor Innocent Victim. With their victims as the Big Bad Meanies. Someone on one of these threads actually cited a study that the surest sign of a sociopath is the ability to Play the Poor Poor Victim, Pity Me Pity Me Pity Me.

    That tactic is mentioned in the book The Sociopath Next Door.

    I don’t know if she was a sociopath or narcissist or not, but I had one boss who played that game. She harassed me badly for two years, and because my mother taught me that Christian ladies are ever loving doormats in all situations, I didn’t stand up for myself.

    Until about a year or year and a half into the harassment, I started to stand up to her on occasion because I got fed up.

    That is when this boss would start depicting herself as the victim of my abuse and starting to depict me as “having a problem with authority.” No, I didn’t have a problem with authority or authority figures, I was simply refusing to play a doormat to her bully any longer.

    It’s interesting and disturbing that she chose to interpret me exercising my boundaries (which is healthy and normal) as me “having problems with authority.”

  41. He’s attacking Janet Mefferd by accusing her of initiating the attack on Driscoll. It might be worth pointing out that’s a lie (brought to you by Lyall), that the ‘accusations’, the laundry list of hurts Driscoll has caused have been in the process of coming to the surface for years, thanks to the dedication of people willing to share their stories and speak up for his victims.

  42. Well, since we are talking about NPD-lead abuse.

    The best way for a group to really see what it is… (The ones under his influence.) You must highlight the behavior, become an NPD with manipulation, or use a tape-recorder to the comments. (They cannot be altered. Both these serve as mirrors to the NPD and his followers.) Narcissist have an advantage that is almost insurmountable when it comes to manipulating crowds. They will often become “victims” thus you must tread carefully NOT to be as direct as you wish until a punchline. Much like Nathan to David.

    I would point out that Ez 34 has a lot to say about leaders and binding up wounds for the injured.

  43. One other thing. It is important to start with “Why” before “who” and “what”. You want people to connect first in an article before they realize a sacred cow is being torn down.

  44. Hmm….some thoughts along the lines of my first suggestion (@ Jeannette Altes🙂

    You may have heard it said by religious leaders that any time there is a threat against the fabric of our religious doctrines, it must be confronted by mass protest before it undermines our way of life. I would submit that perhaps there is no doctrine or religious belief that even hints at being Christian that would suggest withdrawing “Christian” financial and teaching assistance from poor children and their villages around the world is a reasonable tool to use in punishing an organization that has strayed from standard evangelical practice. More simply put, using poor children that depend on our support as pawns to control the behavior of anyone – persons or organizations – is about as far from the teachings of Christ as we can get. The weightier matters to consider are mercy and justice. Following the letter of the Law should never trump these – should never trump Love. In fact….

    You may have heard it said that following a religious leader’s teaching on living a godly life will guarantee you acceptance by and favor from God. I would suggest that this contradicts the message of the Cross. Following the letter of the Law (God’s or man’s) is not a recipe for success. From what Jesus taught through all of Paul’s teachings, the main point, the recurring message, is that we cannot, under any circumstances, nor by any means, ever do anything that will make God love us more, accept us more, favor us more or increase our right standing with Him….in any way. That is the whole point. We cannot be right enough to be accepted by God. If we could, Jesus’ sacrifice would be useless. Period.

    You may have heard it said that that publicly exposing the misdeeds of a religious leader is wrong and those who engage in this activity are enemies of the church. I would suggest that the enemies of the church are those who would throw the weak, the hurting, the wounded among their flock under the bus for the sake of image and control. I would suggest that the enemies of the church are those who would crush the spirit of the children in their midst for the sake of appearance. I would say the true enemies of the church are those who say the image of the church is more important than the individuals that make up that church. The true enemies are the 99 who get mad at the Shepherd for leaving them to find the 1 – or those 99 who would rather follow the 1 than the One. (See Psalm 53 & Matthew 18:12-14.)

    You may have heard a religious leader warn that speaking out against a religious leader is dangerous, quoting Psalm 105:15 – “Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm.” I would suggest that in Christ, we are all anointed of God and are his priests and prophets. As such, those religious leaders that inflict harm are themselves “touching His anointed and doing His prophets harm.”

    You may have heard a religious leader say that as the leaders of God church, you should listen to and follow them. I would suggest that anyone who tells you they are your leader is simply trying to gain control of your energies and wallet for the furtherance of their own kingdom. I would suggest we should only follow them as they follow Christ…and the only way to now if they are following Christ is for us, ourselves, to first follow Christ. That is the only sure way to know what following Christ should look like.

    I would simply ask this question: if the actions of a person are harsh, critical, demanding, controlling, and fear-inducing – devoid of mercy and justice – how can they be following Christ?

    These are just rough ideas….

  45. @ brad/futuristguy:

    I like what Brad says. If this is going to be done I think it has to be in the form of a manifesto or in the spirit of Martin Luther and his 95 thesis. For example how a modern list of 95 thesis. A declaration, etc… Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could hammer it to the door of SGM Louisville, CHBC, Mars Hill Seattle, Matt Chandler’s The Village, etc…

    It has to be relevant, structured carefully so as to not provoke unnecessary discussion or debate. Secondary issues would need to be properly balanced.

    If you did a list of 95 thesis have a statement or question that challenges something, for example.

    # 24 No woman should submit to domestic abuse just because John Piper says they should.

    It would also be awesome if you tie this to some of the stories you highlighted and call that out in the thesis, or manifesto. For example the following can be done.

    1. We ask that Bent Myer and Paul Petry be exonerated against false charges by Mark Driscoll
    2. We ask that Matt Chandler and the Acts 29 network apologize to the displaced members of Countryside Church in Michigan City, IN for destroying a healthy church and perp walking a special needs child out of the building
    3. We ask that the SBC terminate its support for CJ Mahaney.
    4. We ask that SGM owns and apologizes for each family harmed by SGM and for them to work things out with Noel, Happymom, Taylor, etc…
    5. We ask that every member of a 9 Marks Church should be free to walk away without slander, harassment, or abuse. We also support Todd Whilhem and those imprisoned in John Folmar’s United Christian Church Dubai.
    6. We ask that Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill apologize for slander against Janet Medford
    7. We ask that those organizations like the Navigators and Cru, not host Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Mark Dever or CJ Mahaney at conferences or events.
    8. We ask that SGM cease and desist practicing of shepherding theology.
    9. We stood by and supported Julie Anne Smith against the John MacArthur network, and we continue to support her.
    10. We call for an end to the Reformed Industrial Complex
    11. We call for an end to corruption in the modern evangelical church
    12. We stand by Dr. James Duncan and his family in what they endured from Newspring Church.
    13. We ask the SBC to have a centralized registry to track known child sexual predators. Not one more child should be abused sexually within the SBC.
    14. We call on the 20 or so former SGM churches who distanced themself from SGM to repent of SGM’s theology and business practices.

    etc, etc, etc…..

    At some point it would be nice to say that the goal of this blog is to work itself out of business. To stress that this is not something that anyone wants to do, but it needs to be done. Christian witness and the existence of the Gospel is at stake and threatened by abuse, corruption, and scandal.

    This could be done in a modern way that really stands out. What if historians years from now look back and see this as a tipping point. What if it alerted people to some of these issues.

    Just some .02 😉

  46. Janey wrote:

    I think the article should be the REAL list of top Christian bloggers!

    HA – good idea. I love this because TWW and a few of my other blogging buddies are considered “discernment” bloggers which disqualifies us from that other blog list.

  47. Any reply should be factual, irenic as far as possible, and avoid ad hominum. My suggestion would be to counter him using his own words:

    “which leads many within the church to focus more on criticizing other Christians than looking at their own lives.”

    He then proceeds to do the very thing he berates others for, even naming an individual, talking in general rather than being specific. This surely didn’t ‘start’ with Janet Mefford, and what precisely has she said that is false?

    “Churches are usually aware of negative mainstream publicity but often ignore the danger of the enemy within.”

    He is begging the question. Negative publicity could be deserved – he assumes it is not. And of course Mars Hill itself may be guilty of ignoring the enemy within! The issue is not how churches are perceived, it is whether that perception is accurate or not. To ascertain this requires judgement in the discernment sense, and a well-oiled PR machine should not be used to cover up sin or abuse. ‘Trashing’ – unjustified attacks on churches and ministries is clearly wrong, that is not the issue. The issue is to get at the truth, not to suppress it, and when churches fail to do this, they cannot complain when the blogosphere steps into the breach.

    Just think of the ‘negative publicity’ contained in the pages of the NT regarding the foibles of the early church! The NT is unerringly honest in this, nothing is covered up.

  48. @ Jeannette Altes:

    Some excellent material in Jeannette’s comment, IMHO.

    Couple of other snippets that might be incorporated…

    Bishop Helder Camara famously said: When I give food to the poor, people call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, people call me a communist. Likewise, when a Christian publicly denounces sinners in his congregation, he is called a great leader. But when a Christian publicly denounces sin in the pulpit, he is called divisive.

    Jesus himself upheld and affirmed the poor, the oppressed and the marginalised, and identified himself in particular with the least of his followers. He cannot be, and is not, glorified when these “least” are oppressed and abused to protect the brand identities of the rich, the famous and the powerful.

  49. I love An Attorney’s manifesto idea, as well as some of the refinements offered by others. As it may be become a timeless document, the less inflammatory the language the better (truth has a beautiful ring to it that needs no embellishment). It may become one that heralds the beginning of a movement for the church at large (the currently unchurched believers) to take back the role of servants, lovers of the poor and lost, and ministers of the gospel of Christ. It might offer real power to the unchurched Church, our siblings in Christ, who labor daily in a thousand tiny acts of righteousness because our God is watching, and is pleased, and that is enough. And it might direct alienated believers to the church in their midst, not the church on the corner.

    Consider this: Since the 9 Marks movement publicly lists “9 Marks Churches” (for example), you might attach the manifesto to a website where individuals can link to or list churches where they have encountered abusive behavior by leadership.

    I am excited to see the seeds of revival germinating! And at the TWW for cryin’ out loud!

  50. Since it has to be fairly short, I think it should be simple and get to the essence of the problem. Maybe something like this:

    “The law of the street says that you never, ever, snitch, rat someone out, be a fink (or whatever the latest word is), no matter what someone has done. To do that is considered to be worse than whatever act the perpetrator has committed. Besides the fact that it could lead to you getting your skull cracked, who are you to call someone out, even if it’s an enemy? Are you really any better? And if *you* did something wrong, wouldn’t you want someone to cover for you?

    Is this the law of the church also? If a leader, particularly a well-known one, is breaking the law, or is damaging people, or is teaching dangerously false doctrine, should you keep your mouth shut? The Bible never teaches us to ignore evil, whether our own or someone else’s.

    So why are we so often told nowadays that it is “unbiblical” to draw attention to the continual sinning of a fellow believer, particularly one in the public eye? To protect the reputation of the church? What is more important, the reality of the church or its reputation? Because, being sinners ourselves, we are not being humble, or loving, or gracious, or holy, or whatever, when we point our fingers at someone else who is doing real damage to the body of believers?….”

    Well, this is what I have so far.

  51. Janet Varin wrote:

    As it may be become a timeless document, the less inflammatory the language the better (truth has a beautiful ring to it that needs no embellishment). It may become one that heralds the beginning of a movement for the church at large (the currently unchurched believers) to take back the role of servants, lovers of the poor and lost, and ministers of the gospel of Christ. It might offer real power to the unchurched Church, our siblings in Christ, who labor daily in a thousand tiny acts of righteousness because our God is watching, and is pleased, and that is enough. And it might direct alienated believers to the church in their midst, not the church on the corner.

    Very well put.

    It’s aboot the wee folk.

  52. Eagle wrote:

    And in the spirit of Mark Driscoll, John Piper and Mark Dever A MAN claims his throne and rightly asserts himself. All women around me…I hearby declare SUBMIT!!! Make sure you prophisize falsely…

    Eagle, you’ll be thrilled to know that the “Real Marriage” DVD based study is now 43% off. Hey, you could get even more than one copy at that great price !

    http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Real-Marriage-DVD-Based-Study-Mark-Driscoll/9781418550400

  53. This is not a comment about context, but about style. It is very important to avoid any tendency toward flowery speech or Christianese. Write it like a legal brief – edited down to the skeleton. Your best friends should be simple sentence structure, level tone and crisp logic.

    Although it sounds counterintuitive, by all means resist the urge to apply emotional pleas to this highly emotional issue. Once you start waxing eloquent, your readers’ eyes glaze over and all is lost.

    Obviously, this is just my opinion but one based on reading many posts and many, many comments.

  54. I have nothing useful to add to the suggestions for the wording of the ad – we are in the process of buying our first home as well as getting ready to enroll the kids into public school for the first time for next fall and so my brain is awfully overloaded – but I am eagerly looking forward to seeing how this plays out. I am so grateful to you, Dee and Deb, and all the commenters here who are standing up for what is right.

  55. No time to suggest content right now, but with regard to the style and tone of this press release, I would concur with some previous posters: keep it gentle, calm, simple, unemotive and truthful. Make sure the tone does not come across as angry, bitter or over-critical because that is what the ‘discernment blogs’ have been accused of in the past.

  56. I would also recommend avoiding personalising it. Dragging names into it could look like personal attacks. So I’d say, don’t mention names. People will know who you’re referring to.

  57. @ Eagle:

    Your reaction may be a tad heated for the reality. When you sponsor a child through World Vision the money does not go to the child. It goes into a pot for whatever it is that WV does in some area or other. Nothing wrong with that, and they do spell this out on their website. And evidence is that they do put the money mostly into worthwhile projects. None the less, some of their promotion and fund raising seems manipulative at times to me.

    That said, I think that what needs to be asked at this point is why the issue of what their employees do or do not do came up at this time. Their “explanation” seems sloppy to me. And, in keeping with what I always think, I think that jerking money and support away from the organization without good reason to do so and without all the evidence is a really bad idea. Whoever does it, evangelicals on the one hand or google execs on the other.

    But just having an emotional reaction to their promotional material is also not the best idea in the world.

  58. May wrote:

    Dragging names into it could look like personal attacks. So I’d say, don’t mention names. People will know who you’re referring to.

    Can I follow up on this suggestion? I’d suggest that it would be worth avoiding even an oblique reference to a specific person. E.g., talking about bodies under the bus would be an obvious swipe at Fiscal and would be taken as such. Ergo, it would just stir up a whole load of distracting noise from reflexively pro-Fiscal folk which in turn create a Fiscal Surplus *.

    I also suggest not making it about doctrine, which would stir up side-tracking contention (comp vs egal, Calvinism vs barely christian, etc). Rather, in the spirit of the TWW Prime Directive, make it about the victims. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute (I’m sure I read that somewhere). That’s why TWW exists in the first place.

    * I am sooooo funny.

  59. Ad:

    Protect yourself and your family.
    Learn when to cry wolf.
    Free advice.
    thewartburgwatch.com

  60. @ Patti:

    Don’t you mean learn when to spot a wolf? Crying wolf implies claiming there is a problem when in fact there isn’t!

  61. Articles that start off with a little story get attention.

    Like An Attorney says, short, crisp sentences.

    No lengthy paragraphs. They’re a turn-off to reading for many.

  62. Whatever else you do (and there are so many good ideas here!) let me suggest that you link to a post that gives detailed examples of everything you discuss, with links to the sources. The thing about dealing w/ NPDs and sociopaths in the church is that EVERYONE wants to believe the “best possible scenario” about the NPD, and give him “the benefit of the doubt.” If you put a link in the press release to dozens and dozens of specific examples, it will be that much harder for people in the church to say, “They’re just bitter/have a problem with authority/don’t like him/a tool of Satan” etc. Just a thought. <3

  63. Off topic – sort of:

    I note the “crawler” at the top of the site today stating that 10,000 children have supposedly lost sponsors over the World Vision management issues.

    If you have access to the info, I would like to know:

    1. Who reported that?

    The only reliable source would be World Vision. But why would World Vision do that? Responsible board members would try to move the organization forward. This kind of a flap would cause some losses in either direction due to a lack of confidence. But talking about it further would make no sense. Unless there is warfare going on among the staff and the board, and someone is trying to get the upper hand by reporting this or that and trying to give interpretation.

    2. Is anyone trying to interpret what this means? Who is dropping the sponsorships? Upset conservatives? Outraged liberals? I saw the story about the Google exec that stepped down from the board. That was attempted shaming by the liberals. Are both sides doing this? Who is keeping track of all this?

  64. I@ Ken:
    I guess i didn’t make much sense, I was just thinking about how we as a church over the years have made a lot of to do about nothing like dress codes, service times and music beat and now when things are really serious and I see the wolves actually attacking and having the nerve to even call good sheep wolves (enemies within) like on this ad and look at how wolves are attacking Julie Anne (see spiritulsoundingboard), how do we get people to listen ?

  65. @ Muff Potter:
    Amen! Exactly. His theory is ludicrous. If you look back through the history of scientific discovery, you will find women woven throughout. The primary difference is ,they rarely get the credit or accolades.

  66. @ Marie2:
    What I find rather ironic regarding Murray’s premise.. is that Einstein’s wife was extremely brilliant as well, and joined in and contributed in the discussions and brain storming sessions(initially) with Einstein and his friends. Furthermore, it has been suggested in both a documentary and research that she played a large part in the “Theory of Relativity”. I will not claim this as absolute truth, as I do not have in have the hard evidence; however, Murray and others of his ilk seem to be the ones lacking intellect in this scenario.

  67. @ Anonymous:
    1 additional data point would be how many children total are sponsored by Americans (assuming it was American donors that dropped their sponsorship). It it 10,000 out of 50,000 children that were dropped? (just to use an example) That might make it easier to see how difficult it will for WV to recover sponsors for these children.

    As for your other question – As a WV sponsor, I’m pretty outraged that 10,000 children were dropped. I suspect the drops mostly came from upset conservatives. (However, my suspicions are based on my FB feed and not on any hard data.)

  68. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    “Fiscal Surplus”…ha!! 😉 You do make some great points, and I agree about not including issues with doctrine..many rabbit trails would be explored in response, convoluting the core subject at hand.

  69. D@ dee:
    The actions of anti-LGBT groups and persons who encouraged people to cancel their World Vision pledges over legally married gay or lesbian employees stepped on my absolute last nerve. It just showed the sheer animus and hatred some groups and people have toward GLBT persons that they’d hurt innocent kids to hit back at teh gheys.

  70. How about an article based on Warren Throckmorton’s and Dr. Duncan’s work on getting “Real Marriage” on the NYTimes bestseller list? You’ve got the facts, you’ve got part of the contract, you’ve got research on how much money was spent, a good guesstimate on how many books were sold and, finally, where all the money ended up. Concentrating on that one incident you could write a very tight narrative in several hundred words. And then ask if Driscoll is the only one doing it.

  71. This is more complicated than meets the eye. You have to be factual without being inflammatory. The ad has to somehow indicate that it is a Christian duty to stand up for the truth. And why it is not wrong for Christians to question clergy as Janet Mefford did in the case of Mr Driscoll. In fact when power is abused by clergy and church members are treated badly, it would be negligent for someone who cares not to bring these issues to light. The historical precedence of Martin Luther and his 99 thesis is an example.

  72. I hope that Janet Mefford is holding up well under the attack. They also appear to be targeting Jonathan Merritt. They are a militant group of people who hate criticism and critics. And I don’t understand what they are so militant about. They seem to fight for the sake of fighting, and split hairs in hopes of refining their already narrow theology. John Calvin was an a spiritual descendent of Augustin who who developed a brilliant systematic theology. Even if I were a Calvinist, I would feel these people are a bit extreme.

  73. This probably won’t fly, as it’s raw honesty, but all I can come up with is –

    Consider their words and actions for yourself and tell us who is the REAL Enemy within the Church . . . Janet Mefferd or Mark Driscoll?

  74. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    talking about bodies under the bus

    Not even vague hints, like, “people who have found themselves trampled underfoot by greyhounds(*)”?

    *(Greyhound = American bus line)

  75. @ Southwestern Discomfort:

    They may not necessarily harbor personal hatred in their hearts towards homosexuals, but only disagree with homosexual behavior and view the charity’s steps as giving some kind of stamp of approval to that behavior.

    There’s also no telling if the folks who stopped giving money to that particular charity may have found another charity to donate to. There is more than one charity out there that helps impoverished or hungry children.

  76. Daisy wrote:

    They may not necessarily harbor personal hatred in their hearts towards homosexuals, but only disagree with homosexual behavior and view the charity’s steps as giving some kind of stamp of approval to that behavior.

    There’s also no telling if the folks who stopped giving money to that particular charity may have found another charity to donate to. There is more than one charity out there that helps impoverished or hungry children.

    Doesn’t matter, Daisy–I saw hatred for GLBT people and I’ve bloody well had enough. These people didn’t CARE that what they were doing was taking food from hungry children, they HAD to hit back at the evil gays. That stepped on my very last nerve on this subject, and as far as I am concerned, there is nothing the church can say which will reverse my firm opinion that GLBT persons deserve the rights AND responsibilities of full citizenzhip and civil rights.

    The following thought isn’t original with me, but are these people going to start quizzing supermarket clerks and DMV agents and hairdressers and car salesmen about their sexuality, so they can protect themselves from helping out TEH GHEY? Or even TEH SUPPORTERS of TEH GHEY? Seriously…if they want to protect themselves from what’s coming, they might as well take themselves off to Iran or Saudi Arabia, both wonderfully oppressive religious countries. Except, wrong religion, natch.

  77. @ Daisy:

    There are a lot of holes in this entire story. For one thing, the WV people, when they said oops and reversed themselves, said they did not ask enough conservative leaders about the initial change. Does anybody believe that? Here is an organization that really really seemed to understand how to exist in the evangelical world of charity and relief work, but they had no idea who their contributor base was and who to ask if they were about to get into trouble? I don’t see that as probable. I think there is more to the story.

    The fact that the google exec resigned, and the fact that google is pro-gay marriage and the fact that there might be google corporate contribution to WV and the fact that somebody here mentioned that somebody might have been trying to influence the board or gain power, all that makes me think there was something going on at the board level, perhaps a threat of withdrawal of funds, to explain why WV even waded into this to start with. I just don’t buy this idea of how oblivious WV is to what it is doing.

    And, note that every few days something new comes up about google and somebody is wanting to curtail its power or supposed power. It may not be google. But it looks like something is going on that WV was trying to avert and it was running scared and took chances. They just could not have been this naive.

    I have not said that cutting off contributions was the right thing for anybody to do. I am just saying there surely must be more to the story. And I am saying that WV took huge chances with its contributor base for some reason.

  78. What about a press release commending Janet Mefferd’s program and TWW to the Body of Christ for — long list of reasons. Truth never threatens souls who walk transparently in the Light of the Lord. Darkness never perceives Light to be the enemy because evil deeds cannot thrive in truth’s impartial glare. Janet Mefferd, TWW (and their guests/commenters) offer up the truth in love, often speaking for the marginalized and the voiceless. (I’m thinking of abused children here.) etc. etc. Just a thought.

    Hi!! You folks are so me!!! The varying throes of regaining peace and sanity after church abuse — I recognize the situations, words, and feelings so well.

    I “amen” the righteous indignation towards current church malfeasance — same old, same old recognizable tactics. Small group of people gets control over everyone else, busily builds their own kingdom, and maintains that prestige and lifestyle (at the sheep’s expense) in any and every way possible.

    I also so appreciate the civility of conversation here, especially given the intensity of reaction the topics can spark. Thank you all so much.

    Next up . . . nothing you don’t already know. Just feels good to rant.

    The Lord Jesus suffered in agony to deliver us beloved sinners from the destructiveness of sin in our lives. He loves us, not our sin. Especially in leaders, sin has to go. Love does not enable any believer, in any calling or office, to practice or cover up sin, deceit, abuse, perversity, ungodly behavior, etc. Real repentance brings forth godly fruit, recognizable as such by the rest of the Body.

    Are we seeing any changes in any way resembling righteousness in the life of Pastor Mark of Mars Hill? Hmmmmm????? Well, there ya go . . .

    God bless y’all!!

  79. Thanks Been There.

    Nancy, you are probably right. There is war on the WV board.

    For the President to come out with the claim that they have lost 10k children etc. is not wise, in my view. I suspect he is in league with one faction on the board that wants to go one direction, and that he was reigned in shortly thereafter. And when that didn’t happen, he released negative info about his own organization.

    Of course this is all a guess.

    But I appreciate the info from the readers.

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  81. Hey, Dee and Deb, and all the readers who support Janet Mefferd, got a shout out and thank you on her 4/16 show!

    I sometimes listen to her shows a day or two or more after they’ve been released, so I am just now hearing this show today.

    It starts around the 7:10 mark or so:
    Janet Mefferd Show-4/16/2014