Mark Driscoll / Acts 29 Continue to Draw Criticism

"Now, some of you may have heard we’re a Reformed church. Don’t Google it, don’t blow your head up. We love Jesus, read your Bible, stay off the Internet. It’s all shenanigans anyways."

Mark Driscoll

(Under heading God Uses People to Save People)

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=13686&picture=obri-zelva-na-silniciGiant Tortoise in the Road

Two years ago Mark Driscoll shared 10 Reflection on the Elephant Room (on the internet, I might add…)  Under Reflection #4 – I have a lot to learn, Driscoll wrote:   

"I did not grow up in an evangelical church. I was saved at 19 and planted a church at 25, which was too early, as I was not ready. The church I pastor is the only church of which I’ve ever been a member."

Tragically, there are now A WHOLE LOT of bodies under the Mars Hill bus.  Not only that, countless people have been hurt by the Acts 29 church planting machine. 

Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a professor of Psychology at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania, has worked tirelessly to expose Mark Driscoll, beginning with the plagiarism debacle.  He has written a number of posts about Driscoll and Mars Hill over at Patheos.  In case you missed them, here are some that we recommend:

The Signed Contract That Helped Get Mark Driscoll's Real Marriage Book on the New York Times Best Seller List

Twenty Former Mars Hill Pastors Seek Mediation With Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Leadership

Megachurch Methods: Pastor Fired Because He Wouldn’t Sign Non-Compete Clause

Who at Mars Hill Church Authorized Church Funds to Buy a Place for Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage on the NYT Best Seller List?

Mark Driscoll to Congregation:  Stay Off the Internet

Dr. Throckmorton continues to focus on the shenanigans of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill, and just yesterday he wrote a post entitled:  Mars Hill Church Deletes Mark Driscoll's Teaching on Jesus Making Mistakes.  Here is an excerpt:

On May 4, Mark Driscoll preached on Acts 6:1-7. In keeping with usual procedure, the video of the sermon was not posted on the church website until yesterday.

Those who watch the sermon on the website are missing some material from the live delivery two weeks ago. A segment of nearly six minutes was deleted from the sermon after discussion internally and some questions were raised externally. I have obtained a copy of the original sermon and have the missing material here.

In question is Driscoll’s teaching on the difference between sin and mistakes. In general, the Acts 6:1-7 sermon sounds like a self-defense. However, his teaching on Jesus making mistakes was of enough concern that MHC leaders deleted it.

To read the transcript of the missing section, go here.

We are grateful that Dr. Throckmorton is keeping a watchful eye towards Driscoll and his church and using the world wide web to reveal his findings.  What we find so ironic is that the internet was one of the primary tools Driscoll used to build his brand and his tribe (as he calls it).  He began Mars Hill in 1996 and rode the technological wave well into the 21st century.  In a strange twist, the church website has now been scrubbed.  What are they afraid of? 

Clearly, there are problems at Mars Hill Church, and the bodies under the bus continue to pile up. 

But that's not the only problem…

On a blog called Musings From Under the Bus, a post has just been published that turns the spotlight on the Acts 29 board.  The post title asks the question:  Why did the Acts 29 Board Fail to Address Driscoll's Abuse in 2005?

The article contends that since the Acts 29 Board knew about Mark Driscoll's egregious actions for close to a decade, it should "share in the responsibility for the abusive environment that now exists at Mars Hill Church".  According to the post:

The very first Acts 29 church plant ran into some problems. The way Mark Driscoll handled these problems demonstrated his abusive ruthlessness to the men on the Acts 29 board.

In dealing with the problems, a pastor, Ron Wheeler, interacted with Mark Driscoll and experienced the abusive treatment that Driscoll has now become notorious for. Here is an excerpt from a letter Wheeler sent the Acts 29 board:

“…was followed up the next day, with a phone call from Mark where he used the most obscene vulgar language that I can remember someone using with me.  The next day, he sent an email to the other elders, that I had no knowledge about until recently, that can only be defined as wildly inaccurate and slanderous.  The current leadership of The Gathering considers much of where things currently stand in leadership to be directly related to Mark’s influence and conduct in the process.

Over the past many years, I have identified and struggled with issues in Mark such as:  pride, speech (lack of self-control, sexually vulgar and slanderous, exaggeration that bordered on deception, gossip about others and confidential issues either about others to me, or about myself with others. Confidentiality issues carry legal implications for the church), and an impulsive/reactive spirit. It is because of the confidentiality and distortion of the facts, that I distrust individual communication with Mark, and need the involvement of the Board in these issues. My frustration is that I have never been silent with Mark or with anyone else about where I stand.  It is no secret to the past Acts29 leadership board that I have had frustration in many of these areas, and it ought to be noted by the existing board members that the two former board members have pulled out of leadership, one out of frustration with the conflict between Mark and David, one largely through dealing with conflict brought on by some of these same issues. This is now the second time that issues have gone on record with Mark regarding areas of character in speech and conduct.  The fact that Mark is an incredibly talented leader and speaker, cannot in any way substitute for the simple Biblical requirements of being Christ-like, much less the qualifications of being an Elder.  I can make a Biblical case from Titus regarding being overbearing, quick-tempered, self-controlled, upright, and holy, as well as 1 Timothy regarding above reproach, self-controlled, respectable, not quarrelsome, and reputation with outsiders. “ [emphasis added]

Rob Smith, who wrote this post, explains that Ron Wheeler's experience mirrors his.  Some years ago (around 2007) Mark Driscoll called Smith to inform him that he was being 'disciplined' for requesting a fair trial for the elders who had been fired, namely Bent Meyer and Paul Petry.  This simple request was met with accusations from Driscoll that Smith was 'a divisive man' who was 'trying to divide the elders'.  Smith then reveals:

I experienced the most obscene and vulgar language that I have ever endured. Mark Driscoll threatened me, demeaned me, said he would destroy me and my ministry and make sure I would never minister again.

This is what Ron Wheeler was describing to the Acts 29 board in his appeal for help. This is what countless other former members and elders have experienced.

As he concludes his post, Smith wants to know why the Acts 29 board members, namely Ed Stetzer, Darin Patrick, Steve Tomkins and Chan Kilgore, did not take action when Mark Driscoll's offensive behavior was initially exposed. 

Smith goes on to explain that Ed Stetzer claims he never saw Ron Wheeler's letter… 

That was then, this is now.  Will the Acts 29 board finally own up to the mess they appear to have helped create at Mars Hill Church (and perhaps other Acts 29 churches)?  We were tipped off several years ago that there were serious problems with Mark Driscoll with regard to the church planting network associated with Mars Hill Church.  Now we are starting to understand just how serious those issues were.

We will continue to monitor the Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill situation, along with a growing number of concerned individuals, and keep you apprised of any developments.

In the meantime, we leave you with an interesting clip.  As you watch it, keep in mind that Mark Driscoll's first Reflection on the Elephant Room (2012) included these words, which we assume Driscoll wrote (although we can't be 100% sure)…

I also appreciate that when many were taking shots, Dr. John Piper came and stood next to me put an arm around me and said he had hope for me and loved me. 

People like this are a gift. I want to grow in becoming a person like that, and though I’ve got a long way to go, I want to not get more angry, narrow, hardened and tribal as I get older but rather grow in grace. I don’t want to be a lonely old man shooting everyone who does not fit on my island.

 

Lydia's Corner:  Daniel 6:1-28   2 Peter 3:1-18   Psalm 119:129-152   Proverbs 28:21-22

Comments

Mark Driscoll / Acts 29 Continue to Draw Criticism — 273 Comments

  1. This is what happens when there is no accountability. This issue with MD did not happen overnight and is too entrenched now to be ended anytime soon. If children are never taught appropriate behavior when they are young, why would you be suprised if they turnout to be uncouth when they are older?

    And, first?

  2. @ Tired:

    Agreed. With teaching like Driscoll does in the video, is it any wonder that he and his lieutenants have wreaked havoc in the body of Christ?

  3. The non-compete clause is one I don’t understand…..did Jesus have the apostles sign one of these? It is like church now IS a business….

  4. Shocking the way Mark tries to pattern Jesus after himself so as to justify his “mistakes” rather than patterning himself after Jesus in an effort to become Christ-like.

    Jesus said the ones who were mistaken are those who didn’t understand scripture and thus were leading others astray.

    Matt 22:29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.

  5. During my 50 years in the church, I saw this occur a number of times: The pastor gets in trouble, and starts preaching new theology that provides cover for his misconduct.

    This is very effective. When people have come to trust a pastor for his Biblical teaching, they are primed to accept whatever doctrine he puts out.

    And pastors who have presented sound teaching in the past, are not beyond the deception of presenting new teaching that is nothing more than a cover up for their misbehavior.

  6. There were a couple of statements in the video that caught my attention because of their frank unbiblical nature. When I listened again to the video to quote them properly I realized that everything that came out of his mouth was his own twisted and self-serving theology. Underscoring everything is his undeniable stance that individuals exist for the benefit of the church mission rather than the reverse. Add to this his view that he runs the church (“drives the bus”), and you have wretched tyranny.

    I’ll call Mark (and his supporters) out on just two points:

    1. “We fired two elders”: Where in the NT do you get your authority to do this? And if you cite the Matthew 18 discipline process, when was the matter taken before the church so they could know the details of the elders’ sins and persuade them to repent, in love?

    2. “Paul put people in the wood-chipper”: Really, Mark, who? John Mark was restored and eventually commended by the apostle, and the sinner mentioned in 1 and 2 Corinthians was to be forgiven, comforted and reassured of the church’s love.

    I have never seen any action from Mark that resembles this: “I was wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me. What do you need for me to do to restore this relationship?” And yes, your repentance needs to be as wide-spread as the results of your sin if the world is to be persuaded of the authenticity of your faith and rebirth.

  7. We also owe Wenatchee The Hatchett a HUGE debt of gratitude because he has been doing a yeoman's job in documenting so much about Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll. For instance, he has been keeping up with the scrubbing process on the MH website, and the sermon series on Nehemiah has been removed.

    Mars Hill Removed Entirety of Nehemiah (published March 9, 2014)

    It was at the conclusion of the Nehemiah series that Paul Petry and Bent Meyer were fired. Wenatchee has a wealth of information on his website that document so much of what has been going on at Mars Hill. No wonder Driscoll wants Martians (MH members) off the internet…

  8. If nothing else Driscoll sure seems to have an extreme case of narcissism.

    If Driscoll feels that God wants something done, maybe Driscoll should ask God how to accomplish it rather than trying to do this how Driscoll thinks it should be done.

  9. From Wheeler’s letter quoted in the OP:

    “two former board members have pulled out of leadership, one out of frustration with the conflict between Mark and David…”

    My reaction was, David Who? From Smith’s article I find this was the late David Nicholas, whose idea Acts 29 was, and its co-founder until Fiscal deleted him. I never heard of him until just now. I was in an Acts 29 church until it left the network.. But never heard of Nicholas. Though Fiscal’s bios usually state “Co-founder of Acts 29″ (along with the not strictly accurate “Founder of Mars Hill”).

    So joining Comrade Gunn and Comrade Moi in the “never existed” category, we also have Comrade Nicholas!

  10. @ Dave A A:

    We didn’t know anything about David Nicholas until last year. Here is some of what we discovered in a post we published last December:

    Is Acts 29 Planting or Decimating Churches?

    In case you have ever wondered (as we have) how Acts 29 came into existence, here is some interesting information.

    How and when did Acts 29 begin? (link)

    "Acts 29 was founded in 2000 with Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle when it was about 200 in attendance and David Nicholas, a Presbyterian pastor (now retired) of a large church in Boca Raton, Florida. They formed the network to plant qualified, entrepreneurial men who held to a reformed soteriology (salvation) and were willing to engage urban cities with the gospel."

    So did Acts 29 begin in 1998 (as Mark Driscoll indicated in the above quote) or  in 2000? Inquiring minds want to know…

    Somehow your glam blog queens missed the fact that Mark Driscoll co-founded Acts 29 with Dr. David Nicholas (who died on January 25, 2011). Who was Dr. Nicholas?  Here is some pertinent information in the Sun Sentinel at the time of his death.

    "The Rev. Nicholas died of cardiac arrest at Boca Raton Community Hospital the night of Jan. 25, a day after teaching a seminar for 25 ministers. He was 79.

    During his decades at Spanish River, the Rev. Nicholas oversaw the establishment of a lively, contemporary worship style that helped grow weekend attendance to 1,700. The church also launched a counseling center with seven counselors and a school with 560 students.

    Under the Rev. Nicholas’ supervision, Spanish River fostered 250 churches in 11 countries, plus 40 orphanages in Haiti, Chad and Malawi. After his pastorate, he founded an organization called Church Planting Network to concentrate on forming congregations.

    “David’s life is marked by great work,” said the Rev. Tommy Kiedis, who succeeded him at Spanish River. “His passion was always spreading the message of Jesus around the world.” "

    The Boca Raton Tribune stated the following about Dr. David Nicholas (link):

    "Dr. Nicholas started the church in 1967 with a small group of people meeting in an empty storefront and continued to serve there for 42 years.

    Under Dr. Nicholas’ leadership, SRC planted more than 200 churches in the United States and around the world, according to the SRC website.

    Dr. Nicholas also co-founded the Acts 29 Network “He was an incredible supporter of our church and mentor to me and our pastors,” said Chan Kilgore, Acts 29 board member and planter of CrossPointe Church in Orlando.

    Pastor Mark Driscoll founded the Acts 29 Network with Dr. Nicholas in 2000. He was influential in starting many current Acts 29 churches, and provided much support for many church planters."

    And here is an excerpt from the tribute to Dr. David Nicholas on the Acts 29 website: (link)

    "Nicholas was influential in starting many current Acts 29 churches, and provided much support for many of our church planters.

    “As a young church planter, Dr. David Nicholas was very generous to me with both finances and wisdom,” Driscoll wrote. “I often thank God for the massive investment that he has made in my life and ministry, as well as hundreds of other church planters. Though we miss him, it will be exciting one day in eternity to see the lasting legacy of the fruit of his long and faithful ministry."

    I found this comment by Robert (over on another blog) fascinating:

    "Just FYI: Driscoll did not found Acts 29.

    It was founded by a Florida pastor, Dr. David Nicholas, who passed away last year. Dr. Nicholas’ organization helped fund some of Driscoll’s early church-planting activities, and at some point, Driscoll took over the organization from Dr. Nicholas. The history is unclear as to how Driscoll did this, whether it was a friendly or hostile takeover. We will probably never know the truth."

    In case you’d like to read more about the co-founder of Acts 29, there was an interview in Christianity Today with Dr. Nicholas shortly before his death.

    I’m not so sure David Nichols was a “comrade”. Perhaps he was the first body under Driscoll’s bus. ;-)  We'll probably never know what really happened.

  11. @ Rob:
    Frankly, I am tired of men Like Stetzer, Piper, seminary leaders,etc who show that their theology has little meaning in the face of a real problem in the church. They have propped up Driscoll for years.

  12. @ Deb:
    If I’d been doing proper TWW reading, I’d have not been ignorant!
    BTW, in this context, by “comrade” I don’t mean someone necessarily in agreement with the “chairman”– only someone who, in later revisionist history, is treated by the “chairman” as if he never existed.

  13. dee wrote:

    Frankly, I am tired of men Like Stetzer, Piper, seminary leaders,etc who show that their theology has little meaning in the face of a real problem in the church. They have propped up Driscoll for years.

    Probably it is an entire thread-worthy topic on its own, but the following question I’ve had for several years seems much closer now to being a real consideration.

    In light of recent public push-back on “Commenders” who prop up abusive leaders by loaning their own personal/organizational reputation and commendation of said leaders:
    What are appropriate measures of push-back and discipline from the Body of Christ toward Commenders when it becomes clear that these individuals and organizations have wounded the Body by their “positive” support of spiritually abusive people who demonstrate themselves to be UNqualified (due to lack of skill or maturity) and/or DISqualified (due to unChristlike character) from roles of leadership?

    I believe we need to be thinking this through, because of the large array of situations in the North American Church right now where Commenders are perpetuating the “ministry” of untrustworthy individuals and organizations whose abusive teachings and actions are documentable and verifiable. Both perpetrators and their perpetuators contribute to a system of bondage on God’s people … so, what can we do? What should we do? What are the limits to our forms push-back?

  14. brad/futuristguy

    I believe we need to be thinking this through, because of the large array of situations in the North American Church right now where Commenders are perpetuating the “ministry” of untrustworthy individuals and organizations whose abusive teachings and actions are documentable and verifiable. Both perpetrators and their perpetuators contribute to a system of bondage on God’s people

    Shortly before we started blogging, we brought up the rather obvious problems with Driscoll with a seminarian in our area. We got chewed out, big time. He lets us know that something was wrong with us since he, along with all sorts of “famous’ and obviously” theologically superior” individuals and seminaries supported Driscoll. Which just goes to prove that said seminarians, no matter how well educated with all sorts of PhDs, are clueless in a concerning way.

    Now, with the obvious issues, they just go silent. The silence is an admission of their own extraordinarily poor judgment.

    I wonder if John Piper is still looooving Driscoll’s theology?

  15. @ brad/futuristguy:
    If we look at the systems that are failing now and the commenders (or collaborators as I see it), I think that there is the underlying corruption of power that is not Kingdom power. These men desire power over others, but I believe that some of them believe it is power that is beneficial for those they are over. See Dabney on race and gender, for example.

    I suspect that we might find some answers by looking at the contracts between these “leaders” and Crossway. ISTM that TGC and T4G have become (were always intended to be??) promotional vehicles for Crossway. If we presume that parties to contracts with Crossway must not disparage others in the Crossway lineup, then things like the T4g and TgC defenses of Mahaney (followed by deafening silence in the face of the verdict) make a lot more sense.

    All the guys who are following the “leaders” and going to the conferences become, in effect, sales agents and/or consumers of Crossway’s products or their own products. IOW the “free books” given away for reviews and at the conferences become marketing on the cheap with an unpaid sales force promoting your product line and creating more demand for your product in their churches and peer groups.

    Why are Mahaney personally and “complementarianism” doctrinally untouchable? I think it may be because Mahaney was the one who proved the marketing concept, starting in the 70’s, and the complementarian formula for your best life now is the product being sold.

    That’s how it looks to me from a marketing and economic point of view, anyway, and it’s the only way I’ve been able to make any sense out of Driscoll, Mahaney, and Piper and their fans.

    What should we do? Well, speak out as conscience directs, and withdraw support from the system. I think a thread on this topic would be great.

    Gram3

  16. God doesn’t dwell in temples made by hands, yet it seems to me that Mark Driscoll’s focus is on preserving and protecting a kingdom of his own making, in which he assumes the right to lord over others. Not sure where this all stems from exactly but I think it’s been fed by a culture of ‘leadership’ in which spiritual authority is presumed by some and exercised over others creating top-down hierarchies that are almost always exclusively dominated by men. This needs to stop, as in it needs to be resisted. The problem as I see it is two-fold though: It’s the people keen on position & power and the people who are willing to follow. It’s like the whole thing needs to be turned upside-down in order to become right side up.

    Idk. More and more it seems the best thing for us to do is start acting and working to create groups of our own instead of sitting around waiting for people to change, or these structures to become obsolete. The fact is they are obsolete. If that’s what people want, if that’s what people desire to be part of or to follow then fine. I think it’s important to warn against it but there needs to be alternatives. What prevents the average person from stepping out a deal doing something. Have we been intimidated into inaction? What does the new testament tell us to do? Apparently we’re to look around and see a harvest that’s there, ready for the workers.

    It’s really a matter of faith, isn’t it? I say let’s start to do something. These big name yahoos aren’t where it’s at. At least from my reading of the Bible they don’t seem to be. Like Paul said, “they seemed like somebody’s but they added nothing going to me.” I think Jesus would say the same thing about guys like Mark Driscoll.

    Guess I’m starting to feel pretty frustrated. Maybe that’s for a reason idk. But I’m getting close to needing to do something thats more in line with what I believe because frankly, I’m not finding it. I’m not even hearing of it in my neck of the woods. Hopefully I’m not the only one weary in the wastelands of all this. And hopefully this is pointing to a time of preparation for something new to spring forth. And maybe we are those seeds. Maybe we are those plants.

  17. @ dee:
    The relationship between Piper and Wilson would not be expected in view of Wilson’s troubling teaching on salvation, the church, and gender. But, if we consider that the gender issue is Piper’s overriding doctrine, then the other things which trouble me and others a lot become relatively trivial. The ecumenism is around gender hierarchy.

    I wonder if there is a stage Piper would not share with someone male, so long as they were properly hierarchical.

    And thank you for creating and maintaining this helpful forum.

    Gram3

  18. dee wrote:

    @ brad/futuristguy:
    Addendum: John Piper is now pushing (even more) Doug Wilson. Does anybody question Piper’s judgment out there?

    Quite a few people that read here do. Jeff Crippin does. I do 🙂 It doesn’t appear that anyone at TGC, T4G, or Crossway books do.

  19. dee wrote:

    Addendum: John Piper is now pushing (even more) Doug Wilson. Does anybody question Piper’s judgment out there?

    Doug “Southern slavery was GREEEEEAAAT for everyone” Wilson? 0_o *double facepalm* *shakes head violently* Wow, if that’s the case, then it’s obvious that Piper’s gone nuts.

  20. 1) I listened to the “mistakes” sermon, and I didn’t find anything wrong with what he said about Jesus, nor anything that the neo-puritan movement would necessarily disagree with. As such, it seems clear to me that the video was amended for other reasons.

    2) I am not trying to be snarky nor speak ill of Driscoll, but put bluntly, he reminds me more and more of Tony Soprano as time goes by.

  21. I find it tragically ironic that so many Protestant Christian celebrity preachers, whose religion was born out of a call for a ‘priesthood of all believers’ can be as dictatorial, greedy, and oppressive as any medieval Pope.

  22. Steve240 wrote:

    If nothing else Driscoll sure seems to have an extreme case of narcissism.

    If Driscoll feels that God wants something done, maybe Driscoll should ask God how to accomplish it rather than trying to do this how Driscoll thinks it should be done.

    “A fanatic is someone who does what God would do if God only KNEW what was REALLY going on.”
    — don’t remember the source, but that’s one good line

  23. JeffT wrote:

    I find it tragically ironic that so many Protestant Christian celebrity preachers, whose religion was born out of a call for a ‘priesthood of all believers’ can be as dictatorial, greedy, and oppressive as any medieval Pope.

    No, these guys out-Pope the Borgia Popes. The only reason we’re not plunged into Holy War and Crusades and Witch-hunts and Genocide of the Infidel is because they don’t have actual political power — only power over their “Kirks” and congregations instead of over all the rest of us.

    And “Christian Reconstructionism” — going hell-bent after Political Power — is there to eventually remedy that.

  24. Kristin wrote:

    How convenient. “I have no sin to repent of; I just made a mistake.”

    “Mistakes were made…”
    — standard political spin a la Clinton

  25. dee wrote:

    @ brad/futuristguy:
    Addendum: John Piper is now pushing (even more) Doug Wilson. Does anybody question Piper’s judgment out there?

    Power seeks POWER.

    Tabaqui the Jackal sucks up to Shere Khan for what scraps might drop from the tiger’s kill.

  26. JeffT wrote:

    I find it tragically ironic that so many Protestant Christian celebrity preachers, whose religion was born out of a call for a ‘priesthood of all believers’ can be as dictatorial, greedy, and oppressive as any medieval Pope.

    Funny you should say this…went to a wedding this morning, yes it was this morning and the pastor went off on a diatribe discussing male leadership in the home and how the man was head of the household, much as the pastor was head of the church…..yes, SBC Church, I almost stood up and cussed, my wife would have killed me, but came close….the pastor went to Criswell….

  27. Deb wrote:

    For instance, he has been keeping up with the scrubbing process on the MH website, and the sermon series on Nehemiah has been removed.

    “…Everybody’s got somethin’ to hide cept’ for me an’ my monkey..”
    ~John Lennon~

  28. Gram3 wrote:

    @ brad/futuristguy:
    If we look at the systems that are failing now and the commenders (or collaborators as I see it), I think that there is the underlying corruption of power that is not Kingdom power. These men desire power over others, but I believe that some of them believe it is power that is beneficial for those they are over. See Dabney on race and gender, for example.

    I suspect that we might find some answers by looking at the contracts between these “leaders” and Crossway. ISTM that TGC and T4G have become (were always intended to be??) promotional vehicles for Crossway. If we presume that parties to contracts with Crossway must not disparage others in the Crossway lineup, then things like the T4g and TgC defenses of Mahaney (followed by deafening silence in the face of the verdict) make a lot more sense.

    All the guys who are following the “leaders” and going to the conferences become, in effect, sales agents and/or consumers of Crossway’s products or their own products. IOW the “free books” given away for reviews and at the conferences become marketing on the cheap with an unpaid sales force promoting your product line and creating more demand for your product in their churches and peer groups.

    Why are Mahaney personally and “complementarianism” doctrinally untouchable? I think it may be because Mahaney was the one who proved the marketing concept, starting in the 70′s, and the complementarian formula for your best life now is the product being sold.

    That’s how it looks to me from a marketing and economic point of view, anyway, and it’s the only way I’ve been able to make any sense out of Driscoll, Mahaney, and Piper and their fans.

    What should we do? Well, speak out as conscience directs, and withdraw support from the system. I think a thread on this topic would be great.

    Gram3

    Ahhhhhh, this makes perfect sense. I went to crossway not knowing what it was and the featured book was by matt chandler, they advertise a lot of piper’s books also. it was mentioned in another thread that their ESV version of the bible has changes in the scriptures to back up their theory of wife submission. thanks for posting this, I am new to all of it.

  29. Gram3 wrote:

    But, if we consider that the gender issue is Piper’s overriding doctrine, then the other things which trouble me and others a lot become relatively trivial. The ecumenism is around gender hierarchy.
    I wonder if there is a stage Piper would not share with someone male, so long as they were properly hierarchical.

    Now that is an insightful comment! And thank you for participating. This forum would not be a forum without folks like you. We do not take it for granted.

  30. Regarding no accountability, just wondering, if you prefer a church to be independent, you will have no accountability. That’s the problem without any kind of hierarchy.

    @ Tired:

  31. Gram3 wrote:

    But, if we consider that the gender issue is Piper’s overriding doctrine, then the other things which trouble me and others a lot become relatively trivial. The ecumenism is around gender hierarchy.

    I was reading an article in the USA newspaper this a.m. entitled “The Young are Gender Blenders.” With stats like these:

    94% of women cool with women in the military
    85% of men cool with stay-at-home dads
    81% of men cool with female breadwinners
    68% of young women say it’s ok for women to propose to men
    70% of young men say it’s ok for women to propose to men

    More than two-thirds agree that gender does not define a person the way it once did and that gender lines have been blurred.

    they have their work cut out for them.

    The findings from the 2013 Casandra Gender Report was posted here:
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/06/21/gender-millennials-dormitories-sex/10573099/

  32. dee wrote:

    @ brad/futuristguy:
    Addendum: John Piper is now pushing (even more) Doug Wilson. Does anybody question Piper’s judgment out there?

    I have to check everything you guys talk about cause I am from Washington state and have no idea of the people you talk about here so I would like to post this for others that are clueless about who doug Wilson is. its a post of someone that reviewed doug wilsons book. if piper is commending Wilson then not only is pipers theology of women in error but one would have to question his theology of African americans. do any African americans attend pipers church?

    excerpts from a book review of “Southern Slavery: As It Was
    by Douglas Wilson (Goodreads Author), Steve Wilkins”

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3125920-southern-slavery

    Joseph rated it 1 of 5 stars
    Shelves: theology

    ” I may be a Christian, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think that this book manages to push race relations back 150 years.

    It’s not as though it is devoid of good points – it isn’t just “those n*ggers are a bunch of animals anyway.” The authors insist that they are not racist and that racism is evil (I’ll leave that to the reader as to whether or not they buy that). Be that as it may, this is is pro-confederate, pro-slavery garbage that is backed up by some pretty questionable historical data that you’d think was written by an angry klansman than two educated ministers.

    A few passages of scripture are used within context, but the meanings are then extrapolated to say that slavery is, if not good, is at the very least something that should be given the benefit of the doubt. It also spends a lot of time talking about how great slavery was for blacks. I honestly do not think that it is hyperbole, given what is written here, that the authors would not be opposed to legalizing slavery again. After all, since God did not outright ban it for first century Christians, as long as they treated their slaved well, surely there were no historical or cultural circumstances that made it better to allow it under strict guidelines in that context than outright prohibit it, but rather it is something that is part of His word for all time…

    Lastly, the historical claims are widely panned by those who actually study history and aren’t part of neo-confederate groups (such as the League of the South, on which Wilkins used to sit on the board).”

  33. Victorious wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    But, if we consider that the gender issue is Piper’s overriding doctrine, then the other things which trouble me and others a lot become relatively trivial. The ecumenism is around gender hierarchy.
    I was reading an article in the USA newspaper this a.m. entitled “The Young are Gender Blenders.” With stats like these:
    94% of women cool with women in the military
    85% of men cool with stay-at-home dads
    81% of men cool with female breadwinners
    68% of young women say it’s ok for women to propose to men
    70% of young men say it’s ok for women to propose to men
    More than two-thirds agree that gender does not define a person the way it once did and that gender lines have been blurred.
    they have their work cut out for them.
    The findings from the 2013 Casandra Gender Report was posted here:
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/06/21/gender-millennials-dormitories-sex/10573099/

    It is changing. While there are some that stuck to old ideas, the under 35 crowd is going to be a driving force of change in this nation. The roles of males and females are blending, and to be honest, I do not see a problem with it. If a couple is happy with him being househusband and her being the bread winter, who are we to judge? Why is this any of the churches’ business?

  34. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    No, these guys out-Pope the Borgia Popes. The only reason we’re not plunged into Holy War and Crusades and Witch-hunts and Genocide of the Infidel is because they don’t have actual political power — only power over their “Kirks” and congregations instead of over all the rest of us.

    And “Christian Reconstructionism” — going hell-bent after Political Power — is there to eventually remedy that.

    one of my sincere concerns is the religious extremists on the right conservative party that are hyper fear mongering against muslims. a lot of them are listed on the southern poverty law hate groups list. the things that some of them have said are that we need to go eliminate all muslims (whether jihadists or not) the SPLC has quoted many of them saying horrendous things in the press. (this is not to say that everyone on the splc list are there correctly labeled as hate groups in my opinion). when fear mongering is used against a whole race, (one said all arabs/muslims are evil and need to be eliminated) and in light of the horrible crimes jihadists are doing overseas, then you will start to see people in America killing muslims or even people that appear to be of arab descent for no reason except their race, just as what happened after 9/11.

  35. sam h wrote:

    I have to check everything you guys talk about cause I am from Washington state and have no idea of the people you talk about here so I would like to post this for others that are clueless about who doug Wilson is. its a post of someone that reviewed doug wilsons book. if piper is commending Wilson then not only is pipers theology of women in error but one would have to question his theology of African americans. do any African americans attend pipers church?

    If I recall correctly (I used to listen to Rev. Piper’s podcasts), he has at least one adopted child who is African American. And yet, he’s cuddling up to Wilson? Creepy, creepy.

  36. K.D.

    Funny you should say this…went to a wedding this morning, yes it was this morning and the pastor went off on a diatribe discussing male leadership in the home and how the man was head of the household, much as the pastor was head of the church…..yes, SBC Church, I almost stood up and cussed, my wife would have killed me, but came close….the pastor went to Criswell….

    This sounds incredibly familiar….. I wonder if my ex-pastor was presiding over a wedding ceremony today?

  37. Cassie wrote:

    This sounds incredibly familiar….. I wonder if my ex-pastor was presiding over a wedding ceremony today?

    Wow, bold! Not sure how that happened.

  38. Another Driscoll mentor is Bruce Ware who is known for saying that females are not created directly in the image of God because the being of females is derived from the being of males.

    That is weird in so many ways, but what is weird in Ware’s context is that it assumes some “role” of the male in the female’s creation. They fail to acknowledge that the male had exactly as much to do with the female’s creation, i.e. zero, as the female had to do with the male’s creation. It is weird coming from them because of their view of God’s sovereignty and seems to me curiously male-centered rather than God-centered. In their “reasoning”, if God takes stuff from the male which He previously created when He made the male, and forms that stuff into a female, then the female is not created directly by God and is therefore not directly created in His image.

    This is the kind of reasoning that is all through Ware’s writing along with the other “complementarian” luminaries. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up, but it *seems* reasonable to many because the ground has been plowed with prior appeals to fear of the decline of our culture and the very real experiences that young folks have had in their family of origin. But the “complementarians” selling point is the magic formula to keep folks from being divorced and their kids from being disasters.

    The two most effective sales appeals you can make are to pride and fear. This teaching appeals to both, in my estimation, and captures many who mean well and desire to please God.

  39. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “Mistakes were made…”
    – standard political spin a la Clinton

    …a la Clinton, Reagan (about selling arms to Iran to finance civil war in Nicaragua), Nixon, and many more. In journalism circles this is called the Divine Passive verb form. No one is responsible. Stuff just occurs.

  40. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    I am not trying to be snarky nor speak ill of Driscoll, but put bluntly, he reminds me more and more of Tony Soprano as time goes by.

    Deja vu.

    From the better years, the glory days of Mars Hill, when Driscoll was still “accountable” to his elders before everything fell in the sewer…

    A sampling of the book table at Mars Hill represents the range of [Driscoll’s] interests: Everything from “The Problem of Pain” by C.S. Lewis to “The Gospel According to Tony Soprano.”

    http://seattletimes.com/pacificnw/2003/1130/cover.html

    _

  41. Rob wrote:

    During my 50 years in the church, I saw this occur a number of times: The pastor gets in trouble, and starts preaching new theology that provides cover for his misconduct.

    At my former church/cult, I used to be in charge of the publications department. I did all the editing and cataloging of recorded sermons. Ugh. After all that happened with him and the discovery (by me) of his penchant for the ‘broken’ women who came to him for counseling, I began to realize that you could tell what stage he was in with the current target and his wife’s tolerance level by how he preached about divorce and women needing to be ‘covered.’

    When he was in the middle of working one of his targets and his wife was suspicious, he would preach that ‘if you are not happy with your spouse, leave them’ Once he got caught and the wife yanked the chain hard (called the ‘accountability partners *shiver*), he would preach the ‘divorce was never acceptable for any reason under any circumstance. At this point, if it weren’t for the untold number of people being damaged by their self-destructive religious dance, it would almost be funny, in a dark sort of way.

    But…I just found out last night that another one of my former church-mates has been sucked into the vortex of leadership there and is now throwing away her integrity for the sake of the ‘church’. I actually am crying over this.

  42. Gram3 wrote:

    The two most effective sales appeals you can make are to pride and fear. This teaching appeals to both, in my estimation, and captures many who mean well and desire to please God.

    This is spot on an explains so much of how good honest Christians get sucked into these cults. In the desire to do better – be who they are told God wants them to be, they fall for the snake-oil and become trapped in a quagmire of fear of leaving (hell is promised to those who leave the chosen church) and a gnawing underlying, and perhaps even unconscious sense that something is wrong.

    Sadly, for most, it takes the evil rot affecting them personally (it was true in my case) before they wake up and see the lie for what it is…..and that is an ongoing detox process – I’m 7 1/2 years out and still fighting the effects of some of their teaching….

  43.   __

    MarzHilz Proverbial AnalGate: “Smelly ‘Religious’ Back-Sided Martial Sequential Action Envisioned?”

    (Filed under heading Mark Driscoll apparently uses religion to corrupt God’s people?)

    “Yes, legally and biblically anal sex is permissible for a married couple, as Scripture does not forbid it” – Mark Driscoll (Real Mariage, p.187) 

    Will this long lost ‘religious’ child ever find his way back ‘home’…?

    hmmm…

    …talk about an elephant in da room?

    hmmm…

    …among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them? They… having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 

    (sadface)

    But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus…

    Sopy
    __
    Comic relief: Led Zeppelin – “Whole Lotta Love?”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uPKcMkH0vw

    ;~)

  44. sam h wrote:

    you’d think was written by an angry klansman than two educated ministers.

    I am not an authority on the klan or on slavery or on history. However, I have heard that baptist preachers (I don’t know what other kind of preachers also) tended to be pro-klan and some were themselves in the klan. As far as I know (rumor) the klan tended to have preachers and doctors and businessmen and whoever, not just the uneducated. And klan membership rolls have been secret.

    So how would we know where these people get these ideas? IMO there are klan and klan-like sympathizers out and around. How do we know what somebody does or what secret memberships he or his daddy or granddaddy held or what. When we first moved to NC we ended up in a county in which was the headquarters of the klan for this area. Not sure how big the area is. Now they have moved to another part of the state. I got obliquely threatened by somebody who wanted me to think the threat was representing the klan. Never knew anybody who admitted Klan membership but always knew it was there. But I did hear (and sometimes overhear) some talk that fits right in with what you have said in your comment.

    I tend to think, if it quacks like a duck…better at least check out its DNA.

  45. Darcyjo wrote:

    If I recall correctly (I used to listen to Rev. Piper’s podcasts), he has at least one adopted child who is African American. And yet, he’s cuddling up to Wilson? Creepy, creepy.

    Here again let me announce my ignorance of Piper and his doings. But about the idea of being racist, I do know a little about that. There is a way of being selectively racist. These people do not consider themselves racist. What they do is differentiate between good (slang deleted) and sorry (slang deleted). What it sounds like when it is said is, “Some of them are good as gold, and some of them are as sorry as they come.” For these people, they think that they are just opposed to certain behaviors to which they object. They do not think that the minute they say “them” based on race in this context, even if what they say is not bad, they still are being racist.

    Now, let me say, I have two grandchildren adopted from China. I do not see them as chinese or as of another race. It would not be accurate to look at my family and make any assumptions as to whether we are or are not racist. It would not be accurate to assume any attitudes on our part even about chinese people. To us they are just our children. How does that happen? I think it is called love, but how it happens I know not. But it is person specific, and external appearance (race) does not seem to have anything to do with it.

    But some people we have run into via support group for adoptive parents and grandparents will go to another country to adopt and/or adopt a child of a different race or ethnicity and then seem to act like the child is more of a mission project than a son or daughter. I can hardly stand to be in the same room with those people. Anyhow, this is an area in which assumptions are apt to be in error.

  46. @ Gram3 & dee:

    The relationship between Piper and Wilson would not be expected in view of Wilson’s troubling teaching on salvation, the church, and gender.

    So speaking of Wilson, did anybody catch that Diary of an Autodidact
    http://fiddlrts.blogspot.com/2013/07/on-domestic-violence-how-conservative.html

    reported last year that, in the same book containing the infamous “colonize and conquer” passage, Wilson denies that AIDS is caused by the HIV virus and recommends women have unprotected sex with their HIV-positive husbands? According to the Autodidact, you can find it via the “Search Inside” function on Amazon on p. 169.

    Frankly, this disturbs me waaaaay more than the stuff about colonizing and pleasuring parties and I’m not sure how it hasn’t gotten any press in the anti-patriarchy blogosphere (at least that I’ve seen).

    [MOD:Edit change link style]

  47. @ Rob:
    Wow, excellent point. That and my biggest grief with Evangelicalism is: it doesn’t foster independent thinking. I both belong to a very publicly striking union right now, and the groupthink, tow the party line feels about the same from either camp.

  48. Gram3 wrote:

    These men desire power over others, but I believe that some of them believe it is power that is beneficial for those they are over. See Dabney on race and gender, for example.

    Dabney as in Stonewall Jackson’s aide & chaplain, considered a foaming racist even by 19th Century Confederate States standards?

  49. Gram3 wrote:

    I wonder if there is a stage Piper would not share with someone male, so long as they were properly hierarchical.

    Paging Mullah Omar…
    Paging Mullah Omar…

  50. Kristin wrote:

    How convenient. “I have no sin to repent of; I just made a mistake.”

    Not “I made a mistake.”

    “Mistakes were made(TM).”

  51. elizabetta carrera wrote:

    Regarding no accountability, just wondering, if you prefer a church to be independent, you will have no accountability. That’s the problem without any kind of hierarchy.

    And it’s also something I noticed during my time in-country in various totally-independent “Christian Fellowships(TM)” back in the Seventies.

    You’d think that such totally-independent Me-and-Jesus-and-Nobody-Else Fellowships(TM) would be totally anarchistic. Well, you did get Cro-Magnon levels of anarchy, but only on the macro level between groups. Within a single group, the pressure for Conformity and Ideological Purity was right up there with the Borg and North Korea. Total groupthink all the way.

  52. sam h wrote:

    when fear mongering is used against a whole race, (one said all arabs/muslims are evil and need to be eliminated) and in light of the horrible crimes jihadists are doing overseas, then you will start to see people in America killing muslims or even people that appear to be of arab descent for no reason except their race, just as what happened after 9/11.

    In a way, it’s a Counter-Jihad.
    A funhouse-mirror reflection of the Jihadis with Faithful and Infidel reversed.
    Like Communism and Objectivism.

  53. I hang around with some friends from Mars Hill Ballard campus, including a community group leader and a ministry intern. The recent firing of a pastor and the resignations of the four elders in response has caused quite an uproar. I know a number of people, both in leadership and out of it who have made the decision to revoke their membership. Many others are questioning. There was a members meeting Wednesday evening, and I know some people wanted to ask questions that those pastors and elders were pushed out for asking. We’re meeting up Tuesday to discuss what went down at the meeting, but I’ll stick to my small gospel-centered church plant thanks. We’ve almost doubled in size, though, thanks to the MH implosion going on. Seattle is a weird place to be right now as a Christian.

  54. Gram3 wrote:

    Another Driscoll mentor is Bruce Ware who is known for saying that females are not created directly in the image of God because the being of females is derived from the being of males.

    Wasn’t Adam, the first man, created from dirt of the ground? Why don’t those fond of male hierarchy make any hay out of that?

  55. Gram3 wrote:

    They fail to acknowledge that the male had exactly as much to do with the female’s creation, i.e. zero, as the female had to do with the male’s creation. It is weird coming from them because of their view of God’s sovereignty and seems to me curiously male-centered rather than God-centered. In their “reasoning”, if God takes stuff from the male which He previously created when He made the male, and forms that stuff into a female, then the female is not created directly by God and is therefore not directly created in His image.

    P.S. Another reason their argument on that basis is ignorant is that there is a portion of the New Testament which mentions…

    1 Cor 11, v 12,
    For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

  56. Gram3

    Can you point me to something that discusses Ware’s relationship with Driscoll? That would make for a fascinating post!

  57. Hester

    I had no idea that Wilson said that abut AIDS. I would love, love, love to get some quotes on that. Let me try that link and see if I can find it.

  58. Hester wrote:

    Wilson denies that AIDS is caused by the HIV virus and recommends women have unprotected sex with their HIV-positive husbands?

    😯

  59. Kate

    Thnak you for your informative comment. I am glad that people are questioning and other people are revoking their membership. Hopefully, all have stopped giving to the machine. Also, glad you used the word “implosion.” I had some guy go after me for using that word, claiming that all is well at Mars Hill.

  60. @ dee:
    Ware has preached at Mars Hill, and both Ware and Grudem are alumni of Western Seminary. My recollection is that Ware along with Piper was involved with Driscoll’s rehabilitation after the Song of Solomon meltdown. That may be incorrect, however, and others have noted, it gets difficult to keep track of Driscoll’s controversies, Piper’s ridiculous tweets and videos and pretty much anything I’ve read of Doug Wilson.

    Hester and HUG,

    Thanks for that link. There was lots of good information there, including the reference to Dabney, who is the theologian of the Reconstructionists along with Rushdoony. Dabney’s defense of Virginia is interesting in view of the present gender debate because he protested that Virginia was slandered by those who said that slaveholders “owned” their slaves. He maintained that slaves had all the rights of their masters and could sue them in Virgina courts, etc.. He said that masters did not own their slaves but only owned the slaves’ involuntary labor. See that distinction by the master Southern logician? Me neither.

    Now, I find Dabney interesting because that argument is essentially the same kind of faulty reasoning employed by the “complementarians.” Whereas Dabney denied that the slaves were not property because the only property interest of the slaveholder was the slaves’ forced labor, the “complementarians” maintain that females are not ontologically inferior but only functionally distinct (meaning subordinate.) At which point they remind us that there are functional distinctions in the Trinity (meaning specifically hierarchy among the persons) and the Son was sent by the Father not vice versa, etc., etc., the clear implication being, “Well, Jesus was subordinate, and you are not better than Jesus, right?” Of course, they equivocate about the Son, failing to distinguish the Eternal Word of John 1 and the incarnate Son, the God-Man Jesus.

    It reminds me of Colbert’s true vs. truthy: Females are equally and stuff, so what’s the big deal?

    Gram3

  61. dee wrote:

    Hester

    I had no idea that Wilson said that abut AIDS. I would love, love, love to get some quotes on that. Let me try that link and see if I can find it.

    On another forum, someone posted that Doug Wilson wrote that the HIV virus is harmless and doesn’t cause AIDS in his book Fidelity: What it Means to be a One-Woman Man.

    Apparently he cites Peter Duesberg who thinks that AIDS is caused by long term recreational drug use by homosexuals and starvation in Africa and that HIV is a harmless virus that takes advantage of a compromised immune system.

  62. Someone ought to get a used copy of the Fidelity book because I also read that he says in that book that child molesters should get the death penalty.

  63. Just a couple more things: I know many young complementarians, and I believe that every one I know is convinced that this is God’s good design and they desire to honor Him. I hope that they begin to re-examine the belief system and compare it to Scripture and not put so much untested trust in their leaders.

    Something else on Dabney parallels: He cited the atheist French revolutionaries for introducing those radical egalitarian ideas into the American culture and wreaking havoc. This I find similar to arguments made today by “complementarian” leaders that we must resist cultural pressure and the feminists who are in rebellion against God’s ordained societal structures, thereby destroying our culture. I don’t mean to demonize Dabney, but I think it is important to try to understand how people like Dabney and his Baptist counterparts got things so very wrong for so long. By doing that, perhaps we might avoid doing likewise.

    Gram3

  64. Darcyjo wrote:

    sam h wrote:

    I have to check everything you guys talk about cause I am from Washington state and have no idea of the people you talk about here so I would like to post this for others that are clueless about who doug Wilson is. its a post of someone that reviewed doug wilsons book. if piper is commending Wilson then not only is pipers theology of women in error but one would have to question his theology of African americans. do any African americans attend pipers church?

    If I recall correctly (I used to listen to Rev. Piper’s podcasts), he has at least one adopted child who is African American. And yet, he’s cuddling up to Wilson? Creepy, creepy.

    thanks for responding to my question darcyjo.

    don’t want to sound cynical but here in the center of Washington state its rural and we have many people that adopted African girls as their good Christian duty and they went to the schools no problem. never any African boys though because “those boys might grow up and want to date our white daughters” it lets them appear to be non racist and Christian. African American males still are highly persuaded to not live in this area. its not the big citys so much but the rural areas. wonder if one of pipers daughters (if he has any) would be allowed to date an African American Christian man. or if his sons have African American friends over to the house.

  65. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    I already had “Joe the Georgian” (now one of my favorite songs) pulled up on YouTube!
    Most appropos:
    “And he steered us through the shadows upon an angry tide
    And cast us one by one over the side.”

  66. I watched the clip above in which the gospel gangster sounds more godfather like than ever as he discusses the “why” of executing those who get in the way of his climb for power. What disturbed me more than his smug vindictiveness was the humble prayers that followed in the rest of the clip. I realized how the undiscerning naive sheeples would be taken in by the contrite tones, the teary emotional “I’m a worm and so unworthy” prayers and overlook reality.

    The fact that Piper will go on with his misogynist war on women, propping up the soulless hardcore spiritual bully gangster Driscoll at the same time and have conferences praying onstage in the most self deprecating tones possible. I see it all as the grooming of victims while spiritual perpetrators gain power, influence and oppress those with less power. All of this, is not new. I grew up in the shepherding movement were spiritual leaders took incredible and abusive liberties with their followers. If someone got too rough in their abusive ways a tearful repentant sounding prayer for show “I’m so imperfect, sometimes the burden of being so special spiritually causes me to snap, forgive me for my humaneness” and then they point out Luther had a temper and brewed beer to put in context their small imperfection. None of this is new, its just a regurgitation of abuses of power, and the twisting of scripture to oppress and a group of good ole boys promulgating why men are so special and women aren’t

    Lastly, I heard the argument “order of creation” dictates that since men were created before women and women were created as “the help” males are the only ones designated to more authority in home or church. Complementarians fail to mention God created both man and woman in his image. And if order of creation were relevant the panda came before man, so did the pig and cow.
    While abuse of power is the predominate issue with Driscoll I find it interesting when men of influence experience Driscoll dismissing them, they are only experiencing the way all females will experience complementarian doctrines. Its enough to make me rethink having anything to do with organized church, although I remain a devout follower of Christ

  67. Mars Hill, who tapes their services, apparently didn’t have enough people smiling and appearing to love the service so they sent them an email on how they should be looking while worshipping.
    https://www.facebook.com/stuffchristianculturelikes/posts/10152895738548782
    snip-excerpts
    “This email went out on April 28, 2014, from Mars Hill pastor Dave Fairchild to Mars Hill members only.
    When we sing, we must understand that doing so has two very important dimensions: Godward & outward. Arms folded, lips still, looking around, disengaged, is hardly what God has in mind for a people filled with His Spirit, transformed by His grace, who are gathered to bring glory and worship to Him. It discourages one another to see people around you so distracted and seemingly detached from the truths we’re declaring through song. We’re called to “consider one another as greater than ourselves,” and to, “spur one another to love and good works.” Singing is the soundtrack for biblical truth. We don’t leave singing the sermon, but we do leave singing the songs. So let’s get into them. Passivity has no place and temperance is not appropriate if we truly believe what is preached. Men, if you’re not leading as an example of praise with the freedom to sing boldly, your family will follow. Set the tone by praying before you gather, serving others while there, listening intently (not checking out your social media) and singing with passion and vigor. God’s church has always been a singing church.
    What if I don’t like the song or style? Doesn’t matter. Sunday isn’t about having our preferences served, it’s about blessing and serving the living God. A sign of maturity is the ability to go into any context, foreign, traditional, contemporary or Mars Hill and sing with God’s people. If we’re coming to consume then we’ll be disappointed at what we didn’t get, but if we’re coming to serve and bless, our hearts will be engaged and oriented towards outwardly.
    We’re having an elder meeting tonight and we’ll be sure to pray for our church in each of these 3 areas.

    Much love in Christ,
    Pastor David”

  68. who is chris seay?
    I read this cause I was wondering what you guys were talking about Sopranos- they really did a thing on sopranos? is this tongue in cheek, or for reals?
    online comment-
    “Can you point to Chris Seay’s public statement? I never saw that – I remember meeting Chris when he came by the earl street building on his “Gospel According to Tony Soprano” book tour – I’d already lead a Sopranos film and theology discussion and it was such a great evening getting to hang and talk Gospel, story, and film.”

  69. The easiest way to find the Doug Wilson quote on AIDS is to search for “Peter Duesberg.” Wilson quotes him in Fidelity on the page I indicated. Duesberg is a well known AIDS denialist, also popular with Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association. http://www.afa.net/Blogs/BlogPost.aspx?id=2147516096

    Yep, the recognized hate group AFA. Denialism is popular among those who consider AIDS to be God’s personal judgment on homosexuals. Unsurprising.

  70. sam h wrote:

    who is chris seay?

    Chris Seay is one of the main pastors from the GenX/”emerging church” movement that began in the mid-1990s. He is at Ecclesia Church in Houston, where he serves as Senior Pastor. He did a lot of writing and conference speaking for the emerging/Emergent movement, including a series and a book on The Gospel According to Tony Soprano.”

    Some of the main men [note: no women in top leadership rung until later, as best I can recall] in this Young Leaders Network (which was sponsored back then by Leadership Network, but eventually went on its own and became Emergent Village) and the related Urban Leaders Network were Chris Seay, Mark Driscoll, Doug Pagitt, Mark Scandrette, Andrew Jones, Evan Lauer, Rudy Carrasco, Dan Kimball, and a few others. A lot of church planters, church-within-a-church GenX pastors, and urban community development leaders.

    Perhaps the best historical source for that movement from its origins up until it became Emergent Village is: *In Search of Authentic Faith: How Emerging Generations Are Transforming the Church* (2001). Would be intriguing to go back to that book now and see what’s happened with various main people.

    http://www.amazon.com/Search-Authentic-Faith-Generations-Transforming/dp/1578563194/

  71. Oh my lands! You always make me laugh. Then, when I stop, I see how on target you are! Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:

    I wonder if there is a stage Piper would not share with someone male, so long as they were properly hierarchical.

    Paging Mullah Omar…
    Paging Mullah Omar…

  72. Daisy wrote:

    @ Marsha:
    SPLC is too far left and agenda driven to be trusted as an accurate source
    DOD to Continue Using Liberal Southern Poverty Law Center as Training Resource

    IS fighting discrimination and violence against minorities “left”? NO. But since a lot of the violence comes from right-wing fringe groups, people like Daisy think that opposition to those groups makes one a lefty. I for one, do not like anyone who advocates for or commits violence, and I do not care whether they are right or left, up or down. And anyone willing to risk their well-being to stand up for those Jesus called the “least” among us, deserves support and not approbation, regardless of whether they are right or left — they are following the command of Jesus in Matthew 25.

  73. @ brad/futuristguy:

    Brad I think that the kind of analyses you do of these situations are so important in helping to see how the bigger, & often unseen, picture drives the everyday stuff that we see. It really helps me appreciate where the motivation for actions comes from & just where their so-called Biblical values are actually coming from. Good stuff.

  74. An Attorney wrote:

    IS fighting discrimination and violence against minorities “left”? NO. But since a lot of the violence comes from right-wing fringe groups, people like Daisy think that opposition to those groups makes one a lefty.

    I agree what you are saying, if I understand correctly that the issue should not be right vs left but rather right vs wrong. If that is what you are saying then count me in.

    However, in our town most of the violence (aside from personal issues–domestic and such) originates in identifiable groups which are already “minority” in makeup. We have proliferating minority teen gangs with lots of gang-on-gang violence, property destruction, and criminal activity such as prostitution and drugs and theft. The fight, apparently, over territory and over money and allegiances, and over control within the gang structure and they fight gangs of opposite ethnicity seemingly because of the racial and ethnic difference, and sometimes it looks like they fight just to keep in practice and to ground (the electrical term) some of the testosterone. We also have loosely associated girl gangs with girl fights actually on campus. What I hear, the males fight for dominance but the females are much worse and far more violent.

    Repeat, sometimes they fight over racial and ethnic differences, or so their threats and terminology seem to indicate.

    We have not had any violent anti-semitism, or violent anti-this or that ethnicity, or public demonstrations or street corner rhetoric initiated by any “right-wing” groups in just about forever that I know of. There may be cases where right wing fringe groups are perpetrating the bulk of the violence against minority groups, but that is not the case here by any means. Around here they are doing it to themselves by engaging in other criminal activities, and by ethnic rivalry itself between the two major ethnic minorities here abouts.

    Surely we are not saying that if the violence is minority against minority violence that is OK, as in who cares, but if some people in the majority group hold opinions we oppose (like the defense of marriage folks, for example-referencing the article Daisy cited) then that is dangerous beyond all reality and far worse than what is actually going on? If that is what is being said, then it seems to be off balance.

  75. @ Daisy:
    Daisy, your sources are incredibly biased. I suggest actually reading the SPLC entries on poor, misunderstood FR(free)C. They aren’t on their for fighting against gay marriage – sorry, for traditional marriage – but for the vile hateful lies they spew about gay people in their advocacy against anything that might make gay people’s lives remotely more pleasant. You know, like anti discrimination laws, anti bullying campaigns (apparently, it’s disgusting to try to keep LGBT children from suicide due to the vicious bullying they often face by assuring them it gets better), ending DADT, or allowing gay men to serve openly in the Boy Scouts (because apparently out gay men are more likely to be child molesters and have tried to infiltrate the Scouts in the past for this purpose). Let me repeat, they make up vile slanders that continue the glorious tradition of slimming gay people as dirty, dangerous predators out to recruit your sons and daughters via propaganda and rape.

    You know who isn’t listed as a hate group who comes down on the same side of most of the political issues as FRC? The Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Republican Party, and the Southern Baptist Convention, and thousands of other groups who somehow manage not to cross over into loudly, publicly, and repeatedly accusing gay people of being sneaking child molesters who deserve no comfort for being tormented as children by God fearing peers and teachers who are just trying to torture the gay out of them.

  76. Not related to this story but important. I haven’t read all the posts so I hope nobody else has posted this link. Christian radio personality John Balyo was arrested for sexually assaulting a young boy. This arrest appears to be related to a sex trafficking case that Homeland Security was working on. I’m hoping more will be known as it sounds really ugly. Not sure if I copied the link correctly.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2014/06/wcsg_radio_personality_was_at.html

  77. @ Wisdomchaser:
    Thanks for sharing the link to this news. Saw it yesterday on my Facebook feed. It’s an epidemic! We have got to stand together for the children who are being victimized.

  78. sam h wrote:

    Mars Hill, who tapes their services, apparently didn’t have enough people smiling and appearing to love the service so they sent them an email on how they should be looking while worshipping.
    https://www.facebook.com/stuffchristianculturelikes/posts/10152895738548782
    snip-excerpts
    “This email went out on April 28, 2014, from Mars Hill pastor Dave Fairchild to Mars Hill members only.
    When we sing, we must understand that doing so has two very important dimensions: Godward & outward. Arms folded, lips still, looking around, disengaged, is hardly what God has in mind for a people filled with His Spirit, transformed by His grace, who are gathered to bring glory and worship to Him. It discourages one another to see people around you so distracted and seemingly detached from the truths we’re declaring through song. We’re called to “consider one another as greater than ourselves,” and to, “spur one another to love and good works.” Singing is the soundtrack for biblical truth. We don’t leave singing the sermon, but we do leave singing the songs. So let’s get into them. Passivity has no place and temperance is not appropriate if we truly believe what is preached. Men, if you’re not leading as an example of praise with the freedom to sing boldly, your family will follow. Set the tone by praying before you gather, serving others while there, listening intently (not checking out your social media) and singing with passion and vigor. God’s church has always been a singing church.
    What if I don’t like the song or style? Doesn’t matter. Sunday isn’t about having our preferences served, it’s about blessing and serving the living God. A sign of maturity is the ability to go into any context, foreign, traditional, contemporary or Mars Hill and sing with God’s people. If we’re coming to consume then we’ll be disappointed at what we didn’t get, but if we’re coming to serve and bless, our hearts will be engaged and oriented towards outwardly.
    We’re having an elder meeting tonight and we’ll be sure to pray for our church in each of these 3 areas.
    Much love in Christ,
    Pastor David”

    See, having been in a small and reserved Anglican church for almost two decades I actually find it more distracting when people are raising their hands and doing other ‘charismatic’ things while singing. But that’s just because it’s not what I’m used to. No particular way of acting during singing is better or worse. I’d find it quite insulting to receive a message like this, as if my singing wasn’t as worthwhile as someone else’s because I appear ‘passive’. And having done more than a decade as a song leader I’m pretty sure I did more than my fair share of encouraging and spurring on through song.

  79. Paula wrote:

    Guess I’m starting to feel pretty frustrated. Maybe that’s for a reason idk. But I’m getting close to needing to do something thats more in line with what I believe because frankly, I’m not finding it. I’m not even hearing of it in my neck of the woods. Hopefully I’m not the only one weary in the wastelands of all this. And hopefully this is pointing to a time of preparation for something new to spring forth. And maybe we are those seeds. Maybe we are those plants.

    Loved this, Paula!

  80. @ Deb:
    Yes, the victims are the ones was need to pray for and protect. I do not understand this epidemic (and that is what it is). It seems like there has been an extreme upsurge in this ugliness in the church. I feel like we should be doing more but I’m not sure what yet.

  81. Gram3 wrote:

    Ware has preached at Mars Hill, and both Ware and Grudem are alumni of Western Seminary. My recollection is that Ware along with Piper was involved with Driscoll’s rehabilitation after the Song of Solomon meltdown. That may be incorrect, however, and others have noted, it gets difficult to keep track of Driscoll’s controversies, Piper’s ridiculous tweets and videos and pretty much anything I’ve read of Doug Wilson.

    As I recall, I believe it was John Piper and C.J. Mahaney that swooped in to ‘mentor’ Mark Driscoll in the wake of the SOS debacle. I remember John MacArthur criticizing Driscoll and calling attention to the Piper/Mahaney mentorship of Driscoll. Looks like that was a HUGE success! 🙄

    I don’t know much about Western Seminary, so I have done some checking… According to the Wikipedia article, Bruce Ware and Mark Driscoll are alumni. However, Wayne Grudem received a degree from Westminster Seminary, not Western. 😉

  82. Gram3 wrote:

    He cited the atheist French revolutionaries for introducing those radical egalitarian ideas into the American culture and wreaking havoc.

    I will have to check that out. I have some ancestors who fled France during France’s revolutionary times. I have no idea how many French people did that or what their predominant ideas would have been. My ancestors were catholic and fleeing the persecution of the catholic church during the revolution.

  83. __

    Q. With such a MD stated lax sexual congregational  environment, how many active church going Mars Hill members possibly have been exposed to hiv/aids? Should that question present some growing church concern there today?

  84. @ Deb:
    Oy, of course. Grudem is not Driscoll, the topic of the post for crying out loud! I should never work off of raw memory, ever. And I have Grudem and Ware so closely associated in my mind that they have become somewhat mentally conjoined. Dispies (Western) are not the same as Covies (Westminster) are not the same as Mahanies and Wilsonies (no seminary required), except when it comes to gender. Then it’s all kumbaya. 🙂

  85. Diary

    Unsurprising to those of us who follow this stuff. Unfortunately, there will be people in the church who say “Did you hear that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS? Its been proven. This is a conspiracy.” 

  86. Gram3 wrote:

    the Son was sent by the Father not vice versa, etc., etc.,

    This hierarchy of procession is apparently a part of both catholic and orthodox belief, from what research I have done at this point. That the Word (Jesus) proceeded from the Father, and that the Spirit proceeded from both the Father and the Son (catholic) or only from the Father (orthodox). The details of this as to from whom did the Spirit proceed was one of the irreconcilable differences at the time of the Great Schism.

    So far it seems that the answer to “is there hierarchy in the Trinity?” according to catholic teaching, is yes and no, depending on what you mean by hierarchy. They seem to have complex and nuanced answers, which is one of the things I love about catholicism. And quotes from ante-Nicene fathers as well as others, some of which seem more applicable than others. But I am not where I really understand the more complicated issues and arguments that they address. Yet. I plan to work on it. And I still have research to do about any official positions that any other church groups actually have, and what their reasoning may be. And miles to go to read a lot more about what the church teaches on this.

    At this point, I do not think we can be influenced by current cultural ideas and then reference ancient creation stories and hope to come to a meeting of the minds. Those two viewpoints are too far apart. I think first one has to decide what is the role of the scripture and how is it to be understood, what is the role of the authority of the church if any, and what is the role of scientific findings in basically undercutting much of the religious understanding of the creation stories themselves. And that does not even address the procession issue. Well, that ought to keep folks busy for a while.

    For my part as I have said, my educational background is in science and not religion mostly, I love to death lots and lots about catholicism but I am not a catholic, and at my age I will probably not live to answer even a fraction of the issues I would like to address.

  87. @ Nancy:
    I don’t think that all of the French seeking equality were atheists. Actually, I know next to zero about the French revolution and have no French ancestry. IIRC (and it was a long time ago that I read Dabney in an entirely different context), Dabney characterized them as atheists. I believe that he was attempting to discredit the idea of equality by ascribing it to godlessness.

    Many if not all of his writing is available online (or used to be), so it should be easy to check it. He wrote a lot besides his systematic theology, but few ever read beyond that well-known work.

    Gram3

  88. @ Jeannette Altes:

    “At my former church/cult, I used to be in charge of the publications department….the discovery (by me) of his penchant for the ‘broken’ women who came to him for counseling,…”
    ++++++++++++++++

    is he still pastor of this church?

  89. @ Gram3:

    Actually, I'm glad you shared that info. It led me to look into Western Seminary, which I knew absolutely nothing about. I saw some familiar names listed in their faculty directory, and they have set up shop at Driscoll's church.  The joint arrangement was announced last December on the Mars Hill website. (see excerpt below)

    In addition, Western Seminary will offer an M.A. and M.Div. program hosted at Mars Hill Church Bellevue, taught by seminary professors from Western while in the context of a local church.

    “Since Western Seminary and Mars Hill share a commitment to equip others to be agents of gospel-centered transformation, partnering to offer seminary training to and through the extensive Mars Hill network is a strategic opportunity to experience the power of God-honoring synergy. We eagerly look forward both to working more closely with our friends at Mars Hill and to the spiritual fruit that the Lord will produce through our collaboration,” shares Randy Roberts, D.Min., President and Professor of Spiritual Formation at Western Seminary.

    Here is Mark Driscoll talking about his 'great training' at Western Seminary. 

  90. @ Beakerj:

    Thanks for the affirmation, Beakerj. For what it’s worth, in general, I wonder if it’s easier to grasp the complexity of these kinds of situations when we back up some and look at the bigger picture of who is involved, how, and why — and therefore can better pinpoint how leaders and systems that are clearly abusive keep being perpetuated, and thus consider ways to destabilize or dislodge those props.

    And on this situation in particular, I keep thinking that these “commender” players — both individuals and organizations — are where some of the push-back has to happen. They’ve acted in an odd sort of “apostolic” role by recommending to everyone their friends / collaborators / authors / convention speakers, based on their own personal or organizational reputation when the individuals thusly recommended could not carry that level of trustworthiness or authority on their own reputation.

    The past few days, I’ve been reflecting on “conventional” activist approaches from the pre-digital era, and how things have changed because the internet, social media, etc., give us new kinds of tools to challenge the old-style power brokers like celebrity leaders and publishing houses and non-profit organizations. They used to more or less control the availability of information and influence, and, therefore, power. Couple these tools with some significant trends that amplify a more “populist power.” For instance, coming to fruition are trends in the growth of various survivor movements (such as spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, sexual harassment), and interlinking between different movements where there are parallel problems with abusive *systems*, and vast increases in relatively careful documentation of individual accounts plus better analysis of these multiple accounts for broader patterns.

    I believe there is the possibility of new kinds or qualities of push-back now, given the higher level of documentation and testimonies available on many leaders and commenders (and their organizations) who face allegations of abusive behaviors and supporting abusers. For instance, it is far easier to make credibly researched statements like: “We do not see these individuals or institutions as representing Christlikeness, and here is why …” or “We do not see this individual as trustworthy to be a public leader in or spokesperson for the Church. Here is why we believe he/she is disqualified from those roles …” Far stronger *evidence-based opinions* are now possible — even though we can expect The Usual Silencing Tactics like, “That’s your opinion” and “That’s gossip” and “Don’t touch the Lord’s anointed” and “This is just more fauxrage/baseless outrage.” Also, online media/news sites are looking to citizen journalist bloggers for primary sources (eye-witness news and personal accounts) and secondary sources (analysis of news and testimonies).

    The big picture of “power dynamics” in the Church is changing, perhaps radically, given such trends and new tools. So, I suspect some unexpected kinds of push-back will be instigated in the near future … but I’ll hold off on speculating about or describing them until the timing seems closer to when they’ll be used.

  91. @ Sopwith:

    With such a MD stated lax sexual congregational environment, how many active church going Mars Hill members possibly have been exposed to hiv/aids?

    Good question. And since Doug Wilson clearly doesn’t have a problem pawning off pedophiles on unsuspecting college students, you think he’s gonna tell someone that their perfect Christian NSA student suitor has HIV? *crickets*

  92. Deb wrote:

    It led me to look into Western Seminary, which I knew absolutely nothing about.

    Here is more than you may care to know about WS and Gerry Breshears, the professor who heads their department that issued Driscoll his masters degree, whose only published work in the past decade is allegedly the book he “co-authored” with Driscoll:

    http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/search?q=breshears
    |

  93. Hi everyone, has this link already been discussed? It looks awfully familiar to what MD says:

    returnofkings.com

  94. @ Daisy: Daisy, they still do very good work, and their roots in the Civil Rights movement alone give them credibility.

    They are not at all far left.

    It helps to know about what they have done, and what they still do. There’s still a need for someone to call attention to racist hate groups, and they do. In fact, they include black separatist/racist groups in their listings.

    Just because you disagree with them on LGBTQ issues, that’s no reason to make the exaggerated claims that are in your post.

    [/end rant]

  95. Re: Doug Wilson and AIDS,

    If I remember correctly, he made reference to some book titled Inventing The AIDS Virus. Can’t remember if it was written by Duesberg or not. As far as married Christians dealing with exposure to STDs, I would be more concerned with recent reports about the prevalence of chlamydia, syphilis, and a possible “super-gonorrhea” that will be next to impossible to treat. Not too much longer before we’ll have to be educating our older kids about this stuff…

  96. @ Daisy: OK, enough already.

    Are you familiar with the databases on their site, what groups they track, and why? If not, maybe you could take a good long look. (Ignore the LGBTQ stuff and focus on the rest.) They really *are* a great organization.

  97. Marsha wrote:

    On another forum, someone posted that Doug Wilson wrote that the HIV virus is harmless and doesn’t cause AIDS in his book Fidelity: What it Means to be a One-Woman Man.

    Remember this is the same guy that defends the Confederate States, especially their Peculiar Institution regarding Animate Property.

    And it sounds like a cult leader whose trying to work up the courage to play the field — like “a penchant for ‘broken’ women who came to him” and his “Kirk”.
    1) One of the reasons for founding a cult is so the cult leader can get laid.
    2) Didn’t the Godly Confederate Planters take sexual advantage of their Animate Property? (With any issue of such unions pure profit for the owner?)
    3) And if AIDS is caused by God’s Curse on HOMOSEXUALS and not HIV virus, then I, as God’s Speshul Anointed, can’t possibly catch it!

    I see a Sex Scandal in this preacher-man’s future.

  98. numo wrote:

    Just because you disagree with them on LGBTQ issues, that’s no reason to make the exaggerated claims that are in your post.

    Unpronounceable issues always bring out the Bad Craziness.
    Nothing unhinges the mind like the Unpronounceables.

    (Why “unpronounceable”? You ever tried to pronounce “LGBTQ” as a word?)

  99. @ Gram3: The church was hand-in-glove with the state in France, and far too many clerics and bishops lived off the poor. (Both the clerics who came from the aristocracy and those who didn’t.)

    pre-revolutionary France had to have been a horrible place to live unless you were either a) a wealthy male aristocrat or b) very far from Paris, or both.

    I do know that during the Reign of Terror, there was persecution – just as there were many, many executions. (which is why it’s called “the Reign of Terror,” after all.) But by no means were all revolutionaries angry atheists. I would be willing to bet that people who were abused and commonly referred to as “canaille” (cattle) by those of higher social classes got more than a little out of control … as so often happens when a government is violently overthrown. I can also imagine that the people who were poorest and most abused were the most likely to strike back, but I’m also sure that there were upwardly mobile types who used the revolution and the social unrest it caused to further their own well-being (taking over estates and money and belongings of the aristocracy and more).

  100. Marie2 wrote:

    Hi everyone, has this link already been discussed? It looks awfully familiar to what MD says:
    returnofkings.com

    Okay, that was a mistake. (exits, looking for brain bleach….)

  101. @ sam h:
    Pastor David wrote, “our hearts will be engaged and oriented towards outwardly.”
    Say what? :0
    Jesus’ translation, I suppose: “that they may be seen of men”. (Matt 23:5)

  102. Headless Unicorn Guy said:

    “I see a Sex Scandal in this preacher-man’s future.”

    I’m surprised that hasn’t happened before now. Given his preaching history, what he wrote in Real Marriage, and reports of out-of-control Alpha Male behavior in general, I’m sorry to say that I would actually be surprised if he really did stay faithful to Grace for the remainder of their marriage. I sincerely hope he does, for multiple reasons, but I wouldn’t want to count on it.

  103. @ Marie2:

    I think I’m going to be ill. Have you actually read any of these articles yet? I am afraid to. What is wrong with these supposedly Christian men?

  104. @ Wisdomchaser:
    I went and looked at the return of kings about page. Nothing Christian there or that shows they even remotely believe in God. I think they are just a bunch of misogynistic men with the maturity level of 12 year olds. I’m sure there are many Christian men who would agree with what they have to say, except maybe the evolution stuff. Unless it’s a satire page which is what I am hoping. I honestly think it’s not a satire page.

  105. numo wrote:

    Just because you disagree with them on LGBTQ issues, that’s no reason to make the exaggerated claims that are in your post.

    I did not make exaggerated claims about them. They are very far left, and as I said, have the tendency to pass off any group that is mainstream conservative as being “hate groups.” There was no need to go on a rant. I said nothing offensive.

  106. @ An Attorney:

    Sometimes people on the far left take mainstream groups who are conservative and pass them off as being “hate groups.” That would include the SPLC.

    By the way, almost any time someone engages in a public shooting, the mainstream media (which tilts left) almost always rushes to the faulty conclusion that the shooter is right wing, but they almost always turn out to be left wing.

    Left wing groups will categorize anyone who disagrees with homosexuality or homosexual marriage, for example, as being bigots or belonging to hate groups, when they are no such thing.

  107. @ numo:

    FBI Dumps Southern Poverty Law Center As A Hate Crime Resource
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/03/26/FBI-Dumps-Southern-Poverty-Law-Center

    Where the FBI has found hate crimes and hate groups declining significantly in the past ten years, SPLC claims hate groups have increased 67.3% since 2000.

    Where once SPLC’s hate list was reserved for groups like the Aryan Nation and the KKK, in 2010 SPLC started citing as hate groups those Christian groups that oppose same-sex marriage or believe homosexuality is not inborn, or are otherwise critical of homosexuality. Among the Christian groups targeted by SPLC was FRC.

  108. Daisy wrote:

    @ burnrnorton:

    Sorry, but SPLC is incredibly biased itself. I don’t trust them or their reports on various groups.

    Daisy, read the report. Read the CNN reports and other mainstream sources they link to. Listen to the vile disgusting interview FRCs own Tony Perkins did with Janet Mefferd last year, linked from the SPLC site. Read the FRCs own reports and speeches. They are a hateful organization that employs lying toads like Tony Perkins who, among his other accomplishments, was buying mailing lists from David Duke. You think they’re far left because CNS and World net daily say so. But theven Antigay hate groups listed on their site are shameless purveyors of hateful lies and slanders and I knew that before I knew about the SPLC designation because I’d already read their words. Sorty, but you don’t get your own set of facts because of your political or religious views.

  109. This page mentions not only conservative criticism of SPLC, but in the last couple years, the SPLC has been under criticism from some left wingers as well:
    http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/17741-anti-christian-hate-group-splc-becoming-increasingly-discredited

    As to my link above, an update: one conservative site said that the FBI removed the SPLC link from its site but still has a troubling, unofficial association with the group (from Hot Air):

    The FBI isn’t breaking up with the SPLC — it’s just not keeping the relationship “official”

    …Of course, the FBI shouldn’t be working with the SPLC at all. In addition to the SPLC’s influence on the gunman who attacked the Family Research Council’s headquarters in 2012, their definition of “hate groups” is far more expansive than the FBI’s definition of a “hate crime” [they cite examples on their site]

    … now it [public association with SPLC by FBI] will be done away from the public’s eye. So rather than a break-up, it looks like the relationship has simply become more clandestine. This is not good for transparency, especially given the other far-left groups the FBI has partnerships with.

    [MOD:Edit link format changed]

  110. @ burnrnorton:

    Please read some of the links I’ve put on this page. Thank you.

    You said, “You think they’re far left because CNS and World net daily say so.”

    I do not recall posting any links to WND about SPLC. But that is the genetic fallacy at work. As long as the information is accurate and true, the source of it should not make a big difference.

    I have too often seen liberals try to cast Tea Party members or “pro family” groups as being violent militants not because they truly are, but because leftist groups hate the values of these people. This is true of the SPLC as well.

    SPLC is not interested in defending the undertrodden, they are interested in lining their pockets with donor money, from what I have read, and so they hype non-threats as being threats to get more donations.

  111. burnrnorton wrote:

    Sorty, but you don’t get your own set of facts because of your political or religious views.

    It looks to me you’re the one doing that, not me.

  112. @ elastigirl:
    Like SGM? Yes and no….

    They are Word of Faith with shepherding/covering theology mixed in. The are stand alone and unaffiliated. The ‘Sr’ pastor has no training and became pastor about 27 years ago (from what I have been told by those who were there, it was by force) and only 6 years after he got saved. He pretends to have accountability through the BOD, but it is made up of family. He claims accountability to various ‘celeb’ pastors within WoF, but when called, they claimed no authority over him.

    Many of the male leaders he has around him are also abusers – like attracts like and covers each other’s backsides. And he has taken women who have come to him for help that were in or just coming out of abusive relationships (and thus vulnerable to a narcissistic manipulator disguised as a pastor) and used what he learned in those sessions to manipulate and take advantage of at least 3 women that I know concretely and several more that are just probable. And when his wife gets tired of the current target, she confronts the woman, then shuts it down and calls the ‘celebs’ to chew him out and begins then orchestrates the cover-up which includes intimidating and trying to run the woman out of town…and lying about what happened to paint it as the women was the pretator.

    And I knew none of this while I was there. Learned of one incident that propelled me out and learned the rest after I left.

  113. @ Daisy: @ burnrnorton:

    I'm afraid we've gotten WAY off topic, and this is my attempt to get the discussion back on track.

    For what it's worth, I'm not a fan of Southern Poverty Law Center or The Family Research Council. They each have their biases. Thanks for your cooperation. 😉

  114. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Jeannette Altes:
    you’ve mentioned it was cult-like. as in sgm?

    Non-denominational Word o’Faith. You can have a successful life! You can always go higher! Pastor studied under Cope-n-Hagin. Big on “Obey your pastor!”.

  115. @ burnrnorton:

    A second P.S. I don’t need the media to tell me if a group is anti-conservative due to that group having a liberal bias. I’m capable of picking up on that myself.

    You’d also have to define the word “hateful” for me. You kept using that word in your post. I am dubious of your understanding of the word “hateful” or how you define it here.

    We are now living in a society that deems mere disagreement over a topic as being “hateful.”

    One can no longer “agree to disagree” but is expected to give one’s full, unhesitant approval to other people’s behaviors or choices.

    In today’s culture, to use an example, if someone merely disagrees with homosexuality (the behavior) or with the legalization of homosexual marriage – they disagree with it, but they harbor no malice towards homosexuals, they do not physically harm homosexual people nor advocate for that sort of thing – but simply hold a view point about the topic – they get tarred with the labels “homophobe,” “bigot,” “hater” or “anti gay.” They also get harassed out of employment, too, in some cases.

    There is a guy who visits this very site regularly who regularly refers to Christians such as Janet Mefferd as “anti gay.” (I asked him about that a time or two. I don’t know if he ever answered.)

    I’ve listened to Mefferd’s show a lot the last couple of years. I don’t agree with her on all issues, but she does not sound like a hateful person to me. She holds to conservative, Christian views on many subjects.

    Mefferd has said on her show she disagrees with homosexual marriage, but she does not hate homosexuals themselves, yet some guy on this blog keeps referring to her as being “anti gay.”

    One guy (Floyd Lee Corkins) was motivated by SPLC’s coverage of the FRC to do FRC members harm – he actually went to a FRC building with a firearm with that intent.

  116. Daisy wrote:

    burnrnorton wrote:

    Sorty, but you don’t get your own set of facts because of your political or religious views.

    It looks to me you’re the one doing that, not me.

    Daisy wrote:

    burnrnorton wrote:

    Sorty, but you don’t get your own set of facts because of your political or religious views.

    It looks to me you’re the one doing that, not me.

    Daisy, Tony said what he said and did what he did and so did FRC. You have failed to engage that because it is convenient for you to do so. You often express your pain and anger about the neglect and dismissiveness you have experienced as a single woman in the church, but you don’t seem to understand why the rhetoric and tactics used for decades to support legally and socially sanctioned abuse and marginalization of LGBT is properly termed hateful and is just wrong. These are people who are against a campaign aimed at comforting children who are tormented on a daily basis for being or seeming outside the norm. They are indefensible and they are hateful and they do belong on that list.

  117. @ Marie2:

    Return of Kings is in the manosphere/men’s rights orbit. That “game” thing they’re talking about is basically a way to manipulate women into having sex with you. The people who promote it are called pickup artists (PUAs), and yeah, it’s pretty much hardcore misogyny at its “finest.” Mass shooter Elliott Rodger was connected to this blogosphere, so yeah, if those guys are passing themselves off as Christian, don’t believe them.

    Here’s all the search results for “return of kings” at a well-known anti-MRA blog critiquing their stuff. Warning: crude language from time to time, and NOT trigger-free due to having to address the stuff it’s addressing, so click at your own risk.

    http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/?s=return+of+kings

    The fact that Return of Kings reminded anybody of Mark Driscoll, is terrifying to me in and of itself, without even having to look at what was said. They’re definitely on the antifeminism bandwagon, so I suppose that does technically put them in the same camp as the Botkins. Gah!

    The above link also has an intro post with lots of articles for those new to the manosphere.

    http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2014/05/25/for-new-readers-an-intro-to-the-mens-rights-movement-and-the-new-misogyny/

    Real gems of this movement include claims that mother-son incest is not harmful to children; Slap a Violent B**** Month; and the idea that most rape claims made by women are false and attempts to frame innocent men. What’s really mind-boggling, is that there are Christian MRAs. Not surprisingly, there’s overlap between those guys and the pro-patriarchy blogosphere.

    There’s a reason I don’t allow people who support MRA to comment on my blog.

  118. In other news, Lesley and I spent midsummer day yesterday in the Lake District – which had a better weather forecast than Scotland – doing England’s two highest mountains. My award-winning blog gallery * has been updated (http://godsjobcentrestirling.wordpress.com/gallery/) with a few of the foties. Particularly noteworthy are some exceptional wildlife shots.

    * Winner: Nick Bulbeck Blog Gallery award

  119. Okay, Dee, here’s your money quote. Went on Amazon to find the entire relevant section from Fidelity:

    “Q: A few years after marrying my wife, I was diagnosed with AIDS. I must have contracted it during my pre-conversion promiscuous years. Does this mean I must abstain from sex with my wife for my lifetime? Doesn’t my wife have an obligation to satisfy me sexually, since her body is not her own?

    A: First, the principle. What we have here are conflicting obligations. She does have an obligation to satisfy you sexually, but you have a greater obligation to protect and nourish her. If you cannot have relations with her without endangering her, then you should not have relations. I am afraid I have no sympathy for a man who believes his sexual needs are comparable to his duty to protect his wife. This principle applies to all manner of sexually transmitted diseases.

    Having said this, a few things should be said about AIDS. If by AIDS you mean that the HIV virus is present in your body, then I would refer you to the book Inventing the AIDS Virus by Peter Duesberg.1 It is quite possible that your situation does not warrant abstention from sex at all – but only because the HIV virus is harmless.”

    Citation at bottom of page: “1. Peter Duesberg, Inventing the AIDS Virus (Washington, DC: Regnery, 1996).”

    My thoughts:

    1) If this guy got AIDS from his “pre-conversion promiscuous years,” and has already been married a few years more, his wife probably has it already, and their kids might have it too. Of course Wilson never mentioned that you can transmit it to your kids.

    2) Wilson’s advice here is obviously terribly dangerous and medically delusional/irresponsible.

    3) Given that condom use is an integral part of preventing/reducing HIV/AIDS transmission, is Wilson against birth control on principle? I assume he is. If so, he’s doubly irresponsible.

    4) I repeat my thought upthread that somehow, if Wilson thinks HIV is no big deal, I suspect he wouldn’t feel the need to inform someone if a potential spouse had it. So, triple irresponsibility points for Doug?

  120. @ numo:
    Thanks for filling in that background info, and it makes perfect sense. An alliance between government and religion makes both stronger and more dangerous. I wonder if there are parallels between what happened in France and what Assad has been doing in Syria by exploiting religious and political fear thereby causing strange alliances.

    Of course, Dabney was interested in persuading his audience who were religious, so shaping the facts by ignoring the religious aspects of the French Revolution and arguing as if the idea of equality can only arise from atheists was expedient.

    Gram3

  121. Nancy wrote:

    This hierarchy of procession is apparently a part of both catholic and orthodox belief, from what research I have done at this point.

    At this point I think someone should point out that hierarchy of procession (one of those highly philosophical trinitarian debates that seems largely a waste of time) is not the same thing as hierarchy of function or action, nor is it related to the (heretical and make believe) idea of intra-trinitarian subordination. Despite the filioque clause controversy, Catholic (Western and Eastern), Orthodox, and Protestants would agree that hierarchy of function or intratrinitarian subordination is heresy. As a matter of fact, this was a pretty big deal during the Arianism controversy.

  122. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Fantastic blog! You have quite a talent, although I have to give most of the props to the Guy who created it all 😉

  123. I believe in centuries to come this age will be looked back on (if Christ hasn’t returned by then of course) as the age when the church in the West grew lukewarm and then cold. Why? Because theology and doctrine was exalted, not Christ. Because churches became more about protecting image than protecting the weak and the vulnerable. Because the bottom line became the dollar, not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I also believe, and have done for years, that Mark Driscoll has a serious sex addiction and will eventually come undone in a major sex scandal. I highly doubt that he is faithful to his wife. At the very, very least I wager he has a major porn habit. Strong allegations, I know, but his behaviour and his focus on/ obsession with sex over the years , in my views.

  124. @ brad/futuristguy:
    Absolutely love your analysis. Information can no longer be dispensed or embargoed at the pleasure of the gatekeepers. It has been disintermediated, like so much in my lifetime. Since that results in a real loss of power and money for them, they either dismiss alternate information channels as insignificant, or they issue dire warnings about them, presumably because the alternate channels are significant threats. Consistency is neither required nor desirable when the question is one of economics.

    I’m not a futurist except insofar as human nature does not change, so I look forward to your predictions and analysis.

    Gram3

  125. Daisy–you are correct! Not PC, but correct!

    Paula–love your posts.

    I’m seeing more and more we evangelicals have allowed our churches to be taken over by the money changers. And wondering how long before Jesus overturns their tables again?

    In the meantime, we prepare for the day when conservative but not fundamentalist traditional Christians will be forcibly shown the door of the church.

    Simply, for starters, because we don’t buy enough of the merchandise, which is really what all the seminars and theology changes and music changes and building projects, etc are all about.

    Selling new merchandise. Selling you something you disagree with and don’t want and never heard of, but now they tell you cannot live without.

    Selling. Not a house of prayer. A den of thieves.

  126. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:
    Good points. I missed Nancy’s comment earlier while doing some work.

    I don’t even know what it means to speak of “functions” between and among the persons of the immanent Trinity about which little is revealed. And however one might speculate about those relationships, applying that speculation to human relationships is just really odd to me.

    Although we don’t know much about the pre-Incarnate Trinity, much more has been revealed about the relationship between the incarnate Word and His Father. But I think it is a leap to read that back into the Trinity before the Incarnation.

    A lot of weight is put on the notion of “sending” being equivalent to “ordering” and a human son being under the authority of his father (while the father is alive.) Grudem and Ware take a temporary human relationship and transfer the attributes of that culture-bound relationship to the Trinity!

    Then, they transfer that relationship which they speculatively attribute to the Eternal Father and Eternal Son and transfer it back to human males and human females. By some clever theological alchemy they transform the equality between males and females in Genesis 1:26-28 into a hierarchy which they completely just theologize out of textual ether.

    Not sure how the Holy Spirit fits into this.

    Gram3

  127. May wrote:

    I believe in centuries to come this age will be looked back on (if Christ hasn’t returned by then of course) as the age when the church in the West grew lukewarm and then cold. Why? Because theology and doctrine was exalted, not Christ.

    I get what you’re saying, though I both do, and don’t, agree.

    Part 1 of 2: Agree

    The “resurgence” has indeed been based on an excessive focus on doctrine and theory and, thus, the objectification of Jesus. I think it’s fair to say that in fact the conservative resurgence is hardly any different from the liberal theology against which it is reacting. The love of many has grown cold.

    Part 2 of 2: Disagree

    It may be that the “churches” (plural) are losing ground. But the Church is increasingly breaking free of the stifling claims of a theological oligarchy. For one thing, Nones are no longer anonymous disaffected loners but believers who are steadily finding one another’s company and pursuing the Kingdom together. For another, there have always been and I’m sure always will be, congregations whose denominational label is a misnomer and who love God, one another, and their neighbours as themselves. I’m optimistic that The Church will actually become a lot freer as Jesus builds it with less interference from men building their churches.

  128. linda wrote:

    And wondering how long before Jesus overturns their tables again?

    As the Father sent Jesus, so he has sent his followers. He’s overturning them as we speak. Hence the existence of this blog/community, and others like it.

  129. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    He’s overturning them…

    Er – I meant the tables of the moneychangers, not that he’s overturning his followers.

    What I mean is: Jesus is alive, and is King, and is better at being King than we think; so it’s not all bad.

  130. KatieB wrote:

    I watched the clip above in which the gospel gangster sounds more godfather like than ever as he discusses the “why” of executing those who get in the way of his climb for power. What disturbed me more than his smug vindictiveness was the humble prayers that followed in the rest of the clip. I realized how the undiscerning naive sheeples would be taken in by the contrite tones, the teary emotional “I’m a worm and so unworthy” prayers and overlook reality.

    The fact that Piper will go on with his misogynist war on women, propping up the soulless hardcore spiritual bully gangster Driscoll at the same time and have conferences praying onstage in the most self deprecating tones possible. I see it all as the grooming of victims while spiritual perpetrators gain power, influence and oppress those with less power. All of this, is not new. I grew up in the shepherding movement were spiritual leaders took incredible and abusive liberties with their followers. If someone got too rough in their abusive ways a tearful repentant sounding prayer for show “I’m so imperfect, sometimes the burden of being so special spiritually causes me to snap, forgive me for my humaneness” and then they point out Luther had a temper and brewed beer to put in context their small imperfection. None of this is new, its just a regurgitation of abuses of power, and the twisting of scripture to oppress and a group of good ole boys promulgating why men are so special and women aren’t

    Lastly, I heard the argument “order of creation” dictates that since men were created before women and women were created as “the help” males are the only ones designated to more authority in home or church. Complementarians fail to mention God created both man and woman in his image. And if order of creation were relevant the panda came before man, so did the pig and cow.
    While abuse of power is the predominate issue with Driscoll I find it interesting when men of influence experience Driscoll dismissing them, they are only experiencing the way all females will experience complementarian doctrines. Its enough to make me rethink having anything to do with organized church, although I remain a devout follower of Christ

    love this post

  131. Dave A A wrote:

    @ sam h:
    Pastor David wrote, “our hearts will be engaged and oriented towards outwardly.”
    Say what? :0
    Jesus’ translation, I suppose: “that they may be seen of men”. (Matt 23:5)

    yep ya nailed it!

  132. KatieB wrote:

    I watched the clip above in which the gospel gangster sounds more godfather like than ever as he discusses the “why” of executing those who get in the way of his climb for power.

    Love it… “gospel gangster”…says it all!

  133. I would say the following passage applies to Driscoll:

    14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. (James 3)

    It sure sounds like Mark Driscoll has “selfish ambition” as a motive then pure motives.

  134. @ Gram3:
    A lot of it is related to former beliefs in absolute monarchy, the divine right of kings, and church being largely inseparable from state. AFAIK, France didn’t have anything like England’s parliament prior to the revolution.

    One of the reasons for the ongoing controversies in France re. banning of certain religious symbols (includes distinctive clothing) comes from the prep revolutionary period. There’s a strong belief/ethic that the state should be entirely secular, which (imo) is a good thing, but their spin on it is different than ours.

  135. someone was asking about the 5 senses worship thing, don’t know if this is what you meant but I ran across this

    Mark Driscoll Quotes

    Everything in the service needs to preach–architecture, lighting, songs, prayers, fellowship, the smell–it all preaches. All five senses must be engaged to experience God.
    Source here on the Internet. Dated: 1999.
    See also Is this scriptural?
    http://www.zedekiahlist.com/cgi-bin/quotes.pl?&id=88132440
    their source link didn’t go anywhere, don’t know if it got scrubbed or my puter is tired.

  136. @ Gram3: the Assad family are part of a religious minority themselves (they are Alawites – sorry, can’t post link from phone) and have perfected the “art” of pitting groups against each other so that opposition to their regime is divided.

  137. Probably a bit off topic, but regardless of what you think of the SPLC, the American Family Association’s designation as a hate group is pretty well earned.

    Just recently, they called for the harassment of clerks and other low level employees who said “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas.” They called for the arrest of a gay congressman for his sexual orientation. Fischer claimed (without any historical basis, of course) that the Holocaust was caused by homosexuality and that all the leaders of the Nazi regime were homosexual. The AFA reposted a bunch of AP articles, retitling any instance of “Gay” with “homosexual, including an article about athlete Tyson Gay (who appears to be heterosexual), a thoroughly needless and harassing act. Fischer has also said (in writing) that “Permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America.” and, “Muslims cannot claim religious freedom protections under the First Amendment.”

    I’m sorry, this goes far beyond conservative speech to advocating denying non-Christians basic constitutional protections. Their designation as a hate group is well earned.

  138. @ numo:
    Right. I have an acquaintance from Aleppo who filled me in on who’s who and why when she came here a couple of years ago. She considers herself a (secular) “liberal” and didn’t quite understand the nuances of that term in the American political environment. We both learned a lot. Your comment about the French revolution reminded me of some of the dynamics they described in the Middle East. All good reasons to keep religion and government separate.

    Gram3

  139. sam h wrote:

    someone was asking about the 5 senses worship thing, don’t know if this is what you meant but I ran across this
    Mark Driscoll Quotes
    Everything in the service needs to preach–architecture, lighting, songs, prayers, fellowship, the smell–it all preaches. All five senses must be engaged to experience God.
    Source here on the Internet. Dated: 1999.
    See also Is this scriptural?
    http://www.zedekiahlist.com/cgi-bin/quotes.pl?&id=88132440
    their source link didn’t go anywhere, don’t know if it got scrubbed or my puter is tired.

    What is a preaching/gospel smell? The mind boggles.

  140. Gram3 wrote:

    Then, they transfer that relationship which they speculatively attribute to the Eternal Father and Eternal Son and transfer it back to human males and human females. By some clever theological alchemy they transform the equality between males and females in Genesis 1:26-28 into a hierarchy which they completely just theologize out of textual ether.
    Not sure how the Holy Spirit fits into this.

    Well said. I can’t remember who on this thread (Hester?) said it, but even if ESS had any Scriptural basis, getting that to somehow translate to human relations requires an inordinate suspension of disbelief.

  141. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    elizabetta carrera wrote:

    Regarding no accountability, just wondering, if you prefer a church to be independent, you will have no accountability. That’s the problem without any kind of hierarchy.

    And it’s also something I noticed during my time in-country in various totally-independent “Christian Fellowships(TM)” back in the Seventies.

    You’d think that such totally-independent Me-and-Jesus-and-Nobody-Else Fellowships(TM) would be totally anarchistic. Well, you did get Cro-Magnon levels of anarchy, but only on the macro level between groups. Within a single group, the pressure for Conformity and Ideological Purity was right up there with the Borg and North Korea. Total groupthink all the way.

    I was always wondering something. in the bible Jesus said be not called rabbi (teacher) He said for you are all brethren. and be not called master for One is your Master. stuff like that. and when I read the description of the orderly order in the church where everyone is prophesying and all the gifts are welcomed but they aren’t by one person only, so what I wondered is why are my AA mtgs so successful still to this day? My AA mtg doesn’t have a pastor or a bunch of guys in suits taking an offereing and everyone there takes a turn and shares. Its not a huge group but like 30-60 people. there are very few arguments if any and no one thinks they are better than the other, well after a few months of being sober their humility returns and sometimes pride pops back up but not often. I think the total polar opposite is that in AA we all share our faults and in church no one has any!

  142. @ numo didn’t even think of the “pitting groups against each other” so there isn’t enough to overthrow the gov. good idea, I mean bad idea well planned.
    @nick cool pics

  143. @ d & d
    did you guys ever do a thread on IHOP or Todd Bentley or Bethel church or Toronto Blessing? it sounds like a lot but I have found they are all connected and I was hoping for any info on them all.
    I wanted to say also that I really apreaciate what you do here, I have been to other blogs/forums and it got too stressful or hateful. So thanks and praying you keep it up. you have a lot of great commentators too.

  144. The only thing that I know about Mark Driscoll is that he is a bus driver, oh I am sorry, cult leader.

  145. sam h wrote:

    IHOP or Todd Bentley or Bethel church or Toronto Blessing? it sounds like a lot but I have found they are all connected and I was hoping for any info on them all.

    You may find the information/connections you want here: http://www.spiritoferror.org/

  146. sam h wrote:

    @nick cool pics

    Thanks, Sam – I should probably come clean here. Our highland blue tit friend was a bit of a set-up… as some of you may have noticed! He’s called Tweety Bird and he belongs to our daughter. But he does like the hills.

  147. sam h wrote:

    did you guys ever do a thread on IHOP or Todd Bentley or Bethel church or Toronto Blessing? it sounds like a lot but I have found they are all connected

    They are loosely connected, in the sense that there are numerous overlapping friendships.

    Victorious wrote:

    You may find the information/connections you want here: http://www.spiritoferror.org/

    If I may respectfully say so, I would take with a large pinch of salt what you read about them on a site like that, or any other standalone website that declares itself as an exposer of heresy or a defender of correct doctrine. Firstly, those sites are not without their own agendas which, at worst, over-ride any semblance of honest journalism of scholarship. (Imagine trying to find the truth about TWW by asking the “elders” at Mars Hill, for instance.) Secondly, they are often greatly enamoured of “endless genealogies” – A was in B’s church, who shared a platform with C back in 2002, whose brother co-authored a book with D, who wrote the forward to a book by E, and E is a heretic, therefore A is a heretic. So you will often read about links or connections that in fact are either spurious or only part of the truth.

    You may, for instance, read that Bill Johnson and pals supported Todd Bentley. You might not read that Bill Johnson and pals also tried increasingly hard to moderate Todd Bentley’s activities and subsequently to discipline him when he had an extra-marital affair, nor that when those efforts failed in private they tried in public. And so on.

    Obviously, knowing a few people who are part of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship as I do, I am more disposed to be sympathetic towards people in that vague sphere than I would otherwise be. I don’t know a great deal about IHOP, and I haven’t met anyone from Bethel church. But I’ve read a fair amount of Bill Johnson’s stuff. As far as I can see, the controversy surrounding him crudely boils down to “cessationism vs continuationism”.

  148. I just turned on my ipad screen and noticed comments I had not written on the comment bar un posted. Copies of some comment were attached. Is there some kind of bug? This seems bizarre .

  149. Mark

    I have no idea. I do not see problems from this end but will refer it to the guy who should know.

  150. Pam wrote:

    What is a preaching/gospel smell? The mind boggles.

    1) Take out your wallet.
    2) Stick your nose in it.
    3) Smell the $$$$$$$$$$$.

  151. sam h wrote:

    My AA mtg doesn’t have a pastor or a bunch of guys in suits taking an offereing and everyone there takes a turn and shares. Its not a huge group but like 30-60 people. there are very few arguments if any and no one thinks they are better than the other, well after a few months of being sober their humility returns and sometimes pride pops back up but not often. I think the total polar opposite is that in AA we all share our faults and in church no one has any!

    There’s also a matter of size. You said your AA group is 30-60 people. That’s small enough where you can get away without a hierarchy or formal organization.

    There’s this thing called “The Troop-size Limit”: The average human can think of only up to 100-150 others (the size of a hunter-gatherer tribe) as individuals; a larger number than that just blurs into an abstract collective whole (“The People(TM)”, op cit Marxism-Leninism).

    A Wiccan once told me that the reason covens are limited to 13 is more than that and they get unstable; factions form and they split. This reflects a second, smaller size limit of around 12 — the size of a family group, the average maximum size of a group of people whom you can really know well.

  152. diaryofanautodidact wrote:

    Fischer claimed (without any historical basis, of course) that the Holocaust was caused by homosexuality and that all the leaders of the Nazi regime were homosexual.

    Reminds me of an old Doonesbury strip about a crazy Arizona governor (the first time Trudeau actually drew a major pol into the strip):

    Some sort of press conference where said governor announced that “Scientific studies has proven that 97% of my critics are Practicing HOMOSEXUALS!”

  153. Gram3 wrote:

    Then, they transfer that relationship which they speculatively attribute to the Eternal Father and Eternal Son and transfer it back to human males and human females. By some clever theological alchemy they transform the equality between males and females in Genesis 1:26-28 into a hierarchy which they completely just theologize out of textual ether.

    Building speculation on prior speculation of still earlier speculation, until the source reality becomes a tiny speck in the edifice of speculation. I can think of two examples:

    1) Joke(?) — a Creationist illustration showing a protohuman skeletal reconstruction with the “actual fossil” in color — a tiny dot of bone in an otherwise black-and-white detailed picture.

    2) Medieval Angelology and Demonology — several generations elaborating on the fairly minimal mentions of the subject in the Bible itself, one generation of theologians speculating using a previous generation’s speculations as their basis, until the minimal mention of angels and demons in the original sources got spun into this elaborate seven-level heirarchy with every angel and demon tallied, numbered, and their specialties and abilities defined to the letter.

  154. First off, thank you to all who prayed for my baby girl. She is much better! We have a follow-up next week with her pediatrician.

    Secondly, when will ANY big dog in the christian community finally say something about Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill/Acts 29? I shouldn’t be surprised that those in it may not see the problems (heck, I thought Doug Phillips was next to God for a few years!) but those outside it can see the problems almost immediately.

  155. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:

    What we have here is an argument about the relative applicability to humans of the differences between theologia and oikonia (using the catholic terms) also called ontological priority and Perichoresis (using the orthodox terms.) The argument in the area of applying the concepts being between some neo-reformed theologians and the combined conclusions of orthodoxy and catholicism over the centuries.

    If we do not understand what is being said, and what conclusions have been determined over the centuries (rightly or wrongly) then we cannot present good counter-arguments to these neo-reformed johnny come latelies who have launched themselves into this area and who are convincing people right and left.

    The information is easily come by. Google plus maybe an hour of reading ought to be enough for anybody who is interested to get a basic understanding of the concepts. But if all we do is quote a few bible verses, express individual opinions, and deny the actual differences between christian groups in the applicability of some of these concepts to the current issues of what about the idea of ESS and “what about women”, then we lose the battle before we even start. By that I mean that we lose with the thinking pseudo-theologians who end up in leadership and with that we lose the masses.

    And we ourselves end up being told that we must either be non-christians or else go all the way with these folks in their thinking. What a pity, because that is not true, and christianity has a wealth of prior attention to this matter with which we can defend ourselves and others.

    But I disagree with you that all (if that is what you meant) protestants agree about this. Scads of protestants have no real idea about this, do not want to be bothered with it, and have no catechism or magisterium or whatever it is the orthodox call that concept to which to turn. So mostly we are pretty clueless when it comes to listening to these current guys. We need not be helpless and clueless, but in looking into the issue we may have to give up believing some of the things that we assumed we believed, to some extent.

  156. sam h wrote:

    did you guys ever do a thread on IHOP or Todd Bentley or Bethel church or Toronto Blessing? it sounds like a lot but I have found they are all connected and I was hoping for any info on them all.

    FWIW, sam h, I did an extended analysis of what happened with the “Lakeland Outpouring” and Todd Bentley in 2008. It covers a lot of stuff about the NAR/New Apostolic Reformation and related leaders/”commenders” who bear significant responsibility for their lack of discernment and poor decision-making.

    It’s a seven-part series — not that it was originally planned out that way, it just kind of grew. The whole series has relevance to what’s happening with Mars Hill and considering a lot of how-to and what-to-do questions when it really seems that leaders are DISqualified from public ministry and organizations ought to be dissembled. Anyway, here’s the series:

    1. Part 1: Discernment and the Costly Descent into Darkness

    2. Part 2: Considering Various Sources …

    3. Part 3: Seven Critical Lapses in Leadership and an Appeal to Own Our Responsibilities

    4. Part 3 – Addendum #1: Notes, Quotes, and Questions on Reconstructing Authority

    5. Part 3 – Addendum #2: Reconstructing Ministry Systems-Six Trends Toward Systems Solutions

    6. Part 3 – Addendum #3: Reconstructing Ministry Systems-When Churches are Like Leaky Ships, How Do We Fix the Boat?

    7. Part 3 – Addendum #4: Reconstructing Ministry Systems-How Do We Fix a Leaky Boat, and Who Can Best Lead in Doing So?

    The first post is here:

    http://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2008/09/19/kingdom-leadership-after-lakeland-part-1-discernment-and-the-costly-descent-into-darkness/

  157. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    If I may respectfully say so, I would take with a large pinch of salt what you read about them on a site like that, or any other standalone website that declares itself as an exposer of heresy or a defender of correct doctrine. Firstly, those sites are not without their own agendas which, at worst, over-ride any semblance of honest journalism of scholarship.

    Thanks for the heads-up Nick, but I’ve known Holly for over 10 yrs. and have found her to be most credible. Her site, the Spirit of Error, notes her qualifications:

    I have a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University in Southern California. I have written articles for numerous print and online publications, including Biola Magazine, the Christian Research Journal, and Apologetics Index.

    She is also the owner of a Christian forum of which I have been an administrator for 8 yrs. Her husband and she attend a Bethel church in Fairbanks, Alaska. Her focus has been primarily on the NAR.

  158. No More Perfect wrote:

    Secondly, when will ANY big dog in the christian community finally say something about Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill/Acts 29? I shouldn’t be surprised that those in it may not see the problems (heck, I thought Doug Phillips was next to God for a few years!) but those outside it can see the problems almost immediately.

    “One hand washes the other…”

  159. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “The Troop-size Limit”:

    Those missiology research books I read stated that in the Chinese house church movement the size of the individual church is limited to 30 and when the group gets larger than that they split up. I gather they do it mostly for reasons of safety, hoping it will go unnoticed, and ease of finding a meeting space. Also, nobody is apt to get lost in the crowd at that size. So, maybe it is also a contributing factor in their success in managing leadership issues? Could be. Interesting.

  160. K.D. wrote:

    If a couple is happy with him being househusband and her being the bread winter, who are we to judge? Why is this any of the churches’ business?

    My younger sister, who is a late Boomer, is the family breadwinner. Her husband pitches movie ideas, writes scripts and most recently, directed an indie movie, but he’s very much an at home guy and his work costs more money than it currently brings in. My father was for darn sure that a woman could do anything a man could do, including being the breadwinner, and that’s one of the gifts he gave to his children.

  161. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    . As far as I can see, the controversy surrounding him crudely boils down to “cessationism vs continuationism”.

    Focus on that idea about some controversy (about which I know nothing) could boil down to “cessationism vs continuationism”. I think that the cessationism vs continuationism controversy plays a role in a lot of stuff that gets batted back and forth. For example, the current foo-faw about ontological hierarchy within the trinity (or not) is now focusing on the Son, but the larger picture also includes the Spirit with the Spirit coming in lowest on the totem pole, so to speak, in some of the ways of arguing the issue. These same people who are wanting to argue ESS are also cessationists for the most part. Co-incidence? or lucky coincidence? “Fortuitous juxtaposition of controversies”?

    I think that some continuationists need to de-mythologize the whole idea of continuationism and explain to skeptics that one does not need to be afraid of the Spirit and one does not need to practice all of the behaviors of some pentecostals and one does not need to “take the bad with the good” in order to reorganize their thinking and experience and relationship with the Trinity to, in fact, include the Trinity. The concept of the Trinity, after all, being the core characterizing belief of christianity, and the Trinity not being, as I was led to conclude as a child, the Father and the Son and the Bible.

    And to start that process, let me say. I am a continuationist. NIck has said he is a charismatic. I guarantee that he and I do not agree on everything in this matter, do not exhibit identical worship behaviors, do not mostly read the same books or sing the same songs, or perhaps pray about the same things. Even so, there is no reason to not believe either one of us when we label ourselves as such. That is why I say, there is no need to be afraid. The Spirit is not what turns people into snake handlers or charlatans-not in a pig’s eye. But one cannot develop in some ways in the area of discernment merely by memorizing bible verses. And this seems to be what some anti-continuationist people fear most. That the masses might mature in that area of discernment and that the leadership would lose some of their power over people in that process.

  162. @ Nick Bulbeck: Nick, I was in an NAR-affiliated church (the one that booted me), and while I understand your concerns about the look of the site, the material seems very solid to me – and not all that different from Rachel Tabatchnik’s great “secular” series on the NAR that’s on talk2action.org * (Though I will say that I don’t agree with the site owner’s take on some things, it’s a minor quibble – and I’m thinking that this site probably reaches a *lot* of people who wouldn’t feel comfortable with sites that appear to be secular or “liberal” – or whatever.)

    * fwiw, I realize that a lot of the content at talk2action.org won’t be to many readers’ taste, but if you can, please look past that and read their series on the NAR. It’s what made a lot of missing pieces of the puzzle (re. my involvement in various churches that *all* turned out to have NAR and Dominionist affiliations) to fall into place. So for me, Tabatchnik’s reporting was a lifesaver. She’s very fair, does a LOT of research, and is a good writer.

  163. Nancy wrote:

    And to start that process, let me say. I am a continuationist

    Yes. I am too. I’m definitely not pentacostal. (My grandparents church was very charismatic and when I would visit and they would start speaking in tongues I would quietly repeat the Doxology to myself because I was vaguely scared by it- I was a strange child.)

    That being said, I know from experience that the Spirit still operates today. Recently, I’ve been going through very hard things and had reached a place where there was very little comfort to be found in anything, certainly not Scriptures. And on Sunday, the sermon was on Isaiah 49:8-16 and for whatever reason, verse 16, which I’ve got memorized and have had friends repeat to me a hundred times in the past few months, *felt* real and *felt* true. It was as if a light was turned on. Cue the waterworks on my part.

    This is what the Spirit does (and why I have so much pity for those who insist on the absolute primacy of Scripture to the point of elevating it to the Godhead). The Spirit turns words into Truth. The Spirit takes what was written thousands of years ago and makes it real for us on Sunday June 22, 2014 at 11:25 CDT. The God and Jesus aspects of God’s Person can seem very remote and historical, but the Spirit is the real deal, right here and now. Thankfully, He can work in us without our knowledge, so I’m certain that our brethren have similarly experienced His care, even if they don’t recognize it for what it is.

  164. @ Nick Bulbeck: I don’t think it’s about cessationism/continuationism; from my experience – and from what I know – it’s about wildly aberrant beliefs and practices. If you dig into the material on the site Victorious recommended, plus the one I mentioned just upthread, you will see that.

    The NAR has an outsize influence on (sorry to bring this up, but…) US politics, among other things. It’s dangerous stuff, and – imo – has actually spun off into its own religion that isn’t really xtianity, though they use xtian terms all the time. One thing you likely *won’t* hear about is Christ’s redemption, as this is all “strategic-level spiritual warfare,” with a very unhealthy focus on the demonic.

    As an example: That Church (which booted me) used to have (probably still has) clandestine “prayer walks” all over D.C. to (supposedly) drive out “territorial spirits.” This might seem like a looney but harmless bit of fluff, but the thing is, *people* are directly associated with the “territories” that they’re “claiming.”

    I didn’t go on those prayer walks, and honestly, for all their talk of shifts in the balance of the principalities and powers, I never saw ONE thing actually change as a result of this misguided interpretation of “intercessory prayer.”

    And Nick, these folks are very much established in the UK, too. In fact, the guy who was/still is “pastor” of That Church is English, as is his very good friend Charlie Cleverly, rector of St. Aldates, Oxford. You might want to do some Googling… afaik, the weird “intercessory prayer”/warfare thing originated with people from the UK, NZ and S. Africa, back in the 50s-early 60s. It got much bigger over the next several decades. that said, people take pains to keep their more odd activities private – I’ve seen/heard that done, and it can amount to lying to “outsiders” about what actually goes on.

    If all of this starts raising red flags re. “cult(s),” that’s a good thing. Because that’s what the NAR is.

  165. @ Nancy:
    Agreed that if you ask Protestants to describe the relationship between the Persons of the Trinity you will probably get a shrug. But that is true of most doctrines if you press. I’ve asked older protestants if the Son is subordinate to the Father, and they say no way except during the Incarnation. Now, these are just the people I know which makes it merely anecdotal. But I do find it interesting that younger people *in these same circles* have adopted the ESS view. Which raises the question in my mind, Why the difference between the generations?

    Giles says it goes back to George Knight in the 70s. Now, Giles may be suspect to some because he represents the egalitarians in Australia who are opposed to the Sydney Anglicans who are aligned closely with SBTS on this doctrine. Knight’s article is available online to read for yourself, and I have read a lot of Grudem and Giles as well online.

    I encourage everyone to read Ware’s book and Erickson’s book and see which one seems more reasonable. Which one presents the other side fairly and which one uses sound reasoning? Then compare everything they say Scripture says to what the interlinear Greek says.

    I have no info on the Greek Orthodox view. The Catholic family members I have asked want to know where the crazy idea of eternal subordination comes from. Tonight I’m meeting with some Catholics from the third world, where the idea of female subordination is *not* an issue, so I’ll ask them.

    One other thought to keep in mind is that the ESS folks I’ve spoken with will say something like, “This is just the traditional orthodox view.” One particular individual I spoke with seems to think that the doctrine of the Covenant of Redemption held by some of the Reformed indicates that the concept of “roles” is Reformed orthodoxy as well. That is not my understanding of the COR, but I’m not Reformed, and maybe someone from that tradition can expand on this.

    Everything needs to be checked and verified, hence one of the great values of this forum where there are diverse views and vigorous discussion.

    Gram3

  166. @ numo: Meant to add that the people who are associated with certain “territories” by these folks are perceived as being as much of a problem as the spirits that supposedly influence them.

    I think you can easily see where that kind of thinking leads…

  167. @ Gram3: The Athanasian Creed which is a keystone of orthodox doctrine in Catholicism, the Orthodox church, Lutheran churches, the Anglican Communion (and many other denominations as well) is what needs to be looked at re. the doctrine of the Trinity vs. ESS.

    People might not realize that this stuff is part of what their churches believe, but it exists nonetheless. Unfortunately, it seems like many Protestants dismiss the long, long period of church history prior to the Reformation, and thereby miss a lot.

  168. Caitlin wrote:

    Thankfully, He can work in us without our knowledge, so I’m certain that our brethren have similarly experienced His care, even if they don’t recognize it for what it is.

    Absolutely. We are all post-pentecost historically and baptismally (in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit). When Jesus talked about the coming of the Spirit He did not use terminology like “if” or “some of you” or “when you do such and such.” He just stated a reality. We differ in what we think about that, and how we react to that, and whether or not we recognize it (like you say) and such. But no disciple of Jesus is left to do without or is abandoned by God.

  169. @ Gram3: P.S. – here’s a quote from the Athanasian Creed, which is my go-to for the whole ESS thing:

    And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other;
    none is greater, or less than another; But the whole three Persons
    are co-eternal together and co-equal.

    So that in all things, as is aforesaid,
    the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

    He therefore that will be saved is must think thus of the Trinity.

  170. numo wrote:

    Unfortunately, it seems like many Protestants dismiss the long, long period of church history prior to the Reformation, and thereby miss a lot.

    Bulls eye! I think, for myself, that an understanding of what is actually being said in the creeds takes a bit more than just memorizing the particular creed and thinking that one understands what is being said. But the creeds are masterpieces of statement and summation.

  171. numo wrote:

    with a very unhealthy focus on the demonic.

    Where I’m from, that sort of thing is considered very dangerous. Best not to focus on it at all. At least in the sense of labeling things “demonic.” Not something to play around with.

  172. @ Nancy: Totally agreed on needing to think through and digest what’s in the creeds, though I have to confess that the Athanasian Creed is really difficult for me. (And likely everyone else who’s ever read it! 😉 )

  173. @ Nancy: Just wanted to add that catechism classes are usually focused on the Apostles and Nicene Creeds, as well as the sacraments and life of the church.

    Obviously, the understanding of “sacraments” differs a good deal (in the number of sacraments as well as in what goes on, and how), but really, I think the differing views capture facets of the same whole, which is too big for anyone person/group of people to understand. (Since we’re talking about God himself, after all!)

  174. @ numo:

    Oops, I did not mean that like it sounds. I was not talking about you nor implying that you were lacking in understanding. I was noting (and should have said) that those of us who grew up in churches that did not use the traditional creeds and did not have confirmation classes and never heard any of this from the pulpit, the people you referenced as being basically clueless about this, it takes more than just reading or memorizing some creed, any creed, to grasp what is actually being said.

    The primary source that I read about hierarchy in the Trinity from a catholic viewpoint is the Catechism of the Catholic church in the section explaining the creed(s) under “I believe in God the Father Almighty maker of heaven and earth” in the part under “the Father” and early in that section there is what I mentioned as catholic teaching regarding hierarchy of procession and the section ends by referencing the Athenasian creed. These concepts seem contradictory, but they are not. That is the point. And the catholics and orthodox (and I assume some others) “get it” but lots of protestants do not.

    Unless some protestants can get a grip on how the catholics and orthodox hold these two ideas in tension and resolve it, they will continue to flounder around and try to recreate christianity as beginning at the time of the reformation.

  175. Caitlin wrote:

    My grandparents church was very charismatic and when I would visit and they would start speaking in tongues I would quietly repeat the Doxology to myself because I was vaguely scared by it- I was a strange child.

    I totally get this – and I don’t think you were in any way strange or odd in your reaction. It *is* a scary thing, for kids and adults. (I do pray in tongues, but privately, and I can *really* see why a little kid would be freaked out by a large group of people doing this.)

  176. @ Nancy: No, I understand, I was trying to give some context for those who might not be familiar with the idea of catechism classes and the like.

    I do NOT think that “procession” has ANYthing to do with hierarchy, which is where people get tripped up.

    Another squib from the Athanasian Creed (bolding mine):

    “He is God, begotten before all worlds from the being of the Father, and he is man, born in the world from the being of his mother — existing fully as God, and fully as man with a rational soul and a human body; equal to the Father in divinity, subordinate to the Father in humanity.”

    Which is a lot to digest, I know, but that’s the crux.

  177. @ Nancy: I wonder if the common conception of the place where God dwells (heaven, if you will) as “up there” isn’t part of the problem? Because Jesus came from Up There, and then he ascended, and the Holy Spirit proceeds/is sent from Up There to Down Here.

    Which is an innately hierarchical way of picturing it, but I don’t think it can be supported from the NT. If anything, Jesus’ discussion of the kingdom of God (and Paul’s ruminations on it) give me a sense of it all being very horizontal (so to speak), not a vertical thing. God is God, but he’s also very much here with us, which is hard, because we can’t see or touch him.

    So we understandably fall back on other ways of viewing things that might – or might not – be accurate.

  178. numo wrote:

    equal to the Father in divinity, subordinate to the Father in humanity.”

    That is where it gets tricky. Equal to and subordinate to cannot co-exist in our current secular thinking. That is why I have to go back to exactly how does the catholic church explain it, how do orthodox theologians explain it and such. And, fortunately, both groups are anxious to explain and convince, and thank goodness because I trust them to know what they believe and trust them to explain it as well as it can be explained to me.

    BTW, I am not a catholic because of the Marian dogmas which I do not and apparently cannot believe. This puts me, obviously, not accepting that everything the church teaches is truth, and as such I am not a catholic. This does not mean that I do not listen to them when and where I can. And value them highly.

  179. @ Nancy: I wonder if “subordinate” is a truly accurate translation.

    Are you only reading Catholic sources? Because this creed, along with the Apostles and Nicene, are used by the Orthodox, the RCC, the Anglican Communion, Lutherans and who knows who all else. So no, you *don’t* have to stick to a specifically RCC interpretation of this. There’s other material out there.

    Hope that’s helpful.

  180. Gram3 wrote:

    Everything needs to be checked and verified, hence one of the great values of this forum where there are diverse views and vigorous discussion.

    Amen to that. I read every word you write. Enjoying it.

  181. @ numo:

    I realize that a lot of the content at talk2action.org won’t be to many readers’ taste, but if you can, please look past that and read their series on the NAR.

    Yeah, I’ve enjoyed Tabachnick’s reporting on the NAR. I’m not sure where I stand politically, but theology is one area I do feel comfortable navigating (even when I still have a lot to learn – don’t we all), and the NAR is completely nuts. The fact that it’s so common to find so many connections between bad theology (Reconstructionism, NAR, etc.) and right-wing political groups, is the main reason I stepped back from political discussions and don’t know what to think about any of it anymore. Granted, there are probably equally disturbing connections on the left, too, but I’m not as familiar with them.

  182. @ Nancy: I think the “subordinate” part likely refers to the time from Christ’s incarnation to his ascension.

    But I’m not sure that logic is going to get *any* of us through this, because it’s paradoxical by nature, no? (I think so, at least.)

  183. numo wrote:

    Caitlin wrote:
    My grandparents church was very charismatic and when I would visit and they would start speaking in tongues I would quietly repeat the Doxology to myself because I was vaguely scared by it- I was a strange child.
    I totally get this – and I don’t think you were in any way strange or odd in your reaction. It *is* a scary thing, for kids and adults. (I do pray in tongues, but privately, and I can *really* see why a little kid would be freaked out by a large group of people doing this.)

    For sure a child, unfamiliar with and with no explaination, would think that the adults had all lost their minds!! Indeed, imagine a child in a large room filled with crazy adults? We adults often don’t think how children might be processing the goings on around them.

  184. numo wrote:

    Are you only reading Catholic sources? Because this creed, along with the Apostles and Nicene, are used by the Orthodox, the RCC, the Anglican Communion, Lutherans and who knows who all else. So no, you *don’t* have to stick to a specifically RCC interpretation of this. There’s other material out there.

    Jesus did say “Let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not as I will but as you will.” He also said “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” God experienced all of human life, including the pain of obedience and the feeling of separation from God. Satan tempted Jesus to call up angels, but He didn’t. All of this is, to me, evidence of a temporary subordination, but a subordination *by choice* (which is hardly subordination at all, is it?) A subordination chosen because humans are subordinate and it would hardly be experiencing human life if He came down and had angels waiting on Him hand and food and He didn’t die but just hand-waved sin away easy as pie.

  185. @ Hester: I think every group (political and social) has its weirder fringe elements, but the NAR has become VERY mainstream here in the US, and that’s very frightening to me.

    I sometimes wonder if I’ll end up having to move to another country if there’s a political swing in the direction of those who either favor them or are actually a part of them + Reconstructionism.

  186. @ Hester: I think your stepping away from politics is akin to Tabachnik’s conversion from xtianity to Judaism. yes, she’s married to a Jewish man, but people rarely convert, and most rabbis are extremely reluctant about this. (With good reason, imo.)

    At any rate, I think she saw and continues to see too much craziness in US xtianity, or at least in the kind of xtianity that she grew up in and has since reported on.

  187. numo wrote:

    but the NAR has become VERY mainstream here in the US, and that’s very frightening to me.

    I absolutely agree. Rachel Tabachnik and Jeff Shartlett’s writing on this is so important.

    numo wrote:

    I sometimes wonder if I’ll end up having to move to another country if there’s a political swing in the direction of those who either favor them or are actually a part of them + Reconstructionism.

    I believe the NAR/Reconstructionists have a huge foothold already with regards to elected officials, which IS terrifying. As you said, however, it’s about the “swing” and thank goodness the momentum seems to be against them … for now.

  188. @ numo:

    Indeed. But here is the thing, of the two approaches one is shop around until you find an answer you like (understand, whatever) and the other is choose what you believe to be authoritative source or sources and then accept whatever answer you get.

    Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. Here is what I try to do: first choose what relatively few sources I think are authoritative or apt to be, and then compare those sources and see where they agree, and then use that area of agreement as a starting point. I then at the same time stay away from sources I think are not authoritative sources, diligently avoid, treat like a snake, do not boggly up my thinking with them. Could I be mistaken in what sources to credit? Absolutely. But this is what we do in medicine. New England Journal of Medicine? Lancet? Wow. Biennial Report of East Slobovia? (If there is such a thing)? Maybe not so much. This tends to work in the cases we are discussing so far. When it breaks down I will think about what to do then.

  189. @ numo

    I would love to listen in on your all’s conversation, but I do not know what NAR is. Google tells me it is the National Association of Realtors.

    Since I consider you an authoritative source, give me a hint here. I need to learn from what you people are saying.

  190. @ Nancy:

    NAR = New Apostolic Reformation. Also Google “7 Mountains” and “Dominionism.”

    Awful stuff, had far too close a brush with it personally.

  191. @ Rafki:

    Got it. I knew about christian reconstructionism and dominionism but had no idea about the religious ideas of NAR or seven mountains. And I had no idea it was as prevalent as some are saying, And I thought the neo-puritans were off base. This stuff is scary to be sure. Thanks again for the info.

  192. @ numo:

    I sometimes wonder if I’ll end up having to move to another country if there’s a political swing in the direction of those who either favor them or are actually a part of them + Reconstructionism.

    From where I sit, this seems unlikely on a mass scale, but then again I live in New England so maybe I’m out of the loop. (Somehow this all keeps coming back to me being all alone up here in Yankeedom, doesn’t it? Maybe I should have an alternate handle like “The Cranky Yankee” or something like that. 😉 ) Basically, at this point, I’m not attracted to the extreme ends of either the left or the right – though I’m not always clear on where normal crosses into extreme, either, esp. nowadays – and the dystopian scenarios of both sides seem unlikely to actually transpire (left: U.S. becomes a theocracy / right: U.S. becomes a repressive socialist police state). I try not to indulge in doomsday thinking in any case. I did for about a year and it was bad for my mental health.

    I have similar problems with feminism. I think parts of it are clearly still needed – I think just about anybody involved in gaming/comics could tell you that and that’s just one area – but again, it’s not always clear to me where the line between “normal” feminism and radical feminism lies. Leftover programming from homeschool culture where feminism is essentially a heretical swear word, doesn’t help either.

    One of my bigger difficulties here lies with men’s issues, some of which are real and do need addressing. But bring up any men’s issue and you’re immediately swamped by patriocentrists and MRAs, whose solution is basically misogyny, ditching feminism entirely, and pretending that all gender stereotypes reflect reality no matter what. And a lot of times people who are concerned with men’s issues end up promoting sources connected to the crap, because they’re ignorant of the truly nasty side.

    This was esp. paining me yesterday after seeing an otherwise reasonable egalitarian Biblical scholar, claim that feminism has outlived its usefulness, and link to an MRA blogger who called a man who set himself on fire in front a courthouse and wrote a manifesto urging men to basically engage in domestic terrorism, a “visionary.” (In context it was in a discussion about more women going to college than men and whether modern education methods make it harder for boys to excel. I don’t know anything about either of those topics so I couldn’t assess his accuracy on those points.)

    He’s a UMC minister so I suspect he’s lived in a very egalitarian environment for a long time, and never been exposed to the truly hardcore gender bulls*** in the conservative church. And frankly, most people are ignorant about MRA stuff because, let’s be honest, who actually wants to be intimately familiar with what those people say?! Those of us who are, are doing it purely out of self-defense. So I seriously doubt whether he knew any of the above about the MRA in question, and he did genuinely care about the educational welfare of boys. But the solution to gender inequalities, in either direction, is NOT hatred and stereotyping. He doesn’t believe that either, of course. But it was still disappointing to see a scholar so profoundly fail to do source research.

    Sorry for the rant…

  193. Nancy wrote:

    I would love to listen in on your all’s conversation, but I do not know what NAR is.

    You’re not alone Nancy. I too get hopelessly bamboozled in the acronym wilderness. They get bandied about so much nowadays with little or no trail back to the source, it’s easy to get as lost as Becky Thatcher & Tom Sawyer in the cave.

  194. @ Hester:

    I am not sure that the concept of it probably won’t happen here can be relied on. During my lifetime I have actually seen the unthinkable happen. It is not unthinkable now, of course, since it did happen, but it was unthinkable for us before it happened. That, taken in the light of some actual historical facts in the somewhat more distant past, and I think that the unthinkable is pretty common, in fact.

    What happened in Europe in the middle of the last century was unthinkable, even to some who were watching it develop right on their doorstep. The state where I live once decided it did not want to be part of the US any more. China is rapidly converting to Christianity, in spite of some government policies. When I first went into health care abortion on demand was unthinkable. When I was in med school I wrote a paper once on clinical signs of hallucinogenic drug use and had the paper sent back with the comment that the topic itself had no medical usefulness. The drug culture as we have it today was unthinkable. I could go on–lots–but I think this is enough.

    So, in my opinion, and in my family, we try to keep our mental state such that when the unthinkable happens, as it most surely may, we can react or adjust or whatever without self-destructing.

  195. numo wrote:

    People might not realize that this stuff is part of what their churches believe, but it exists nonetheless. Unfortunately, it seems like many Protestants dismiss the long, long period of church history prior to the Reformation, and thereby miss a lot.

    Same with the post-Constantine world of the Nicene fathers, they succeeded in eradicating the roots of ‘Jewishness’ from Christianity early in the game.

  196. Muff Potter wrote:

    Same with the post-Constantine world of the Nicene fathers, they succeeded in eradicating the roots of ‘Jewishness’ from Christianity early in the game.

    Quite so. Glad you brought that up.

  197. @ Muff Potter:
    Important point. The New Testament was written by Jews, except for Luke-Acts and possibly Hebrews. As you point out, though, Jewish texts are read and taught as if written by Gentiles. Regarding the relationship between the Father and the Son, the Jewish leaders in John 5 understood pretty clearly that a claim to being the Son of the Father is a claim to being equal to the Father.

    Also, the ESS teachers make the relationship between and also the distinction between the Father and Son exclusively one of power or authority (actually they also distinguish between power and authority.) But John 5 shows that the Son’s obedience to the Father is rooted in love, not rank.

    I think that Driscoll and the other ESS teachers, the Reconstructionists, the charismatic dominionists, and others share one thing in common though they look quite different. They are religions where intense focus is placed on personal power. Not love for or humility toward and service for others, but power over others.

    Pharisees and Jesus. Big difference in focus between them.

    Gram3

  198. Nancy wrote:

    And to start that process, let me say. I am a continuationist. NIck has said he is a charismatic. I guarantee that he and I do not agree on everything in this matter, do not exhibit identical worship behaviors, do not mostly read the same books or sing the same songs, or perhaps pray about the same things.

    I don’t doubt that you are right on all those points, Nancy. I’m also sure that it is because, not in spite, of our differences that it has been such a blessing to me to read your comments over the last wee while. Long may God guard your health! By whatever means, and in every sense.

  199. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Long may God guard your health! By whatever means, and in every sense.

    d

    Thank you, Nick. And may I say to those watching, I believe Nick just did something christio-continuo-charismo-whatever, and it wasn’t strange or embarrassing at all for him or me or anybody watching.

  200. @ sam h:

    I am Catholic. Despite how we are represented by non-Catholics, they NEVER micromanage like this!!! never.

  201. @ mirele fka Southwestern Discomfort:

    i didn’t realize until after my dad died how much my mother despised educated women. I guess she went along with dad’s ideas for education since i wasn’t ‘pretty enough’ to catch a man the usual way. I’ve actually had a pretty good life as ‘the smart one’.

  202. @ Hester:

    There are three issues I agree with men’s rights activists on: If we are going to have a draft, young women need to register as well as men. If a job is physically demanding, then women should have to meet the same qualifications. And this one is where I get jumped on: If an adult woman makes the decision to keep and raise the child herself, and the bio daddy objects, he should not be required to pay child support. If the same woman went to a sperm bank there would be no child support required so why should preferring a live donor be any different.

  203. @ nmgirl:

    If an adult woman makes the decision to keep and raise the child herself, and the bio daddy objects, he should not be required to pay child support.

    By “object,” do you mean objecting to not being allowed in the child’s life, or objecting to her keeping the baby in the first place? Just looking for clarification.

  204. Addendum @ nmgirl:

    I don’t object to the first two things you mentioned, but from what I’ve read of MRAs, they don’t spend much time talking about those subjects. Mostly, all I’ve ever seen them do is complain that they’re not getting laid and then spew vitriol at half the human race because of it.

  205. Nancy wrote:

    @ Rafki:
    Got it. I knew about christian reconstructionism and dominionism but had no idea about the religious ideas of NAR or seven mountains. And I had no idea it was as prevalent as some are saying, And I thought the neo-puritans were off base. This stuff is scary to be sure. Thanks again for the info.

    This is too scary. It reminds me of echoes of the Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood. There are actually groups that would take away all freedom and turn the US into a theocratic state is my fear. They want to prepare the world for Christ’s return. What they wouldn’t do to accomplish this? Even Jerry Falwell thought that Dominionist philosopher Rushdoony was a certified nut case. I actually agree with Falwell on some things.

  206. OK, one more before Bedtime in Blighty, we being 5 hours ahead of TWWT.

    There has been much discourse on new apostolic reformation, sparked by sam h’s question on various folk. (In other news, “samh” is actually a word in Scots Gaelic – specifically, it’s the word for the sorrel plant.)

    Point 1 of 2

    Despite its capitalised TLA, the “NAR” is not actually a Thing; it’s a description for an association of related beliefs. It is not an organisation and thus you can’t join it. A bit like the “emergent movement” or, for that matter, the “Protestant Church”; there’s more than one protestant church. Although a congregation might identify with “NAR” beliefs, or be formally related to people or groups who can be thought of as “NAR”, a church cannot – pace Numo – be affiliated with it. That would be a bit like being affiliated to kung fu or rock-climbing – of which, likewise, there are many variants. This is an important point, because IHOP is not Todd Bentley is not Bill Johnson is not Toronto-ness, and I’m not aware that any of those four wish to subvert the democratic process and establish a theocracy. (FWIW, I gather that IHOP is actually pre-millennialist.)

    Of the many and varied websites denouncing the “NAR movement” as dangerous and heretical, I make value judgement here. But obviously, if I look them up, I will see all the bad things about “NAR” because that’s what those sites were set up to contain.

    Point 2 of 2

    The Wiki article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Apostolic_Reformation) on the NAR is a useful starting point as it is very short and cites several sources, not all of which are favourably disposed towards it. But one of them is the chap who invented the term (Peter Wagner), and frankly it’s only fair to at least let him speak.

    I’m not convinced that Wagner was significantly involved in ending mad cow disease in Germany, nor of the significance he apparently attributes to the year 2001. But I will make the following stands:

     The wiki article cites seven characteristics of “NAR”-ness. With a little care over the wording, I agree, in theory and practice, with all but the seventh – the seventh I’d need to reword significantly.
     Bill Johnson has been mentioned specifically. I do not believe he is guilty of anything wildly aberrant. Rather, he takes the biblical teaching that the Holy Spirit was given to the church permanently, and in the light of that, interprets otherwise dismissed or neglected scriptures. I believe he is right to do so; indeed, he takes the idea to a more biblical conclusion than mainstream pentecostals whose Holy Spirit tends to go no further than 1 Corinthians 12.

    Point 3 of 2

    Bad things are done in the name of “NAR”. That’s true. It’s true of the Christian faith as a whole, too, and if “NAR”-ists ever did succeed in setting up a government that tortured and killed its critics, they would have both Reformed and – to a lesser extent – Roman Catholic ancestors to emulate. By and large, the bad things happen when men who want to be at the top of a hierarchy build a hierarchy. I too was thrown out of an abusive church for questioning the CEO who, indeed, had declared himself an “apostle” because that was the top job in the denomination in question. He is a Diotrephes, not an apostle. The more that any or all of the ideas in Point 2 are hijacked, the more determined I am to reclaim them.

  207. @ Nick Bulbeck: have you read anything by Wagner? He’s SO into hunting down demons and “territorial spirits,” its not funny.

    In fact, he and some of his associates literally believe that both Princess Diana and Mother Teresa were being controlled by a very powerful demonic entity. They had a whole big expedition set up to get rid of it – her, actually, as they believed this spirit was female – called Operation Ice Castle. Some of these people are on record as saying that they believe their prayers literally *killed* both people, with an emphasis on Mother Teresa.

    Nick, unless/until you dig into this stuff and find out what Wagner and his associates + related people and ministries actually say and do, you just won’t get the reason that sites like the one Victorious posted about exist. And then there’s the whole political angle, and…

    Look, I spent nearly 20 years around this, and I’m not making up these incidents.

  208. @ Nick Bulbeck: perhaps the NAR we speak of will make more sense to you if you come over here and see for yourself the social and political influence it has.

    If your church is somehow involved in aspects of NAR beliefs/practices, *please* be careful and do as much investigative work as possible. This stuff is poison.

  209. @ numo:
    Numo – I am with you. I have had enough experience with the followers of C Peter Wagner – and got caught up in the Elijah list for a while….and a couple of years ago, when someone gave me a book as a gift called “The Prophetic Dictionary” (I think) – as I began to read through it, I began to get suspicious and then read the endorsements – C Peter Wagner was one of the backers….I literally through it across the room. I grew up Pentecostal with Charismatic and Word of Faith influences. And I am still a continuationist and etc…but the NAR – and C Peter Wagner – scare the **** out of me and also raise my hackles. These people are truly dangerous. They do their best to present a moderate front to the general public, but I have seen what their warfare looks like and it will steamroll any ‘brother or sister’ who is not on board. They will roll over the top over the opposition just as quickly and purposefully as Driscoll – but they will be much quieter about it….. okay /end rant.

  210. Nancy wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Long may God guard your health! By whatever means, and in every sense.

    d

    Thank you, Nick. And may I say to those watching, I believe Nick just did something christio-continuo-charismo-whatever, and it wasn’t strange or embarrassing at all for him or me or anybody watching.

    tooo funny

  211. elisabetta wrote:

    @ sam h:

    I am Catholic. Despite how we are represented by non-Catholics, they NEVER micromanage like this!!! never.

    hehe. I know!
    for the record:
    my cousin is friends with todd Bentleys prophet
    my sister is assembly of God
    my Grandma spent a lot of her youth in a catholic orphanage
    my brother is catholic
    my other grandmother was Christian scientist
    my uncle is foursquare
    I have a Mormon friend
    I have a friend that used to go to gateway but no longer
    I have a friend that is Methodist
    I had friends in lbgt till I moved, they don’t allow that here lol
    when they all try to convert me I tell them I love Jesus but I aint going anywhere lol
    my grandma from the orphanage had the most faith of them all, she worked nights at 7-11 to support 3 kids after being excommunicated for divorcing the man that kept trying to kill her, she had real faith and true miracles cause Jesus was all she had.

  212. @ numo:

    “I sometimes wonder if I’ll end up having to move to another country…”
    ++++++++++

    I always get a feeling of relief and coziness when I think of Iceland. But it may not be far enough…. New Zealand, perhaps. A hut in the Solomon Islands, with a hammock & a trunk of fiction galore.

  213. sam h wrote:

    my grandma from the orphanage had the most faith of them all, she worked nights at 7-11 to support 3 kids after being excommunicated for divorcing the man that kept trying to kill her, she had real faith and true miracles cause Jesus was all she had.

    Your grandmother’s life sounds like a life lived as a great testimony by a true follower of Jesus. Your family sounds blessed to have had her.

  214. numo wrote:

    Some of these people are on record as saying that they believe their prayers literally *killed* both people, with an emphasis on Mother Teresa.

    Aren’t you glad that these guys cannot enlist the full power of the King and the King’s men as they did in olden times? I’m even gladder that they’re a tiny lunatic fringe and do not represent the whole of Evangelical Christianity.

  215. @ Nancy: well, probably yes, to a degree (depends on who and what they do), but I can tell you a couple of things for certain:

    A) superstitious beliefs are rife (I had a tough time shaking this; it took me many years, both during and after my time in the mess)

    B) Wagner and some of his associates, like George Otis Jr. actually believe that superstition and belief in the demonic – as evidenced in many other cultures – is literally true. They’ve both written about it pretty extensively. Two things you *won’t* find in their material: the belief that Christ triumphed over sin, death and the devil; the redemption – I mean, period. They just do not talk about Christ’s redemption, nor even the Passion and resurrection.

    C) they are ALL about their adherents being god’s agents on earth to “reclaim territory from the Enemy.” Though they will often whitewash this as a desire to “bless” cities and people, what they *really* mean is infiltration of political offices, educational and financial institutions, non-NAR churches – every sphere of public life. They teach/preach this openly to their adherents, but are evasive when questioned about it by those who aren’t part of their groups. I have never heard it said flatly that lying is OK – instead, they use other words/terms that convey the same meaning. So yes, they are (they believe) engaged in a battle for god’s supremacy, and it really *is* OK to lie and/or otherwise hide their actual beliefs and purposes.

    D) many believe in imprecatory prayer, aka calling down curses on others. (As in the “intercessory prayer” situation that I mentioned re. Wagner, Princess Diana, et. Alia.)

    In fact, yours truly was threatened with such curses by none other than the “pastor” of That Church. He specifically cited the curses in Deuteronomy (terror/mental illness in particular) plus adding that if I continued to use a cane (which I needed at the time due to injury), my “days [would] be shortened.” I was just plain dumbfounded to hear these words coming from someone I’d assumed was sane and rational.

    Now, it just so happens that this guy is very good friends w/George Otis Jr. and did everything he could to promote Otis’ beliefs. Once you’ve read a bit on Otis and his “transformations” movies plus is ideas on the “10/40 window,” you’ll easily be able to do the math. He and Wagner are two peas in the same pod.

    Fwiw, Wagner’s wife and a number of other people led “intercessory prayer teams” to the Himalayas to “bind” the demon they referred to as the Queen of Heaven – you know, the one that held sway over Mother Teresa and Princess Di . I have NO doubt that they got this idea into their heads via informants in Nepal (whom Otis also uses) and, no doubt, from supposed prophetic words and dreams and whatnot.

    I know it all sounds like a flying saucer cult, and it would be lunatic fringe at best were it jot for the political and social power and influence weilded by many adherents.

    You can follow up w/the pieces by Tabachnik on talk2action.org, and also at Victorious’ friend’s site. I’ll go w/talk2action, as Tabachnik seems very unbiased; a true researcher who keeps digging into these groups’ own words in order to come up w/her material. I really admire her and her work.

  216. @ Nancy: I know firsthand of people surreptitiously taping pieces of paper w/Bible verse written on them onto door frames to “protect” their houses. Yes, those things are amulets/charms, but those who believe in them don’t view them that way.

    And there is SO much else besides.

    I recently read a bit of material on Amish folk magic as practiced in PA, and honestly, their charms and prayers seem very much of a piwece w/NAR practices. Except that the Amish version is understood to be folk magic.

    So… You cannot take the understanding of many of the words and phrases that NAR people use to equal the standard definitions (as w/intercessory prayer). The thing is, people keep mum about their involvement, and it is, imo, far more pervasive than most people realize.

  217. numo wrote:

    @ Nancy: I know firsthand of people surreptitiously taping pieces of paper w/Bible verse written on them onto door frames to “protect” their houses. Yes, those things are amulets/charms, but those who believe in them don’t view them that way.

    And there is SO much else besides.

    I recently read a bit of material on Amish folk magic as practiced in PA, and honestly, their charms and prayers seem very much of a piwece w/NAR practices. Except that the Amish version is understood to be folk magic.

    So… You cannot take the understanding of many of the words and phrases that NAR people use to equal the standard definitions (as w/intercessory prayer). The thing is, people keep mum about their involvement, and it is, imo, far more pervasive than most people realize.

    that’s what I am finding, far more pervasive than I realized.
    thank you for your post right before this one also. especially things the NRA doesn’t like to talk about; Jesus victory on the cross over sin, death, and the devil. my heart is full of thanksgiving and praise when people talk about those things! I noticed after the outpouring of the ‘spirit’ in NRA churches that there is no glory to Jesus, the cross, or even God.

  218. @ sam h: I honestly think these folks have, without realizing it, created a new religion – one that has some things in common w/orthodox xtianity, but at heart, not many.

    They don’t seem to have any awareness of it, though.

  219. @ Daisy:

    Daisy, your response is so full of misunderstanding and prejudice, I can not imagine why you care about those who are hurt. Misrepresentation is rife in your comments on this subject.

  220. May wrote:

    I also believe, and have done for years, that Mark Driscoll has a serious sex addiction and will eventually come undone in a major sex scandal. I highly doubt that he is faithful to his wife. At the very, very least I wager he has a major porn habit. Strong allegations, I know, but his behaviour and his focus on/ obsession with sex over the years , in my views.

    I think you’re right.

  221. @ zooey111, and May:

    If I might:

    They are strong allegations, and there needs to be actual evidence before a community entertains them. Partly because they give ammo to those who like to dismiss communities like this as hives of haters, but mostly because maintaining strict integrity is the Right Thing.

    Lest I be declared a Fiscal Fanboy, let me point out that there is more than enough to do just addressing known and proven issues with Fiscal’s output (the Fiscal Deficit, as I call it); for instance, the way he has treated his wife in print in Real [sic] marriage.

  222. K.D. wrote:

    The non-compete clause is one I don’t understand…..did Jesus have the apostles sign one of these? It is like church now IS a business….

    The only reason I would accept a church utilizing non-compete contracts is that I have seen associate pastors, fed up with their “serving” role, gather members of a church to start a new church down the road, where they can be a “leader.” What a non-compete clause would do is hopefully remove the life raft of conflict avoidance and the escape pod of ambition. However, perhaps such clauses would be unnecessary if the ethos of a church, created in part by the pastor, were healthier.