TWW is pleased to announce that we will be regularly republishing Todd Wilhelm's (aka The Guy From Dubai) posts from his blog Thou Art The Man. We got this idea from The Gospel Coalition which appears to publish posts supportive of SGM as well as featuring those posts from Todd's former pastor, John Folmar. Folmar is the pastor of UCCD which is a clone of Mark Dever's CHBC/9 Marks. UCCD is known to our readers as the Hotel California of the Middle East. Once you join, unless you play it their way, you can't leave, even if you conscientiously, as well as gospelly, object to their actions.You can read Todd's story at My, My Dubai, 9 Marks Plays Hardball.
Todd is an official TWW hero. When he realized that UCCD was selling books by CJ Mahaney, he confronted the pastors and asked them to remove them from the bookstore. As we recently learned from Todd, John Folmar does not believe that Mahaney has done anything to disqualify him from being a pastor just as his mentor, Mark Dever, has role modeled his unwavering supporter of CJ Mahaney in spite of the implosion of that ministry.
Todd has expressed deep concern and consistent support for those who have experienced child sex abuse while attending SGM churches. When Folmar refused to remove the books from the bookstore, Todd attempted to resign from UCCD. The typical nonsense ensued which you can read about at our linked post. He willingly gave up close associations while living in a foreign country in order to stand up for the abused. That is the stuff that heroes are made of.
TWW wishes to present another side of what is going on in the rest of the world. Todd is an American living in Dubai for the foreseeable future. He may provide some counterpoint to the regular reports from Dubai at The Gospel Coalition. We plan to repost his articles on either Tuesday or Thursday and occasionally as a replacement for one our posts.
Disclaimer: Todd does not necessarily concur with everything we write here and I guess TWW doesn't necessarily agree with all of his points of view but I am hard pressed, at this time, to think of one. We are grateful to Todd for granting us this privilege.
(Note: we are having a bit of trouble transferring the audio only files. We hope to get this fixed in the near future. You can visit Todd's post to play those audios until we figure this out.)
I anticipate the typical ho-hum comments about "gossip" in regards to this post. To this I say "Baloney!" RW Glenn published a book with Tim Challies which was pushed as one of those "it" books. R W Glenn was presented as a public role model by John Piper and others. He posted at The Gospel Coalition and was held up as a role model to pastors as well as conference speaker.
Guess what? You don't get to pretend that this man never existed. People have a right to know what happened to the guy whose books, sermons, etc were advertised and sold to the public. The public has a vested interest in understanding why things went wrong; why Challies has removed the book from his website and why R W Glenn is now a "name that must not be spoken."
R.W. Glenn was on the cusp of breaking into super star status in the celebrity pastors gospelly club. He was a gifted speaker, senior pastor at a fairly large church, has authored several books, had some minor roles in major conferences and major roles in minor conferences, and had rugged good looks to boot. You can see R.W. Glenn listed as one of the minor speakers in John Piper’s Desiring God conference of 2012 here.
Glenn has written articles for the Gospel Coalition. One of them can be found here.
Glenn was friends with Piper as evidenced in this rather bizarre video where they discussed the role of physical exercise in the process of sanctification.
And then there is this video where Glenn demonstrates he holds the acceptable view on church membership.
Redeemer Bible Church of Minnetonka, MN is the church where R.W. Glenn was the senior pastor. His church is an approved member of both The Gospel Coalition and 9Marks, as evidenced by being listed in their church listings.
Everything came to a screeching halt in early August of 2014. The details are currently a bit sketchy, but it seems R.W. Glenn may have been involved in some moral failures of the sexual nature. A recent screen capture of the Redeemer Bible Church website has this to say:
Below is an audio from a sermon recently preached at Redeemer Bible Church in which, reading between the lines, you can get a good idea of what has happened. Of interest to note is that John Piper visited the church the previous week and preached from the book of Ruth. The sermon is not available on the Redeemer website. The whole sermon from which the audio was taken can be viewed below the audio clip.
I am not out to crucify R.W. Glenn. The Bible says in James 3:2 “For we all stumble in many ways.” All humans struggle with sin. I pray for R.W. Glenn and his former church. That said, what is amazing to me is the fact that yet another leader in the YRR movement has met with major moral failure. I think it is time for us average christians to rethink the way we are “doing Christianity.” Do the parachurch organizations such as 9Marks, The Gospel Coalition and Together 4 the Gospel warrant the large following and loyal devotion of so many people? I quoted Carl Trueman in a previous post and he warned that these types of organizations were prone to come off the rails. It seems like he was prophetic in what he had to say. Our habit of elevating men to celebrity status, dare I say to the status of gods, sets them up for a fall. After all, what mere human can maintain his integrity when he is worshipped as some of these preachers are? Surely God is not pleased with this, and I know from experience that many young christians have their faith shattered when their celebrity pastor fails. Further, perhaps if these groups are spawning so many serious failures amongst the leaders their teachings also warrant scrutiny. 9Marks is real big on membership covenants. I personally believe they cannot defend their views biblically. I can also attest to the fact of how much abuse occurs as they subjectively choose to apply these contracts to their members. Many more items they subscribe to should also be questioned.
Take a look at who R.W. Glenn follows on Twitter. It’s like a who’s who of the Young, Restless and Reformed Celebrity Pastors Club. This is not to say that because Glenn is following somebody they are also corrupt, but it is interesting to note how the same “crowd” of celebrities hang out with each other, like the same organizations, etc. It does lend credence to the fact that there is a evangelical industrial complex.
Also of interest to me is how quickly Cruciform press has dumped R.W. Glenn’s latest book he c0-authored with Tim Challies. Below is an endorsement of the book by Jerry Bridges, a man tainted in my mind because he chose to speak at C.J. Mahaney’s church. Notice the date – August 4th.
The scandal seems to have come to light in early August. Cruciform Books, the company co-founded by Tim Challies, published “Modest” but now it seems they have dropped the book from their line-up. I searched their web page under “R.W. Glenn,” “Tim Challies” and “Modest” and came up empty. It can still be found on Amazon, as seen below.
Tim Challies refers to the Modest book on his Facebook page, but the link no longer works. His post just below the Modest one is now more than a bit ironic. I wonder if Challies will soon be coming out with an article telling us how to think biblically about R.W. Glenn? You know, just like the one he wrote titled “How To Think Biblically About C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries.”
I was able to find the Challies post here. Below is a screen shot of the blog article.
Additionally some Christian book stores have ceased selling Mark Driscoll’s books. Yet C.J. Mahaney’s books are still widely available. The last time I checked they were still onprominent display in the bookstore located in the lower level of the United Christian Church of Dubai. Anyone familiar with my story knows that I quit UCCD because they refused to step away from promoting (at times from the pulpit) C.J. Mahaney’s books. What gives? Driscoll’s and Glenn’s books are treated as if they had leprosy, rightly so; why not Mahaney’s? Inquiring minds want to know.