An Apology from Matt Chandler/Elders of The Village Church and a Statement of Forgiveness from Karen Hinkley

"Matt and Josh specifically told Karen, after further review of her situation, that she did have biblical grounds for divorce or annulment, that she should have been released from Covenant Membership as she requested and that she should not have been put under church discipline."

Statement to TVC Covenant Members (June 10, 2015)

"I know this is not the end of the story for many, but I believe it is the end of the story for me."

Karen Hinkley

http://www.thevillagechurch.net/about/staff/Matt Chandler

It appears that The Village Church / Karen Hinkley debacle is finally coming to a close, at least for Karen. 

In case you are not familiar with this situation, you can read about it at the following links:

Part 1    Part 2    WatcKeep Documentation

We have been in close contact with Karen Hinkley since before her annulment was granted and have been supporting her efforts to move on with her life. 

On Wednesday, May 27, Matt Chandler reached out to Karen via email, hoping to arrange a meeting with her.  After seeking counsel and praying about it, Karen agreed to the request. 

That face-to-face meeting took place last Wednesday (June 3).

Matt Chandler and the elders have just released a statement to covenant members of The Village Church, which you can read below. 

Karen Hinkley has also shared her thoughts in a statement, which we are pleased to publish.


Statement to The Village Church from Matt Chandler and the Elders

Covenant Members of The Village Church,

We want to update you regarding our review of The Village Church’s current care and discipline process, specifically our desire to repent where we have sinned against those we have not treated with the love and care we are called to give as shepherds under the authority of a holy, loving God. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to watch or listen to the sermon “W​anderer/Restorer” ​from May 31 before reading further. This email will review one specific situation and then give a brief update on the elders’ current work related to care and discipline at The Village.

Over the past few weeks, you received two emails explaining a sensitive and tragic situation involving Jordan Root and Karen Hinkley. Those emails were intended to provide clarity and insight into a fragile and complex series of events. Since we sent those emails, we have had the opportunity to gather more information, have more conversations and hear from more people.

Early on the morning of Wednesday, May 27, Matt Chandler sent a personal email to Karen asking to meet with her face­to­face in a place of her choosing. The following afternoon, the church sent an email to all Covenant Members in order to communicate our belief that we owed Karen an apology. Karen responded to Matt a few days later noting that she was encouraged but cautious and wanted time to seek counsel, pray and process before agreeing to a meeting. During weekend services on May 30­31, Matt’s sermon reiterated our desire to repent, ask forgiveness and seek out genuine reconciliation with anyone we treated unlovingly.. After the sermon was posted online, Karen responded with an email communicating her desire to meet with Lead Pastors Matt Chandler and Josh Patterson. On Wednesday, June 3, Matt and Josh met personally with Karen and a couple of Karen’s close friends. Karen’s friends extended gracious Christian hospitality by offering their home for the meeting.

Matt and Josh started the conversation by telling Karen that they were not there to defend the actions of The Village but to ask forgiveness. Matt and Josh specifically told Karen, after further review of her situation, that she did have biblical grounds for divorce or annulment, that she should have been released from Covenant Membership as she requested and that she should not have been put under church discipline. Matt and Josh reiterated that they were not there to defend the actions of The Village but simply to repent and hear from Karen directly. Karen’s response was seasoned with faith, hope and love. She graciously accepted the apology and extended forgiveness. This beautiful exchange set the tone for the rest of the day, which was spent trying to unwind stories, clarify confusion and discuss next steps. By the end of the meeting, Karen was satisfied that we had heard all of her concerns and was eager to see us follow through on some specific items.

In the days following the meeting with Karen, Josh and Brian Miller met with Dallas campus elders and staff to further examine our interactions with Karen and Jordan in a new light. As a result of these conversations, The Village Church is taking the following actions:

We are apologizing more specifically to Karen in front of you, our members. While Karen is no longer a member, we are doing so with her permission and cooperation. Some of the information in our original Covenant Member email sent on May 23 was insensitive and did not reflect the fuller picture we have learned through our subsequent meetings and conversations. We are sorry for our error and how it affected Karen.

While the gospel is certainly for all sinners and grace is available for Jordan, we believe that the nature of his sin requires treatment that is beyond what The Village has been able to offer—and we should have recognized our limitations earlier. Based on an external referral, we have engaged a Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider to counsel Jordan Root. We will vigilantly follow the recommendations of this counselor regarding necessary next steps.

We reached out to several individuals at SIM, including the president, to apologize for times when we did not fully heed their counsel and were perceived to be threatening. Also, we are working with SIM to continue in our long­standing partnership to take the gospel to the nations.

As we communicated in our previous emails, we believe that the policies and procedures that are currently in place at The Village Church to protect children and families are strong. However, that belief has not stopped us from diligently moving forward with a thorough assessment of our abuse prevention and reporting processes across all campuses. In the months to come, experts will be analyzing everything we do in this regard to ensure that we implement best practices across the board.

The elders have also already had several meetings, both small and large, to review our current practice and procedures. There will be definite changes to our system based on these meetings, including a much more patient process before a member enters formal church discipline. We also want to recognize that there is a time and place for specialized treatment that goes beyond the kind of care that we, or even a qualified biblical counselor, can offer. We are working on these new policies and procedures and will update you when they are complete.

As Covenant Members of The Village, you know that the Church is comprised of people who have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. As a result of this divine reconciliation, we have also been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). We are also called to an ongoing ethic of confession and repentance. Our hope in sending this email is to show you we are, by God’s grace, trying to do both of these things and to update you on the specific steps we are taking to repent and change. Reconciliation is often hard and painful, but it is always beautiful. Thank you for your patience and grace in this time. It is an honor and joy to serve you.


Statement from Karen Hinkley

As I laid in bed the night of December 16th, I wondered if I would wake up the next day and find myself in the middle of a crisis of faith. But by the grace of God, every morning since I’ve woken up with my faith intact and even strengthened. I believe that the only feasible explanation for this is that God had a plan for me that required me to trust Him. In His goodness, and in answer to the prayers of many of His people on my behalf, He has sustained my faith during the most trying of times, and He is now bringing this chapter to a close for me in the most beautiful of ways.

I woke up to an email from Matt Chandler the morning of May 27th. He apologized and sought forgiveness for not reaching out to me sooner, and he asked if I would consider sitting down with him and Josh Patterson face-to-face, with the sole purpose of hearing from me about the hurt I had experienced at the hands of The Village Church and what they could have done better. Naturally, I was skeptical at first, and I wrestled with whether I could trust his motives due to the timing of the email. But I decided to take a few days to pray, process, and seek counsel.

By Sunday, May 31st I had decided to take a leap of faith and meet with Matt and Josh. I knew it was a risk, but I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about repentance and reconciliation, and I felt that God was leading me to be willing to hear my brothers out. That evening I watched Matt’s sermon from the weekend online and was further encouraged in this direction. I sensed sincerity in his confession and apology. I emailed Matt, and we set up a meeting for Wednesday. We both communicated eager anticipation for what God might do.

As Wednesday approached I wasn’t sure what to expect. I chose to keep the meeting under strict confidence at that time, sharing it with only a few trusted friends so they could pray. I thought the meeting would have the best chance for success if it wasn’t a public spectacle from the beginning. Two of those friends graciously offered to host the meeting in their home and provide lunch for the five of us. It was clear to me that God was at work.

After sharing a meal together on Wednesday, the conversation turned to the reason we were there. Matt and Josh looked me in the eyes, apologized, and asked for forgiveness. They told me that they felt awful about how I had been treated. They said I had biblical grounds for annulment or divorce, that I should have been granted my withdrawal from membership immediately, and that I never should have been put under discipline. They wanted to hear anything I was willing to say about what had happened, and they promised to do everything they could to make it right and make sure that what happened to me never happened to anyone again. I thanked them for their obvious sincerity and forgave them.

We spent the next several hours talking about what had happened to me and what my concerns were. By the end of the day, Matt, Josh, my two friends and I were delighted to realize that we all wanted the same things for the same reasons. Matt and Josh promised many changes to come, and I have watched with joy over the past week as they have kept their word and begun to implement those changes. I believe the elders of The Village Church are showing fruit of genuine repentance, and I believe God will use them powerfully in the days to come.

I am praising God for what He has done, and I continue to be amazed by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to bring about reconciliation in the most unlikely circumstances. God is good, God is mighty, and God is faithful. All the time.

I know this is not the end of the story for many, but I believe it is the end of the story for me. This has been a long and difficult road both for me and for those who have walked closely with me, and I still have quite a bit of healing left to do. I believe it is time for me to move on in peace, trusting God to finish the good work He has started at The Village Church. I believe God is using what happened to me to do something beautiful, in His time and in His way, and for that I am exceedingly thankful.

In the Name of Jesus and for His sake,

Karen Hinkley


NOTE:  We will be doing a full analysis of this situation on Monday. 

Comments

An Apology from Matt Chandler/Elders of The Village Church and a Statement of Forgiveness from Karen Hinkley — 793 Comments

  1. Oh that is excellent. And even though their theology remains upside-down and backward, still yet people’s hearts can be opened and good things can happen.

  2. Pingback: Matt Chandler, TVC and Karen Hinkley make peace... - Matthew Paul Turner

  3. “Based on an external referral, we have engaged a Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider to counsel Jordan Root. We will vigilantly follow the recommendations of this counselor regarding necessary next steps…We also want to recognize that there is a time and place for specialized treatment that goes beyond the kind of care that we, or even a qualified biblical counselor, can offer.”

    I’d like to see who/what, but this is particularly encouraging to me.

  4. I wish they had had the guts to say “We were wrong, and your choices were the right ones,” though…

  5. @ Li:

    A beautiful ending for Karen; however, there are others at The Village Church who may have been wrongly placed 'under discipline'.  I suspect that they may also deserve an apology.

    Church discipline is sometimes warranted, but it is my firm conviction that some elders are misusing it. :-(

  6. This is undoubtedly a positive turn of events and somewhat encouraging. However, for me the question remains: would this have happened without all the publicity and attention this case received?

    As they say, character is what you are in the dark. Only time and continued scrutiny will tell if there has been real change.

  7. I am happy for this outcome. It is really quite refreshing to see one of the celebrity pastors act as I believe Christ would have him act.

    I pray that they will now see fit to jettison the 9Marx view of church discipline. The fruit it has produced is rotten.

  8. @ John:

    The internet may be the best thing that has ever happened for the average churchgoer. Elders wield the power in most megachurches, but the world wide web has definitely leveled the playing field as this situation has clearly demonstrated.

    To God Be The Glory!

  9. Since we sent those emails, we have had the opportunity to gather more information, have more conversations and hear from more people.
    Some of the information in our email …did not reflect the fuller picture we have learned through our subsequent meetings and conversations.

    It’s not that we were wrong, it’s not that our policies are messed up. We just didn’t have enough information. Hmmmmm me thinks that public outcry was the catalyst.

  10. This is wonderful news! I applaud the elders for apologizing and seeking to change, and I applaud Karen for graciously accepting their apology. It took true humility on the part of the elders, and it took much forgiveness on the part of Karen. Well done to all! I pray God will bless them all for their love and obedience and turn what was an ugly blot into something beautiful for his glory.

  11. @ Kathryn Keller:

    Paternalistic: that's my impression as well. If they had been a bit more serious about issuing a real apology, they might have said that she had every right to make the decisions she did, and that they were *in the wrong* in their own. But that kind of wording is absent, which is discouraging.

  12. Pingback: Matt Chandler’s Apology: A Lot of Money Rides on This | The Thoughtful Pastor UNITED STATES

  13. They were doing well until this line…

    “Some of the information in our original Covenant Member email sent on May 23 was insensitive and did not reflect the fuller picture we have learned through our subsequent meetings and conversations.”

    That essentially says, “We made the right decision given the partial information we had. Once we received addition info, we were able to make a right-er one.”

    That begs the question, “what specifically did they find out after May 23 that they didn’t know before that resulted in the turnaround?”

    For all we know, “the fuller picture” was the backlash by the greater Christian community. Which may be the truth but not what someone would assume by the wording.

  14. I am also impressed that they reached out to SIM to apologize.

    As for others who have been treated wrongly in the past, perhaps this good resolution will give them the courage to seek a meeting with MC, as he has invited them to do.

  15. This is an encouraging turn of events and I am sure that Matt is deeply sorry for what happened. All of this continues to speak well of Karen Hinkley. However, it still does not deal with the underlying issue: the amount of control the all male elders have over members of TVC as well as the theology that has not and never will permit a female voice in a decision making capacity. Thus the set-up for abuse of the voiceless is still in place. I do hope, however, that the power of social media will give opportunity for other issues to come to light.

  16. numo wrote:

    I wish they had had the guts to say “We were wrong, and your choices were the right ones,” though…

    Well they did, more or less, as much as people with such crappy theology can do, seems to me: “Matt and Josh specifically told Karen, after further review of her situation, that she did have biblical grounds for divorce or annulment, that she should have been released from Covenant Membership as she requested and that she should not have been put under church discipline.Matt and Josh reiterated that they were not there to defend the actions of The Village but simply to repent and hear from Karen directly.”

    They would have done much better to apologize to Karen before going to the church with their email and sermon. I think putting her at the back of the line was incredibly rude, another sign of their backwards priorities.

    I dislike when people apologize with the expectation that they will be immediately forgiven. Forgiveness is a process–it just is. It might take Karen a while to make her forgiveness-offering effective in her own life. I hope she gives herself a generous dollop of healing time.

  17. This is good news. TVC and Matt Chandler have dissociated themselves from the abusive Act 29 Mars Hill Church of Mark Driscoll. In the case of the latter, Driscoll dug his heals in and refused to humble himself. The actions of Matt Chandler reveal a willingness to hear and listen to the victim of abuse. Let us hope for better things to come. God bless Karen Hinkley and her courage to stand firm and do the right thing in the face of so much opposition. To God be the glory. May the Lord open doors for Karen to continue to minister in Jesus’ name.

  18. Wow! I am VERY impressed by how Matt Chandler and TVC leadership has responded in this latest exchange. And I am SO glad they were willing to directly and publicly address this. It really warms my heart to see this apparent resolution and gladdens my heart to see TVC leadership respond this way.

  19. So is the lesson here that we all have to kick a** hard and loud in order to move these people over a few feet?

  20. nwhiker wrote:

    Since we sent those emails, we have had the opportunity to gather more information, have more conversations and hear from more people.
    Some of the information in our email …did not reflect the fuller picture we have learned through our subsequent meetings and conversations.
    It’s not that we were wrong, it’s not that our policies are messed up. We just didn’t have enough information. Hmmmmm me thinks that public outcry was the catalyst.

    I think it’s time to give Matt Chandler and TVC the benefit of the doubt. What they did in meeting with Karen is a positive step in the right direction. Even Karen’s letter shows graciousness and forgiveness in spite of all the wrongs that were done. How much more should we, who were not the victims in this case, be gracious toward TVC and Matt Chandler? I say this as someone who cannot defend most tenets of Calvinism, or TVC’s covenant membership.

  21. Sharon wrote:

    This is wonderful news! I applaud the elders for apologizing and seeking to change, and I applaud Karen for graciously accepting their apology. It took true humility on the part of the elders, and it took much forgiveness on the part of Karen. Well done to all! I pray God will bless them all for their love and obedience and turn what was an ugly blot into something beautiful for his glory.

    Amen, Sharon.

  22. This is encouraging. Been praying and God answers! I don’t think Acts29 is there yet, and I hope this is the beginning of real change, but this is a first step in the right direction. I did just have the thought, what if Mark Driscoll had humbled himself to meet with the Petry family and others in this way? What kind of goodness could have come out of his willingness to humble himself? Still much to pray for and work through. Happy for Karen!! God really has honored her honesty and courage to stand on truth. Praise the Lord!!!

  23. numo wrote:

    @ Kathryn Keller:
    Paternalistic: that’s my impression as well. If they had been a bit more serious about issuing a real apology, they might have said that she had every right to make the decisions she did, and that they were *in the wrong* in their own. But that kind of wording is absent, which is discouraging.

    If Karen is satisfied with their apology, and from all that she has said in her letter it seems that she is, then we should be supportive of Matt Chander and TVC’s actions in this regard. Of course time will tell. But for now, why be critical? Karen has forgiven those who mistreated her and this is the right and proper Christian response. Let us stand with her and do the same.

  24. This is better than I thought would happen. Sure, the elders saved some face, but even so they did the right thing. Whether there is more to do or not, who knows. But so far so good.

  25. It is amazing what God can do when there is so much publicity. I have a real problem giving God credit for this–it speaks to taking His Name in Vain—to me. I believe our Lord is grieved over their oppressive representation of Him as those appointed by Him to lord it over others in the first place.

    Seriously, if TVC changes their positions on church discipline, divorce and elder rule, the whole house of cards falls. For Acts 29, too, as the whole thing has been built on control and pet doctrines.

    It is sad that hurting someone so severely AND it going public is what it took for them to see the “error” of the response. I thought they were wise elders appointed by God to teach us? Was there no inkling of this error before it went public? No conviction from the Holy Spirit? I have a hard time equating bad publicity with the Holy Spirit moving.

    I see this as a very timely PR move that was necessary to stop the bleeding. I certainly would not trust them…ever. I think they are toxic and their teaching is toxic. I sure hope more will rethink going there at all and giving them any money.

    But if this brings closure for Karen, then more power to her. My biggest concern in this situation is Karen being able to move on in peace.

  26. Sharon wrote:

    I am also impressed that they reached out to SIM to apologize.
    As for others who have been treated wrongly in the past, perhaps this good resolution will give them the courage to seek a meeting with MC, as he has invited them to do.

    We can hope for better things to come based on Matt Chandler’s actions. Instead of acting like a celeb pastor above the fray, he humbled himself and personally met with Karen. This is quite unlike many other mega-celeb pastors.

  27. Darlene wrote:

    If Karen is satisfied with their apology, and from all that she has said in her letter it seems that she is, then we should be supportive of Matt Chander and TVC’s actions in this regard. Of course time will tell. But for now, why be critical? Karen has forgiven those who mistreated her and this is the right and proper Christian response. Let us stand with her and do the same.

    I don’t equate Karen’s forgiveness (I am all for individual freedom in this situation) with supporting Matt Chandler/TVC. I do not see the correlation. her forgiving them does not make their pet doctrines good or their elder control non oppressive.

  28. Christy Thomas wrote:

    This is an encouraging turn of events and I am sure that Matt is deeply sorry for what happened. All of this continues to speak well of Karen Hinkley. However, it still does not deal with the underlying issue: the amount of control the all male elders have over members of TVC as well as the theology that has not and never will permit a female voice in a decision making capacity. Thus the set-up for abuse of the voiceless is still in place. I do hope, however, that the power of social media will give opportunity for other issues to come to light.

    Christy, the all male elders is a hallmark of their Calvinist theology. In order for them to change, they would have to disassociate themselves from Calvinism, and by extension, Acts 29 and all other Calvinist churches. They would have to do a complete overhaul of their theological tenets. I really can’t see that happening.

  29. The most important thing for me here is that Karen herself is satisfied with the repentance of those who wronged her; I believe her in this matter just as I believed her when she spoke of how she had been wronged.

    The second most important thing is that for Village Church to reconsider its use of church discipline–even to slow down its implementation–is serious progress, and will cause other churches to reconsider as well. It may not go as far as some (including myself) would like, but it moves in the right direction: towards caring for the sheep instead of privileging the shepherds.

    As someone who has been on the receiving end of spiritual abuse including the misapplication of church discipline, I would never feel safe attending Village Church. But I appreciate what they have done to repent and reconcile in this instance.

  30. @ Patrice:

    Did their hearts really move over? Only time will tell. But they had best be prepared to lose a lot of control and money if it is real. More people will be emboldened to disagree…and publicly.

  31. Darlene wrote:

    I think it’s time to give Matt Chandler and TVC the benefit of the doubt.

    Well, no.

    They get the benefit of the doubt in Karen’s case because they at least met with Karen, they sortakinda apologized to her, and it seems she is satisfied on her part. That is between TVC and Karen.

    Let me make this clear though, just because TVC apologized to one woman DOES NOT MAKE ALL ACTS 29 CHURCHES SAFE AND BETTER. If people think that this reflects any kind of change nationwide or even at TVC, they are wrong. We have seen no change in their doctrine at all. Acts29 are independent churches as far as their interaction with own membership is concerned.

  32. I’m noting how many of the commenters are complaining that the repentance expressed by TVC is not perfect enough. It strikes me as a straining of gnats but ignoring the camel.

    The repentance of MC and TVC was apparently fully and freely accepted by Karen, who was actually present to hear all the nuance of what they said. She strikes me as a strong woman, not one to allow others to walk over her. And one whose recent experience would make her harder to convince. Those of us without standing to actually rule on this issue should trust Karen’s judgment.

  33. Darlene wrote:

    Instead of acting like a celeb pastor above the fray, he humbled himself and personally met with Karen.

    I don’t get it. He only did what he should have done in the first place. We are so used to the terrible behavior of mega pastors that we think MC is extraordinary now because he did something that should be normal. That says a lot about how pastors are viewed in Christendom.

  34. Lydia wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    If Karen is satisfied with their apology, and from all that she has said in her letter it seems that she is, then we should be supportive of Matt Chander and TVC’s actions in this regard. Of course time will tell. But for now, why be critical? Karen has forgiven those who mistreated her and this is the right and proper Christian response. Let us stand with her and do the same.
    I don’t equate Karen’s forgiveness (I am all for individual freedom in this situation) with supporting Matt Chandler/TVC. I do not see the correlation. her forgiving them does not make their pet doctrines good or their elder control non oppressive.

    Lydia, I never said that forgiving TVC and MC constitutes approving of their pet doctrines and oppressive elder control. I am specifically referencing Matt Chandler’s willingness to *personally* meet with her and apologize for the abuse done to Karen. As far as their views on elders, church discipline and complementarianism, that is where I part ways with them. But nonetheless, despite what you or I or anyone else might perceive to be faulty and seriously flawed theology, the fact that TVC and Matt Chandler humbled themselves and apologized is a step in the right direction. We should at least be willing to extend some grace and compassion in this regard.

  35. rike wrote:

    The most important thing for me here is that Karen herself is satisfied with the repentance of those who wronged her; I believe her in this matter just as I believed her when she spoke of how she had been wronged.
    The second most important thing is that for Village Church to reconsider its use of church discipline–even to slow down its implementation–is serious progress, and will cause other churches to reconsider as well. It may not go as far as some (including myself) would like, but it moves in the right direction: towards caring for the sheep instead of privileging the shepherds.
    As someone who has been on the receiving end of spiritual abuse including the misapplication of church discipline, I would never feel safe attending Village Church. But I appreciate what they have done to repent and reconcile in this instance.

    Rike, very well said.

  36. Lydia wrote:

    @ Patrice:
    Did their hearts really move over? Only time will tell. But they had best be prepared to lose a lot of control and money if it is real. More people will be emboldened to disagree…and publicly.

    It certainly goes to say that the Internet and social media aided in blowing this debacle wide open, and thus holding Matt Chandler and the elder’s feet to the fire. Whatever the means, it is a step – even if it is a baby step – in the right direction. Some popular celeb Christians, leaders/pastors don’t even humble themselves after their errors are disseminated into the world wide web. Jim Bob Duggar, Bill Gothard, Mark Driscoll anyone?

  37. Bridget wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    I think it’s time to give Matt Chandler and TVC the benefit of the doubt.
    Well, no.
    They get the benefit of the doubt in Karen’s case because they at least met with Karen, they sortakinda apologized to her, and it seems she is satisfied on her part. That is between TVC and Karen.
    Let me make this clear though, just because TVC apologized to one woman DOES NOT MAKE ALL ACTS 29 CHURCHES SAFE AND BETTER. If people think that this reflects any kind of change nationwide or even at TVC, they are wrong. We have seen no change in their doctrine at all. Acts29 are independent churches as far as their interaction with own membership is concerned.

    Bridget, that’s all I’m saying is that they get the benefit of the doubt in Karen’s case. if you read other comments of mine, I am not a defender of Acts 29 or Calvinist teaching, especially with regard to complimentarianism, all male elders, or church discipline.

  38. Bridget wrote:

    Let me make this clear though, just because TVC apologized to one woman DOES NOT MAKE ALL ACTS 29 CHURCHES SAFE AND BETTER. If people think that this reflects any kind of change nationwide or even at TVC, they are wrong. We have seen no change in their doctrine at all. Acts29 are independent churches as far as their interaction with own membership is concerned.

    Agreed.

  39. I am very pleasantly surprised that Matt Chandler met face-to-face with Karen and fully admitted they were wrong- sadly, that almost never happens with high-profile leaders, religious or secular. We can only hope this is the first step for TVC toward a truly loving and caring attitude on their party, in their practice and their doctrine.

  40. First off, this would never had happened without the immense publicity.

    Secondly, Matt and Josh did the right thing by asking forgiveness and not defending themselves.

    Lastly, I agree that they are still wording things in a way that seems paternalistic-but it’s still a step in the right direction and light years away from the responses of Mahaney & Driscoll.

    I’m glad for Karen that she has been publicly cleared of any wrong doing and can move on.

  41. I was in the room when Ed Young raised his fist and, combatively, shook it at the investigative news reporter and the vile media for the private jet controversy. His goal that weekend was to woo the average attender into a “woe is me” opinion and build a greater foundation on which to continue his personal use and personal enrichment of church resources and committed attenders who regularly brought tithes and offerings. As always, Ed passed the plate that weekend with a plea to be obedient and give Ed the 10%.

    I was also in the room two weekends ago when Matt Chandler gave his message of confession and repentance.

    One of these is not like the other.

    I have never seen or heard of one of the “megas” actually going in public, in person and on media, and saying, “I was wrong, I sinned, please forgive me”.

    If Ed had done that all those years ago, Fellowship Church would likely not be the fraction of the church it once was.

    Sin. Confess. Forgiveness. Repeat. That’s the Good News.

  42. Darlene wrote:

    Lydia, I never said that forgiving TVC and MC constitutes approving of their pet doctrines and oppressive elder control. I am specifically referencing Matt Chandler’s willingness to *personally* meet with her and apologize for the abuse done to Karen. As far as their views on elders, church discipline and complementarianism, that is where I part ways with them. But nonetheless, despite what you or I or anyone else might perceive to be faulty and seriously flawed theology, the fact that TVC and Matt Chandler humbled themselves and apologized is a step in the right direction. We should at least be willing to extend some grace and compassion in this regard.

    I agree with Darlene here, and I did not read her initial comment at 4:47 as giving carte blanche to TVC. She said we should support these actions in the right direction, and “time will tell.”

  43. “The most important thing for me here is that Karen herself is satisfied with the repentance of those who wronged her; I believe her in this matter just as I believed her when she spoke of how she had been wronged.”

    I underscore and concur with Rike’s comment above. There’s no free pass given to MC and the TVC elders. There are still drastic changes that need to occur over at TVC. However, in this specific case Karen is ready to move on. I have no reason not to believe her very public letter that she has forgiven all those who wronged and mistreated her at TVC. This shows Christian character – that she is compassionate and kind even toward those who did harm. Yet, I think it is extremely wise for her to move on. Wounds take time to heal.

  44. I find this deeply encouraging. Matt Chandler was able to do what CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll could not do. Some of what transpired is what I suggested would should take place. You can read what I thought would be good and sincere repentance here.

    https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/the-village-churchs-letter-of-apology-to-karen-hinkley-part-2-an-analysis-of-the-apology-and-how-it-falls-short/

    The one thing I would like to challenge everyone here toward is to encourage Matt Chandler and The Village Church forward in this act. Lets be honest it easy to become cynical and suspicious. And I can’t blame you if you are…but the other pit fall to avoid is when something sincere happens and out of cynicism it is missed. I have a lot of respect for Matt Chandler in how this was handled and what was done. If CJ Mahaney would have done this would there have been a lawsuit? No… If Mark Driscoll would have done this and repented would things have gone the way they have.

    I find this encouraging and I think we should support and encourage Matt Chandler forward in this. While I disagree with Neo-Calvinism for a whole host of reasons I want to encourage it to reform, change and do the right thing. This was a major step forward. Now The Village Church needs to make sure all the other cases of discipline were handled properly.

    But I am pleased by this and find this to be a major step forward. Like I have said in my blog I am not trying to be cynical for the sake of being cynical. I am not trying to nurse a grudge. I honestly want to be proven wrong. And stuff like this is all I want to see.

    Good job Matt…you have my respect in many ways.

  45. David Denis wrote:

    I’m noting how many of the commenters are complaining that the repentance expressed by TVC is not perfect enough. It strikes me as a straining of gnats but ignoring the camel.
    The repentance of MC and TVC was apparently fully and freely accepted by Karen, who was actually present to hear all the nuance of what they said. She strikes me as a strong woman, not one to allow others to walk over her. And one whose recent experience would make her harder to convince. Those of us without standing to actually rule on this issue should trust Karen’s judgment.

    David, excellent response! You said it far better than I have been able to do. Thank you.

  46. Bridget wrote:

    Let me make this clear though, just because TVC apologized to one woman DOES NOT MAKE ALL ACTS 29 CHURCHES SAFE AND BETTER. If people think that this reflects any kind of change nationwide or even at TVC, they are wrong. We have seen no change in their doctrine at all. Acts29 are independent churches as far as their interaction with own membership is concerned.

    No one here has said this makes all Acts 29 churches safe and better. But this obviously does reflect a change at TVC. They said Karen should not have been put under discipline, and they apologized. That is a change. They have publicly offered to apologize to others they have hurt. That is a change. Good job, TVC. Keep going in this direction!

  47. Bridget wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    Instead of acting like a celeb pastor above the fray, he humbled himself and personally met with Karen.
    I don’t get it. He only did what he should have done in the first place. We are so used to the terrible behavior of mega pastors that we think MC is extraordinary now because he did something that should be normal. That says a lot about how pastors are viewed in Christendom.

    Nope, never said MC is extraordinary. I have no regard for celeb pastor status. He did do the right thing, after not doing the right thing for several months. He could have continued in the same vein as Mark Driscoll and C J Mahaney. He at least showed that he is willing to depart from the status quo in this regard. Of course time will tell as to how much more fruit this will bear in the life of The Village Church. So, we will have to wait and see.

  48. Lydia wrote:

    @ Patrice:
    Did their hearts really move over? Only time will tell. But they had best be prepared to lose a lot of control and money if it is real. More people will be emboldened to disagree…and publicly.

    It seems to me they have moved over. They couldn’t have gone the Driscoll route, but they might’ve gone the full-out Piper route, plus doubled down on Acts29 and 9Marks memes. Most of their peeps would have approved of that. But they didn’t.

    They agreed that:
    1. treatment for Jordan is beyond their ability (even beyond “biblical counseling” which is quite an admittance) and said they’re getting expert help for him.
    2. Karen had full rights to get an annulment.
    3. Karen had full rights to quit her membership
    3. they messed things up with SIM

    Yeah, they’re still pompous and condescending. I hope you’re wrong about their steps (if followed through as proposed) causing a backlash. Seems to me more likely that their peeps will fall in line behind with even more self-righteous pride than they had before. There are some fiercely ignorant/arrogant people in that bunch—mostly followers, but a few cranks, so I don’t know. Gah.

    I hope more people do come forward to them and also to our dear bloggers, to keep pressure on.

    I am surprised that they had this much in them—I really didn’t expect it.

  49. JeffT wrote:

    I am very pleasantly surprised that Matt Chandler met face-to-face with Karen and fully admitted they were wrong- sadly, that almost never happens with high-profile leaders, religious or secular. We can only hope this is the first step for TVC toward a truly loving and caring attitude on their party, in their practice and their doctrine.

    I agree, Jeff.

  50. Pingback: Update: Good News Regarding Karen Hinkley, Matt Chandler, and The Village Church | Divorce Minister

  51. David Denis wrote:

    The repentance of MC and TVC was apparently fully and freely accepted by Karen, who was actually present to hear all the nuance of what they said….Those of us without standing to actually rule on this issue should trust Karen’s judgment.

    David, Karen herself wrote that the work isn’t over. “I know this is not the end of the story for many, but I believe it is the end of the story for me…. I believe it is time for me to move on in peace, trusting God to finish the good work He has started at The Village Church. I believe God is using what happened to me to do something beautiful, in His time and in His way….”

    The good work at the Village began when a bunch of bloggers and their commenters began insistently critiquing the theology/practices of these church people.

    Something beautiful is on its way but the work is not finished. I hope critique will continue until they get back to where they once belonged.

  52. I am sure that Matt Chandler and TVC are all too aware that bloggers and social media are watching. Will this cause them to be much more cautious in their church discipline? More than likely, yes. Is this a good thing? Yes and no. Instead of just the elders at TVC being in control of what goes on behind church doors regarding discipline, now members at TVC know they have recourse to outside sources, such as what Karen made use of. However, it shouldn’t have had to come to outside pressure for MC and TVC elders to do the right thing. The conviction of the Holy Spirit should have prodded them toward compassion and humility from the get go. Hopefully, this is a lesson learned not only for TVC, but all churches who are so visibly in the public eye.

  53. @ Lydia:
    I agree totally. The business world does a failure analysis and the exact causes and sequence of events leading to the failure are exposed and analyzed. When a plane crashes or a high-rise pancakes, no one in the circle of responsibility gets applause because they decided to go to a meeting. As far as I can see in this situation, that kind of brutal but necessary analysis and exposure has not happened.

    From all appearances, the only thing that prompted this sort-of turnaround is very bad publicity and ongoing pressure to which those responsible have responded in increments. Particularly glaring is the “additional information” dodge of responsibility. If they want to own it 110% and avoid this sin again, then they need to clearly say openly how this went so haywire and why. There was ample information available to make a mature and godly decision from the outset, but other factors intervened. What were those factors and why did they govern? Until those are named and claimed, we can expect this to happen again and again.

    For those who want to give Chandler and the others the benefit of the doubt, I say why do they have that privilege when they are supposed to set an example for the flock? They are supposed to be held to a higher standard, not a lower one. I do not understand why Chandler gets credit for meeting with her He is holding himself out as her pastor! Of course he should be willing to meet with her. He is blessed that she agreed to meet with him, not the other way around, ISTM. So much of this entire debacle is upside-down, backward, and inside-out.

    Some have said that it would be too much for them to give up their toxic doctrines because that is who they are. Why should they not do that if they are really all about Jesus? If this meltdown, in the wake of Mars Hill and SGM, does not cause a microscopic examination by them of their doctrine and the resulting practice, then they are truly beyond hope and we can expect more victims. However, I do believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to convict men of their sin, including sinful doctrines and practices. For the sake of the other inevitable victims in the future, I pray that these men will just stop and think and study and pray. And listen. Even to women, perish the thought!

    For Karen, I am thankful that she has found some peace and a path forward from this nightmare. I pray that the Lord will bless her life going forward. This older woman has been inspired by her strength and her endurance and her grace under a severe trial. She bears the image of Christ. She has set an example for the men who were holding themselves up as leaders. May God grant them eyes to see and ears to hear.

  54. David Denis wrote:

    I’m noting how many of the commenters are complaining that the repentance expressed by TVC is not perfect enough. It strikes me as a straining of gnats but ignoring the camel.

    I am not asking for a “perfect enough” apology. I am asking for a frank acknowledgement of the sin that occurred and why it occurred so that it does not happen again. If that is being a gnat-strainer, then count me as a gnat-strainer.

    The cause of this is toxic doctrines taught by these men which produces a mindset that has permeated much of the conservative church and which repeatedly brings shame on the name of Christ. I do not believe it is gnat-straining to wonder when anyone in this circle of friends will get it and then do something about it, even if that costs them something.

  55. Sharon wrote:

    But this obviously does reflect a change at TVC. They said Karen should not have been put under discipline, and they apologized. That is a change.

    An apology is not change. Change is change. So far we have an apology of sorts coupled with ongoing excuses for what they did to her. If we applied this standard in the real world, people would be apoplectic. And rightly so.

    Obviously, I have the wrong idea about where the higher standards should be.

  56. I’m looking for help here, if anybody knows the answer…. Based on the nature of the statements where Matt and Josh state this never should have happened in the first place, are they implying that the actions taken towards Karen were from rogue pastors at North Dallas? It sort of sounds that way. If they were rogue actions then the problem is more easily resolved and perhaps not so systemic. Some campuses sort of do go off in their own direction on how the day to day is managed. Not all pastors make good managers. The answer, for me, does matter because the people close to me attending TVC go to Flower Mound, not North Dallas. There may be less to overcome at FM.

    I am so grateful that Karen is receiving both peace and reconciliation on this. Praise God. I pray that other abusive pastors and churches try to learn from this. I doubt Mark Driscoll would have gotten the heave oh from Hillsong last week had he responded more like Matt. I really hope that he thinks about this and decides to humble himself like Matt did and face the many people he hurt. Thank God for this blog. Deb is so right about their power to help the abused be heard and to help level the playing field. Thanks so much Deebs for providing this healing place and road to justice for the abused. This is no small thing you have accomplished!

  57. OK, maybe it is low blood sugar and I need some ice cream. But since when did Mark Driscoll and C.J. Mahaney and Ed Young set the bar for Christian leadership such that anyone who does better than their disgraceful performances gets a sticker?

  58. Oh, so you all forgive each other now? How wonderful for you. But since nobody has yet named the Asian country where all this happened, that makes you accessories to child abuse. No, it’s not enough to privately contact the churches involved–you have to report it to the authorities, even if they end up closing down your missionary operations. Otherwise, you are part of the cover-up.

  59. For what it’s worth, I am attempting to analyze this at two levels, both dealing with systems. As best I can discern from having read all 37 pages of the original documentation provided in the Watchkeep and TWW posts, and the above apology twice, these two leaders who represent The Village Church have touched on all the key issues of concern — at least in the “micro system” of the specific situation dealing with Karen Hinkley and Jordan Root. I also believe the leadership has additional work to attend to in the “macro system” involved.

    THE MICRO SYSTEM.

    Overall impression: Matt Chandler and Josh Patterson as representatives of the top leadership of The Village Church — who are morally, ethically, and (presumably) legally responsible for actions taken by the elders, staff, corporation, Covenant Membership, and congregation — took a series of important steps toward resolution of this particular situation. Their “Statement to The Village Church” was helpful for being factual and specific.

    They personally apologized to Karen Hinkley, acknowledged specific errors in judgment they made. They appear to have addressed the key issues of her concern as reported in a series of posts on Watch Keep and The Wartburg Watch blogs (i.e., right to annulment, right to withdraw her membership, and she should not have been put under church discipline retroactively or at all).

    They personally apologized to the congregation for insensitivity in their mass communications and its resulting negative impact on Karen Hinkley.

    They addressed their error in judgment regarding their ability to handle the deep-seated sin issues of Jordan Root in-house. It appears they have promised their congregation to let the Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider they hired lead them in how to respond wisely from here.

    They addressed their failures in regard to SIM and noted their apologies.

    They noted their plans to carry through on evaluations of further steps which can be taken regarding child safety, and also of their practices and procedures for church discipline. With regard to church discipline, it appears they are also acknowledging their in-house limitations to deal with the sin issues that require specialized treatment.

    These are all substantive steps in the micro system involving The Village Church and to the individuals and outside entities (like SIM) directly affected.

    I believe the leadership should be commended for this. Period. I am glad they have done this for the sake of TVC and also for Karen Hinkley. I am especially glad that she feels the freedom to move forward, and that the slate is clear between them and her. There may be other issues to address about communications and reporting, etc., but at least there has been substantial progress on the rest.

    THE MACRO SYSTEM.

    That said, I do believe the leadership has more to attend to in the macro system involved here, in situations and networks that go beyond this one specific symptom.

    In the apology sermon by Matt Chandler, he publicly welcomed others who had grievances about discipline to contact TVC/its leaders. These situations will be watched as well; hopefully there is constructive resolution for them, too.

    Meanwhile, in a larger system of Christian influence, The Village Church is seen as the flagship in the Acts29 network. It is a member of the ECFA/Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. And Matt Chandler holds what appears to be significant influence within at least The Gospel Coalition, Together For the Gospel, and the broader Resurgence / Neo-Calvinist / Neo-Puritan movement.

    I suspect members of these other organizations and movements have been watching how things have unfolded. I hope that Matt Chandler and other leaders in The Village Church will now use the follow-through on these peace-making developments to examine a few key doctrinal issues on leadership, and to use their influence to invite others to do so as well.

    I do not expect them to give up their form of Reformed-Calvinist theology. I do not expect them to alter their hierarchical view of leadership. However, I do hope they at least examine whether their particular stance on the roles and rulership by elders as it has played out actually contravenes the Reformation principle of “priesthood of every believer,” and also where it aligns with Shepherding Movement theology.

    Regardless of sincerity of intent by elders and staff, many of their actions and communications issued earlier during this situation with Karen Hinkley gave every indication of leaders acting as mediators between God and disciples, and as abusive dictators over the flock. I saw what the Shepherding Movement did to Christian friends of mine 30 years ago, and in some cases it devastated their faith when leaders acted in untrustworthy ways, dictating behaviors where the Scriptures gave freedom. Such legalism and perfectionism is decried in the New Testament for keeping disciples in spiritual infancy.

    I saw what appeared to be similar kinds of maltreatment going on here. That kind of overlording needs to be prevented. If it is not, I expect that consequences of that in the future will be amplified because more and more survivors of abuse are willing to take action and shine the light on doctrines and practices and alleged perpetrators. It is far less likely to escape public notice.

    So, this is an opportune season to examine the roles and rulership issues of leadership structures. I hope they will do so, and I expect many individuals and entities will be monitoring what happens.

  60. So, God DOES use bloggers and social media “agitators” to bring about positive changes in His church! Who knew?

    This seems like a very positive turn of events, and I’m thankful that Karen received and felt able to accept the apology that she very much deserved.

    Thanks Dee, Deb, JA, and all of the others who brought this abuse of church “authority” and mistreatment of Karen into the public eye and did not stop seeking justice.

  61. David Denis wrote:

    I’m noting how many of the commenters are complaining that the repentance expressed by TVC is not perfect enough. It strikes me as a straining of gnats but ignoring the camel.

    So how does repentence as in metanoia….a “from…to” total complete change of direction/behavior work in your world? Is it really instantaneous and all the wrong doctrine, controlling behavior is going to be disbanded immediately? Or are “the elders” going to “revisit” their covenant and announce to everyone it is “improved”?

    It seems so much of evangelicalism really equate “apology” with “repentance”. Not the same thing at all.

  62. @ Darlene:

    “We can hope for better things to come based on Matt Chandler’s actions. Instead of acting like a celeb pastor above the fray, he humbled himself and personally met with Karen. This is quite unlike many other mega-celeb pastors.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    that we are so impressed that a pastor actually was humble and actually met with someone he was responsible for devastating…. i’m feeling like i did when i first smelled fermaldehyde in 7th grade science.

  63. Gram3 wrote:

    OK, maybe it is low blood sugar and I need some ice cream. But since when did Mark Driscoll and C.J. Mahaney and Ed Young set the bar for Christian leadership such that anyone who does better than their disgraceful performances gets a sticker?

    Unfortunately, it seems that the standards of behavior of chiristain leaders is at a low point…. But the “Great” leaders of the past do not seem so great either when you start to peal away the superficial layer….. Martin Luther wrote so pretty nasty things about Jews, and John Calvin treated, or indirectly treated people pretty bad…. So, the real issues is that we all need to get away from putting anyone on a pedestal, and we should not follow any Christain leader that thinks he/she is any better, or anointed, or “apostic” or anything else… “Even the best of men, are men at best”. … I think the issue is more of this stupid ” celebrity pastor” stuff these days…… What a joke..

  64. Darlene wrote:

    Lydia, I never said that forgiving TVC and MC constitutes approving of their pet doctrines and oppressive elder control. I am specifically referencing Matt Chandler’s willingness to *personally* meet with her and apologize for the abuse done to Karen. As far as their views on elders, church discipline and complementarianism, that is where I part ways with them. But nonetheless, despite what you or I or anyone else might perceive to be faulty and seriously flawed theology, the fact that TVC and Matt Chandler humbled themselves and apologized is a step in the right direction. We should at least be willing to extend some grace and compassion in this regard.

    Darlene, Don’t pay any attention to me. I come from the mega world of communications/PR/Marketing. I know how it goes when the “great one” actually “humble” themselves and honor a lowly pewsitter with their presence when the publicity is so bad it warrants it if they don’t want a financial crisis. (And yes, money dries up real quick but the cash flow needs are still there)

    We tend to be impressed when the celebs do this. My question is why we even have Christian celebs. And why are we impressed when they look like they are humbling themselves after a major PR disaster?

    I think the reason people respond the way they do is they think it is Christian to do so. NObody wants to be the cynic and say God is not working. I come from the other side and think it chilling to ascribe to God what might not be His at all. And that is because I saw it way too many times done to maintain the system.

    In my former world, this would be the equivelant of the photo opportunity at the soup kitchen. I saw too much so am a cynic when it comes to those who make bank and fame off Jesus. My guess is that Matt Chandler still believes what he believed before this went viral. They (TVC/ACts 29) will just be smarter next time.

  65. @ Darlene:

    “Christy, the all male elders is a hallmark of their Calvinist theology. In order for them to change, they would have to disassociate themselves from Calvinism, and by extension, Acts 29 and all other Calvinist churches. They would have to do a complete overhaul of their theological tenets. I really can’t see that happening.”
    +++++++++++++++

    Darlene, i’m sure Christy knows this (as I suspect most commenters here do). Such theological hallmarks are untenable. Whether or not you can see them doing an overhaul is beside the point.

  66. @ Jeff Chalmers:
    Indeed we should stop the idolatry of humans and doctrinal systems. Our Christianity is so lukewarm and feel-good and go-along-to-get-along and so rah-rah that it has become bland and banal. Like salt that has lost its savor. Where are the leaders today? I mean the ones who look like Christ? Why are we so excited with mediocrity? Why do we value the words of strength rather than real strength? I do not get it. At all. I fear that we are so malnourished that we can no longer tolerate real food.

  67. TVC is not acknowledging the role their theology or their views about women played in this, but the rest of it appears pretty good, or is a step in the right direction.

    What I find amusing is that TVC members or attenders were defending all this on social media, or on this blog, but TVC ended up admitting they were in error on most of the things we all said they were in error on all along. :)

    Like someone said earlier, I do wonder if Karen’s case had not received so much attention from the blogging community, would TVC have gone this route?

    Does it really take a big blow up on blogs and social media for churches to really consider they maybe owe someone an apology and a retooling of their discipline processes?

  68. I am very glad this happened hopefully it will become the norm in such church issues. It would not have happened without external pressure brought about by public scrutiny.

  69. @ Patrice:

    You know, I have a totally different perspective after my years in that world. I don’t wait for the leaders to change. They are masters at audience manipulation because to get to where they are, they have to be. Instead, I pray fervently the pew sitters who follow them wake up and get out.

  70. @ David Denis:

    I think that it is very important for everyone to express their opinions on what has happened. Part of the problem with many churches is a closed system and everybody expresses the same opinion. If you want to engage the world around you it is important for you to hear what the world is saying.

    This blog is a good place for you to hear these opinions since we have a diverse readership.

    You might be interested in reading my thoughts on this entire matter on Monday. I was involved in this because of my relationship with Karen.

    Those who do not learn are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. If I were you I would thank people for their true and honest opinions.

  71. @ Lydia:
    I don’t know exactly what you have witnessed, but I have personally witnessed the backstage maneuvering in the wake of a major PR disaster in a mega-church resulting in a hemorrhage of members/giving units. The same incremental approach to damage control, the same face-time with the “right” people, the backfilling by proxies, the subtle changes over time that are never frankly acknowledged. I don’t know if this is the same kind of thing, but it sure looks like it.

    I have hope that this could be a turning point for a lot of people, but that will be a real move of the Holy Spirit. I am at least reformed enough to recognize that the Holy Spirit uses means, including people who refuse to be silent and who strongly encourage the leaders to be leaders and not mere celebrities who do brand management.

  72. Lydia wrote:

    My question is why we even have Christian celebs.

    This is my question, too. It is so ‘of the world’.

  73. Daisy wrote:

    Does it really take a big blow up on blogs and social media for churches to really consider they maybe owe someone an apology and a retooling of their discipline processes?

    That appears to be the case, sadly. It is especially sad that people who mean well were drawn into approving and defending things which even the leaders at The Village now, finally, acknowledge were wrong from the very beginning. People are too quick to follow the leader without stopping to ask whether they really want to be in that parade.

  74. @ David Denis:

    “I’m noting how many of the commenters are complaining that the repentance expressed by TVC is not perfect enough. It strikes me as a straining of gnats but ignoring the camel.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    I do appreciate the fact of the forward stride (however compelled by negative publicity it may have been).

    I think you’re the one missing the camel, though: the fact that such pastoral totalitarian control has come to be popular in America.

    Another camel — that people are impressed and amazed that a pastor would be humble and apologize in person for ruining someone.

    Trust me — it is not complaining. it is disgust for the greater reality.

  75. @ Zla’od:
    We have not named The country at the request of Karen. There are other people from her mission team who are still there. I can assure you that all involved are making sure there is follow up

    This is a sensitive issue. However if you look at our track record, you will notice our primary concern is for the safety of children

  76. roebuck wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    My question is why we even have Christian celebs.
    This is my question, too. It is so ‘of the world’.

    Because human beings want kings to provide for them and to provide their self-worth. Humans are basically tribal, IMO. We will crave kings when we have rejected the King.

  77. @ David Denis:

    I disagree. I’m seeing a mixed reply by most.

    While it’s good that this church apologized to this one particular woman over this specific situation, it doesn’t change the culture of their church, or the theology and sexist views under-girding it all, and which is what caused the whole thing.

    Karen getting an apology doesn’t change the underlying causes that led to this whole thing. I don’t think it’s nit picky or unfair to point that out or to be concerned about it.

  78. Bridget wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    Instead of acting like a celeb pastor above the fray, he humbled himself and personally met with Karen.
    —–
    Bridget said,
    I don’t get it. He only did what he should have done in the first place. We are so used to the terrible behavior of mega pastors that we think MC is extraordinary now because he did something that should be normal. That says a lot about how pastors are viewed in Christendom.

    That is a very good observation.

  79. elastigirl wrote:

    Trust me — it is not complaining. it is disgust for the greater reality.

    Well said. Ironic that someone complains about what he thinks others are complaining about because he thinks they should not be complaining about what he thinks is fine. It is a variation on the themes of “nobody’s perfect” and “no church is perfect” so “move on, people.” The thing is, that is exactly what was said while Mars Hill was imploding, while SGM was imploding, and how many other instances.

  80. @ brad/futuristguy:
    brad/futuristguy wrote:

    For what it’s worth, I am attempting to analyze this at two levels, both dealing with systems. As best I can discern from having read all 37 pages of the original documentation provided in the Watchkeep and TWW posts, and the above apology twice, these two leaders who represent The Village Church have touched on all the key issues of concern — at least in the “micro system” of the specific situation dealing with Karen Hinkley and Jordan Root. I also believe the leadership has additional work to attend to in the “macro system” involved.
    THE MICRO SYSTEM.
    Overall impression: Matt Chandler and Josh Patterson as representatives of the top leadership of The Village Church — who are morally, ethically, and (presumably) legally responsible for actions taken by the elders, staff, corporation, Covenant Membership, and congregation — took a series of important steps toward resolution of this particular situation. Their “Statement to The Village Church” was helpful for being factual and specific.
    They personally apologized to Karen Hinkley, acknowledged specific errors in judgment they made. They appear to have addressed the key issues of her concern as reported in a series of posts on Watch Keep and The Wartburg Watch blogs (i.e., right to annulment, right to withdraw her membership, and she should not have been put under church discipline retroactively or at all).
    They personally apologized to the congregation for insensitivity in their mass communications and its resulting negative impact on Karen Hinkley.
    They addressed their error in judgment regarding their ability to handle the deep-seated sin issues of Jordan Root in-house. It appears they have promised their congregation to let the Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider they hired lead them in how to respond wisely from here.
    They addressed their failures in regard to SIM and noted their apologies.
    They noted their plans to carry through on evaluations of further steps which can be taken regarding child safety, and also of their practices and procedures for church discipline. With regard to church discipline, it appears they are also acknowledging their in-house limitations to deal with the sin issues that require specialized treatment.
    These are all substantive steps in the micro system involving The Village Church and to the individuals and outside entities (like SIM) directly affected.
    I believe the leadership should be commended for this. Period. I am glad they have done this for the sake of TVC and also for Karen Hinkley. I am especially glad that she feels the freedom to move forward, and that the slate is clear between them and her. There may be other issues to address about communications and reporting, etc., but at least there has been substantial progress on the rest.
    THE MACRO SYSTEM.
    That said, I do believe the leadership has more to attend to in the macro system involved here, in situations and networks that go beyond this one specific symptom.
    In the apology sermon by Matt Chandler, he publicly welcomed others who had grievances about discipline to contact TVC/its leaders. These situations will be watched as well; hopefully there is constructive resolution for them, too.
    Meanwhile, in a larger system of Christian influence, The Village Church is seen as the flagship in the Acts29 network. It is a member of the ECFA/Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. And Matt Chandler holds what appears to be significant influence within at least The Gospel Coalition, Together For the Gospel, and the broader Resurgence / Neo-Calvinist / Neo-Puritan movement.
    I suspect members of these other organizations and movements have been watching how things have unfolded. I hope that Matt Chandler and other leaders in The Village Church will now use the follow-through on these peace-making developments to examine a few key doctrinal issues on leadership, and to use their influence to invite others to do so as well.
    I do not expect them to give up their form of Reformed-Calvinist theology. I do not expect them to alter their hierarchical view of leadership. However, I do hope they at least examine whether their particular stance on the roles and rulership by elders as it has played out actually contravenes the Reformation principle of “priesthood of every believer,” and also where it aligns with Shepherding Movement theology.
    Regardless of sincerity of intent by elders and staff, many of their actions and communications issued earlier during this situation with Karen Hinkley gave every indication of leaders acting as mediators between God and disciples, and as abusive dictators over the flock. I saw what the Shepherding Movement did to Christian friends of mine 30 years ago, and in some cases it devastated their faith when leaders acted in untrustworthy ways, dictating behaviors where the Scriptures gave freedom. Such legalism and perfectionism is decried in the New Testament for keeping disciples in spiritual infancy.
    I saw what appeared to be similar kinds of maltreatment going on here. That kind of overlording needs to be prevented. If it is not, I expect that consequences of that in the future will be amplified because more and more survivors of abuse are willing to take action and shine the light on doctrines and practices and alleged perpetrators. It is far less likely to escape public notice.
    So, this is an opportune season to examine the roles and rulership issues of leadership structures. I hope they will do so, and I expect many individuals and entities will be monitoring what happens.

    Amen

  81. Patrice wrote:

    They agreed that:
    1. treatment for Jordan is beyond their ability (even beyond “biblical counseling” which is quite an admittance) and said they’re getting expert help for him.

    I did find that very interesting both in this case and the Duggar one.

    If I had a nickel for every TVC/Root or Josh Duggar defender on social media who kept insisting that Jesus alone is sufficient to change a pedophile, and you don’t believe in Grace if you disagree, I’d be a multi- millionaire.

    Jesus may be able to heal anyone of anything, but more often than not, I don’t see him doing that.

    I see people with health or emotional problems who have to see medical doctors or psychiatrists and use eye glasses, asthma inhalers, insulin, anti- depressant medication, etc.

  82. Zla’od wrote:

    Oh, so you all forgive each other now? How wonderful for you. But since nobody has yet named the Asian country where all this happened, that makes you accessories to child abuse. No, it’s not enough to privately contact the churches involved–you have to report it to the authorities, even if they end up closing down your missionary operations. Otherwise, you are part of the cover-up.

    First, thank you for your sense of justice and outrage on behalf of exploited children, no matter where they are in the world.

    Like you, I have the same sense of outrage and a sense of justice for those children. So I filed a complaint with the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) about Jordan Root weeks ago. I gave I.C.E. the links to this website and others, like Watchkeep.

    I.C.E. is a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    I.C.E. has a special unit that works with other law enforcement departments around the world to stop sexual predators.
    http://www.ice.gov/predator

    from their website:

    “Predators Face Severe Penalties

    Several laws increase the probability that sexual predators who harm children will suffer severe consequences, including the Mann Act, the 1994 Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Act, the 2003 Protect Act and the 2006 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act.

    Federal law bars U.S. residents from engaging in sexual or pornographic activities anywhere in the world with a child under 18.

    ICE works with law enforcement agencies and advocacy groups around the globe to investigate crimes of this nature. Those convicted in the United States face significant penalties:
    •Up to 30 years in prison for possession, manufacture, distribution of child pornography
    •Up to 30 years in prison for traveling child sex offender, facilitator of sex with children, or a participant in these crimes
    •Up to a life sentence for sex trafficking children for prostitution”

  83. Bridget wrote:
    Gram3 wrote:

    Because human beings want kings to provide for them and to provide their self-worth. Humans are basically tribal, IMO. We will crave kings when we have rejected the King.

    Yes, history repeats itself over and over. The state of celebrity Christendom is King Saul all over again….the Jews begged for a king which made God angry because HE was their King. But God gave them one: King Saul. And still they did not learn that with God, they could govern themselves.

    Now, even King Jesus is not enough.

  84. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    I saw what appeared to be similar kinds of maltreatment going on here. That kind of overlording needs to be prevented. If it is not, I expect that consequences of that in the future will be amplified because more and more survivors of abuse are willing to take action and shine the light on doctrines and practices and alleged perpetrators. It is far less likely to escape public notice.

    I meant to expand some on what I was thinking there, but my other comment was already beyond long. (Wish I’d split that into two comments, but oh well — 20/20 hindsight.)

    Basically, this additional thought goes back to the potential liability issues for churches with legal contract membership covenants, based on how they carry out church discipline. The series of posts here on TWW about such contracts implied that defamation and harassment by the church could be prominent legal issues.

    In light of those posts, it appears Karen Hinkley took many wise, preemptive actions in her communications with TVC leaders. For instance, she submitted a signed notification of withdrawal of membership, on the day it was signed. She repeatedly asked TVC leaders to refrain from harassing her, as she was no longer a member due to her withdrawal.

    Because of significant advances in knowledge and courage in abuse survivor communities over the past five years, I just can’t shake this gut feeling that in the next five years and onward, church corporations may increasingly find themselves subjected to lawsuits for pastoral malpractice, defamation, and harassment. I believe this especially applies to those that require legal contract type membership covenants. The details of the situation involving The Village Church provides a case study in church discipline actions that could have had lawsuit ramifications for them.

    I understand that many Christians are hesitant to file lawsuits against other Christians, and that church and denomination-association-ministry movement leaders preach vehemently against such actions. However, there are interpretation issues involved with that passage. And meanwhile, what other options are available for survivors to challenge a state- and federally-recognized tax-exempt corporation as an entity whose representatives allegedly perpetrate evil, abusive actions on people? I personally believe the trajectory is already in place for filing lawsuits in attempts to prevent perpetuation of abuse.

    Those are the kinds of “amplified consequences” I had in mind in my other comment, and I have to wonder if these legal contract membership covenants will prove as airtight legally as their writers hope they are.

  85. Gram3 wrote:

    Ironic that someone complains about what he thinks others are complaining about because he thinks they should not be complaining about what he thinks is fine

    I can’t stop laughing…Gram, you have such a way with words!

  86. “We reached out to several individuals at SIM, including the president, to apologize for times when we did not fully heed their counsel and were perceived to be threatening”.–Matt Chandler and the Elders
    ++++++++++++++

    You are hiding behind language, Matt and the Elders. Cut the passive voice and putting the blame on SIM for how they perceived you. You threatened SIM. Own it and apologize for it.

  87. Haven’ t read all the comments,so I may be repeating. I’m glad Karen has forgiven them. I really think their apology was the best I could expect from them. They (Chandler/Elders) were unwise in how they got to the point of apology. They still have a male dominated style of hierarchy and chain of command leadership. I don’t think that is about to change any time soon.

  88. Lydia wrote:

    @ Patrice:
    You know, I have a totally different perspective after my years in that world. I don’t wait for the leaders to change. They are masters at audience manipulation because to get to where they are, they have to be. Instead, I pray fervently the pew sitters who follow them wake up and get out.

    Yeah, for sure, don’t wait. It’s hard for me to imagine how it is to be a member because that whole concept of church is alien to me. How would it be to find dissonance slowly building inside, and at what point would one finally recognize it and then gather enough courage to do something about it?

    The only thing I can compare it to, and I don’t know if that is accurate, is growing up/away from my abusive family of origin. My family of origin had no interest in making the necessary changes. If I were to survive, I had to do it; and so I did, slowly.

    I will keep in mind your skepticism born of experience. Somewhere on the path of over-privileged institutional leadership, there is apparently a point of no-return, after which nothing less than a lightning bolt could cause change. And since God doesn’t do much of that kind of thing….

  89. Am I really evil to be suspicious about their motives? If they hadn’t just witnessed Mark Driscoll tear ‘his’ mega-church down around his ears, and if there hadn’t been such a public outcry regarding this situation, would they have stopped and listened and apologised? Why did it take all this pain and effort to get them to do that? Before I experienced spiritual abuse myself, I would have been dancing in the aisles over this news, now I’m left wary and sad.

  90. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    I am happy for this outcome. It is really quite refreshing to see one of the celebrity pastors act as I believe Christ would have him act.

    I pray that they will now see fit to jettison the 9Marx view of church discipline. The fruit it has produced is rotten.

    Amen, Todd!

  91. elastigirl wrote:

    “We reached out to several individuals at SIM, including the president, to apologize for times when we did not fully heed their counsel and were perceived to be threatening”.–Matt Chandler and the Elders
    ++++++++++++++

    You are hiding behind language, Matt and the Elders. Cut the passive voice and putting the blame on SIM for how they perceived you. You threatened SIM. Own it and apologize for it.

    That’s exactly what I thought when I read that line.

  92. @ Gram3:

    These systems are built on image. It is their “product”. I cannot say it enough. The image is the product.

    So every single move is based upon image building/image perception/image management. People pay to go and be a part of that image. They identify with the image. Maintaining the image is everything because it is the product they sell people who give them money to be a part of it.

    If people understood the system and what it is really all about they would understand it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ at all. If they understood what it took to build the system, they would most likely find the same system building strategies very bad if done in business. That is because businesses could not get by with half of what these “Christian” large systems get by with.

    The whole thing is pure deception with Jesus lipstick, imo.

    Sorry I cannot be more “humble” about it. :o) And most folks will think I am horribly mean and insist cannot be all bad. Well even Stalin was studying to be a priest but he was more honest. :o)

    Anything focused on Jesus Christ as center does not evolve into these systems. It could not. It would not be possible.

  93. Gram3 wrote:

    roebuck wrote:
    Lydia wrote:
    My question is why we even have Christian celebs.
    This is my question, too. It is so ‘of the world’.

    Because human beings want kings to provide for them and to provide their self-worth. Humans are basically tribal, IMO. We will crave kings when we have rejected the King.

    Echoes of ancient Israel – some things never seem to change…

  94. elastigirl wrote:

    Cut the passive voice and putting the blame on SIM for how they perceived you. You threatened SIM. Own it and apologize for it.

    Now, now. I’m sure they ELDERS were merely insensitive in the way they reached out to SIM regarding continuing support for the other SIM missionaries. That wasn’t blackmail. It was leveraging their influence. They should have nuanced their leverage a bit more. Clearly they mishandled their communication with SIM. Also, SIM should have been more clear regarding Karen’s status so that the ELDERS did not get the impression that she was somehow disqualified.

    Any of the ELDERS or interns who are reading here: Just stop. This is not about PR. It is well past that, and you need to set an example. Be thankful that a gracious an courageous young women has provided you with an opportunity to examine the fruit of your toxic doctrines. Just stop and turn around before you or others like you hurt more people.

  95. I just want to point out that they would not be apologizing, they would not have to apologize at all, if they fostered a spirit of humility and learning, if they valued a spirit of listening over their own ability to control and dominate a narrative and the life of their sheep,and a spirit of learning instead of an attitude of jumping to conclusions and wielding authority. There was an abundance of counsel and information available to them from the very beginning,which they ignored in favor of arrogance and conceit. and that is what I wish that they had addressed. It is glaringly missing though…

  96. Daisy wrote:

    If I had a nickel for every TVC/Root or Josh Duggar defender on social media who kept insisting that Jesus alone is sufficient to change a pedophile, and you don’t believe in Grace if you disagree, I’d be a multi- millionaire.
    Jesus may be able to heal anyone of anything, but more often than not, I don’t see him doing that.

    Yes, so annoying!!

    I’ve never seen Jesus instantly heal anyone; maybe it happens but it is rare. It is ridiculous to insist that the rare is common.

    I think they are just being lazy, assuming a quick&easy solution. Insisting on it, even. But God doesn’t cooperate.

    He asks us to work out our salvation with respect and humility, using the tools at hand—the long slow route. And some routes are longer and more arduous than others.

    Apparently getting over such shallow assumptions requires a longer route. Oy

  97. @ Eagle:

    I agree, this is encouraging. Words rarely heard within the church hallways and gathering places … “I was wrong” or “I sinned” or “What I did hurt you” or “I seek your forgiveness” – at least within the circles I’ve spent my life. So, I want to believe this is genuine; and I believe this needs to happen regularly, by all in the church’ including leaders. So, I pray that this step by MC and TVC is sincere and will lead to other corrective steps!

  98. nwhiker wrote:

    Since we sent those emails, we have had the opportunity to gather more information, have more conversations and hear from more people.
    Some of the information in our email …did not reflect the fuller picture we have learned through our subsequent meetings and conversations.
    It’s not that we were wrong, it’s not that our policies are messed up. We just didn’t have enough information. Hmmmmm me thinks that public outcry was the catalyst.

    i agree with your statements totally but also i think that this particular episode is finished and i also forgive them for their handling of it, as they have asked Karen for forgiveness and made public statements admitting they were wrong. This means though that i think until they also change their policies and doctrines there will just be another Karen Hinkley or as someone else said there already are many like her unjustly under discipline. Good news is that what Karen has done is giving others the courage to stand up and speak out. Also the very best news, (and honestly i think TVC realized the legal implications or harboring a sex offender) is that no more hiding and not getting proper treatment of sex offenders in that church. Since Matt is the head of Acts 29 i would hope that it is a network wide change of policies in handling pedophiles.
    i liked what chandler said, but this again crept out, showing that there is still much to be learned by TVC about honestly admiting specific errors/sins and asking forgiveness and repenting or just painting them over: “We reached out to several individuals at SIM, including the president, to apologize for times when we did not fully heed their counsel and were perceived to be threatening. Also, we are working with SIM to continue in our long­standing partnership to take the gospel to the nations.” again, its that SIM ‘perceived’ them to be threatening, not that they outright threatened to pull funding of the other missionaries.

  99. Darlene wrote:

    This is good news. TVC and Matt Chandler have dissociated themselves from the abusive Act 29 Mars Hill Church of Mark Driscoll. In the case of the latter, Driscoll dug his heals in and refused to humble himself. The actions of Matt Chandler reveal a willingness to hear and listen to the victim of abuse. Let us hope for better things to come. God bless Karen Hinkley and her courage to stand firm and do the right thing in the face of so much opposition. To God be the glory. May the Lord open doors for Karen to continue to minister in Jesus’ name.

    i agree totally, and not just humbling themselves publicly but also having the dignity to say this about Karen in a male dominated culture known for disparaging women:
    “Karen’s response was seasoned with faith, hope and love. She graciously accepted the apology and extended forgiveness.”
    He publicly acknowledged her gifts and honorableness, that shows repentance to me, he could have just apologized and not said anything nice about her.

  100. @ David Denis:

    “Those of us without standing to actually rule on this issue should trust Karen’s judgment.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    I trust her.

    I also have standing. In the sense that I as the little guy (who has made it top priority to live for God and do my best for him [because he deserves it]) have been on the receiving end of the influence which people like Matt Chandler have over church leaders everywhere. Destructive influence, taking years to undo.

    I have standing to rule that, while the apology from Matt Chandler and the Elders was a good thing, its substance hinges on what changes are actually made as well as whether or not they will give other members whom they have harmed equal consideration and apology.

  101. @ Daisy:
    Well, according to ‘real’ Calvinism, Jesus doesn’t heal anyone. Healing implies that there is health that can be restored.

    I figure that TVC, in the face of a PR nightmare, decided to cut their losses in a battle that they were going to lose. I appreciate Karen’s stand for what was right and just. High fives to her and peace.

  102. elastigirl wrote:

    that we are so impressed that a pastor actually was humble and actually met with someone he was responsible for devastating…. i’m feeling like i did when i first smelled fermaldehyde in 7th grade science.

    yes and yes

  103. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    I understand that many Christians are hesitant to file lawsuits against other Christians, and that church and denomination-association-ministry movement leaders preach vehemently against such actions. However, there are interpretation issues involved with that passage.

    my interpretation of that is that churches have used it to keep members quiet instead of realizing that their church is so bad that members have had to resort to doing it. thats how i read what paul was saying in that scripture part.

  104. One major policy change i am taking away from this thing is that the churches stance on women annuling/divorcing pedophiles has changed. wonder if lots of women will be seeking annulments soon.

  105. some have said what if mark driscoll had humbled himself and apologized like matt chandler did. my horrified answer is that we would still have the same old mars hill doing the same old things, but as dee wrote days ago, doing it smiling and handing out free starbucks cards. or whatever she said that was so on target!

  106. sam wrote:

    some have said what if mark driscoll had humbled himself and apologized like matt chandler did. my horrified answer is that we would still have the same old mars hill doing the same old things, but as dee wrote days ago, doing it smiling and handing out free starbucks cards. or whatever she said that was so on target!

    i would note that i have never heard any of the mars hills pastors that were kicked out of their eldership repent of the doctrine or proceedures that resulted in the power/authoritative church that consumed them, only they seem to be upset that they shouldnt have been fired. i am not attacking any of them, i am just saying that its the doctrine and that hasnt changed, just new leadership or kinder or humbler leadership piloting the same destroyer full speed ahead.

  107. Patrice wrote:

    So is the lesson here that we all have to kick a** hard and loud in order to move these people over a few feet?

    That’s one way of putting it. And yeah TWW is good at it. That’s a good thing, because now with the advent of the internet, abusive religionists can no longer get away with what they got away with in the ‘good old days’.

  108. Lydia wrote:

    Was there no inkling of this error before it went public? No conviction from the Holy Spirit? I have a hard time equating bad publicity with the Holy Spirit moving.

    I don't have a hard time equating bad publicity with the Holy Spirit moving. It is entirely possible that God allowed and orchestrated the bad publicity to prick the consciences of leaders at TVC. There is a kind of Biblical precedent for this: Nathan confronting David -"Thou art the man!"

    I believe God is using the internet and blogs like this to be effectively Nathan confronting immoral Davids who are in leadership.

  109. ” Acts 29 Picks an Inopportune Time to Declare Complementarianism as a Primary Teaching”
    this also screams p.r. motives for apology today, no change in policies or realization of what they done and continue to do to people. My hope is that this small act of change by Matt Chandler is the jinga piece that will topple the whole game.

  110. sam wrote:

    My hope is that this small act of change by Matt Chandler is the jinga piece that will topple the whole game.

    I agree, Sam. Matt Chandler is uniquely positioned to be the one to make a difference for his generation and the ones to follow. Basically, he has a choice either to continue teaching the failed and toxic doctrines and practices which have caused so much pain and shame to the name of Christ or to decide to follow Christ and what the Bible actually says rather than what his mentors say it says. He has an opportunity to lead in the Christ-like sense rather than the Piper/Grudem/Driscoll sense. I don’t know which path he will choose, but I know which one I hope he will choose. The thing is that these young guys have been so indoctrinated that I don’t know what it will take to break the spell.

  111. elastigirl wrote:

    Another camel — that people are impressed and amazed that a pastor would be humble and apologize in person for ruining someone.
    Trust me — it is not complaining. it is disgust for the greater reality.

    And to @Lydia who has made similar points: That was a splash of cold water. Thanks for that. When you have become utterly desensitized to the arrogance, aloofness and condescension that Senior Megas command, with their armed body guards in constant attendance, it shifts your perspective. I do think what Matt did was incredible compared to his DFW mega peers who I am confident would never have humbled themselves so publicly. C’mon, that’s what lawyers and PR departments are for. It’s a sort of moral relativism, which is wrong, but I’m just explaining how some may think or feel. Matt didn’t yell or shun or attack extended family members. He didn’t have local PDs serve TROs to intimidate. He didn’t invent and circulate horrible false rumors about her. So Hurrah! Your reality hit hard that a shepherd tried to ruin a sheep who was at their most vulnerable and we all applaud. As a parent you always have to look for opportunities to praise good behavior so that it will be repeated. To that end, I do praise MC. However, very nice balance that elastigirl and Lydia are adding. Two true warriors.

  112. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    These are all substantive steps in the micro system involving The Village Church and to the individuals and outside entities (like SIM) directly affected.
    I believe the leadership should be commended for this. Period. I am glad they have done this for the sake of TVC and also for Karen Hinkley. I am especially glad that she feels the freedom to move forward, and that the slate is clear between them and her. There may be other issues to address about communications and reporting, etc., but at least there has been substantial progress on the rest.

    I fully agree.

    THE MACRO SYSTEM. … the leadership has more to attend to in the macro system…
    I do not expect them to give up their form of Reformed-Calvinist theology. I do not expect them to alter their hierarchical view of leadership. However, I do hope they at least examine whether their particular stance on the roles and rulership by elders as it has played out actually contravenes the Reformation principle of “priesthood of every believer,” and also where it aligns with Shepherding Movement theology.

    I agree with this as well.

    I hope they examine their thinking on the following points and issue new doctrinal and policy statments if need be:
    — the roles and rulership of elders and how that fits with the priesthood of every believer
    — how to bring the voices of women and the voices of survivors of abuse to the table, and how to honour those voices
    — the grounds for Biblical divorce and/or annullment (they REALLY need to spell this out, IMO)
    — their church membership covenant: whether it violates Matthew 5:33-37 (the teaching on oaths); whether it is legally sound; whether it is fair in terms of balance of power it gives to leaders as against congregants; and whether it is necessary at all
    —the principles and practice of Biblical discipline, taking into account not only Matthew 18, but 1 Corinthians 5.

  113. I am cautiously optimistic. As with some of the rest of you, there were certain phrasings of the apology that didn't sit well with me, and I do get the whole PR thing. We've seen some very bad recent behavior from The Village Church which warrants caution. However, as one who has had to repent of past beliefs and actions more than once, I know how easy it is to see yourself and your beliefs in the best light and to have to be practically beaten over the head to see truth rightly. I hope Karen's courage, as well as the multitude of other voices that have spoken out against this injustice, has had the effect of knocking some sense into The Village Church leadership, causing them to genuinely repent from the heart. I also know from my own experience that repentance and change is usually a process of seeing truth more and more clearly over time. I'm hopeful that God is doing a good work here and that it will spread to other churches under TVC's influence. Leadership is only human, and I trust that this debacle illustrates that truth for those who are inclined to abuse their position of spiritual oversight. This would be an excellent case study for those who have ears to hear.

  114. What I wonder is, if Matt Chandler is ruffling feathers within his circles by saying biblical counseling has limits, and that there is such thing as a permissible divorce. That’s leading me to receive his act of apology. I’m also glad Karen has peace. It’s been said, but her resolve has been incredible throughout.

    With that said, Matt Chandler and his running buddies have sent multitudes of “sharp, entrepreneurial, and driven”* men out to run a church in the same way. He won’t be able to clean up all their mistakes like he did in this one high profile situation. But Acts29 bills itself as the perfected church, the church denomination that’s not really a denomination so great that it will add to the gospel. They won’t be able to say “hey, we’re sorry, we have problems like all other institutions created by sinners, so you can all go back to First Methodist now.”

    Just today, before this post was up, a friend asked me to evaluate churches in an area of town. Thanks to the Deebs for teaching me everything I know! I found a nondenominational evangelical church that has a section on their belief statement for membership. And then they say, you are a member if you believe in Jesus Christ – no class, no piece of paper. So that’s your hope. Blogs like TWW become the vocal consumer advocates of the evangelical laity, and ministers will see a need that can be served.

    *http://www.thevillagechurch.net/the-village-blog/thoughts-concerning-seminary/

  115. elastigirl wrote:

    “We reached out to several individuals at SIM, including the president, to apologize for times when we did not fully heed their counsel and were perceived to be threatening”.–Matt Chandler and the Elders
    ++++++++++++++
    You are hiding behind language, Matt and the Elders. Cut the passive voice and putting the blame on SIM for how they perceived you. You threatened SIM. Own it and apologize for it.

    Yes, I noticed that use of the passive voice too. It’s a classic technique of responsiblity-evasion. I hope MC and the other leaders at TVC correct that.

  116. Stan wrote:

    What I wonder is, if Matt Chandler is ruffling feathers within his circles by saying biblical counseling has limits, and that there is such thing as a permissible divorce.

    Some feathers will certainly be ruffled by Matt Chandler and TVC having accepted the Karen had grounds for annulment or divorce. However, let’s remember that we don’t know exactly why TVC think that now. If they are only thinking she had grounds because Jordan had been watching ILLEGAL pornography, then that means that they may believe that any woman whose husband is addicted to legal pornography has no grounds for divorce.

    And if TVC are thinking that Karen had grounds because Jordan had not disclosed his child porn use before they married, then that could mean that any woman married to a man who starts using child porn only AFTER he marries, has no ground for divorce.

    So we really need to keep pushing TVC (and all churches) to get clear and spell out what they believe are and are not biblical grounds for a) divorce and b) annulment.

    And IMO if any church fails to list the grounds for divorce as Abuse, Sexual Immorality, and Desertion (or any combo thereof), that church has failed to grasp what the Bible teaches about divorce.

    I”m not so sure that a lot of feathers will be ruffled about them saying that biblical counseling has limits. The Biblical counseling field covers a wide spectrum, and some in that field have never claimed that biblical counseling is the be all and end all for mental and behavioural problems.

  117. hmmmm….. I do appreciate Matt Chandler taking responsibility here. There’s a gaping hole in the absence of apologetic expression and responsibility-taking from Steve Hardin, Matt Younger, and Richard Brindley. Where are they?

  118. Barbara Roberts wrote:

    I don’t have a hard time equating bad publicity with the Holy Spirit moving. It is entirely possible that God allowed and orchestrated the bad publicity to prick the consciences of leaders at TVC. There is a kind of Biblical precedent for this: Nathan confronting David -“Thou art the man!”
    I belileve God is using the internet and blogs like this to be effectively Nathan confronting immoral Davids who are in leadership.

    I am not a big fan of using David as an example of much good except within the context of the Old Covenant Israel. Today, he would be in prison. :o)

    We have no idea if their consciences were pricked or not due to the viral nature of the bad publicity. In my view, Chandler and colleagues were never qualified to be what they are in the first place.

  119. sam wrote:

    some have said what if mark driscoll had humbled himself and apologized like matt chandler did. my horrified answer is that we would still have the same old mars hill doing the same old things, but as dee wrote days ago, doing it smiling and handing out free starbucks cards. or whatever she said that was so on target!

    If it helps Sam, I am not delusional. I know Driscoll is a narcissist who will never truly humble himself or change his abusive ways. But some of his abuse victims could be genuinely helped if he would meet with them. Some just need to hear, “I was wrong. I am sorry” in order to facilitate their recovery. That was my hope.

    Ron Luce the founder of the currently foreclosed Teen Mania Ministries, notoriously abused the students under his care. Luce has his undergrad and graduate degrees in counseling and psychology so he knew exactly how horrible his torture methods were. You can watch it on youtube if you missed Dee’s coverage of it. He deprived students of food, drink, sleep and even toilet facilities. He covered them in insects, forced them into claustrophobic conditions and enjoyed burying students in muddy underground tunnels on the verge of collapse. The students are hysterical. It was like watching one of those torture movies – just gut wrenching. Luce’s Garden Valley, TX pseudo-sweat shop fell largely due to a survivor blog that triggered other investigations. As he was closing up his facility in East Texas for good, against his lawyers advice (Gateway’s lawyers btw), he picked up the phone and after YEARS of silence he called the main blogger to finally say how sorry he was about what happened. He said she was really grateful and was going to stop blogging. One apology can go a long way. Truthfully, I’m glad he didn’t apologize sooner because he might not have been exposed by MSNBC and CNN like he was.

    End note: Luce has since moved to Dallas where Gateway Church is helping him get back to his first love of psychologically damaging students. They pay him to be a professor at their local university TKU. They also partnered with his Honor Academy where the abuses took place in order to legitimize him. Plus Gateway promotes their Executive Pastor Mike Guzzardo as the big Acquire the Fire headliner so they can try to draw in more university students. Did Luce learn anything after losing his big Garden Valley compound? Check out Luce’s latest promotional video where you can see more students being psychologically terrified by claustrophobic conditions, horrible natural disasters closing in on them and of course, more kids being buried alive in mud. This time they are actors. But this man is obsessed with burying kids alive. Something is wrong with him. And parents PAY him large amounts of money to do this to their kids. So yes, I do understand your destroyer analogy. I believe you are right about that. I also realize Matt may just be spinning his u-boat captain image to his own benefit, but I still want peace and closure for all past victims. I hope that helps.
    https://vimeo.com/105463752

  120. Patrice wrote:

    “Based on an external referral, we have engaged a Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider to counsel Jordan Root. We will vigilantly follow the recommendations of this counselor regarding necessary next steps…We also want to recognize that there is a time and place for specialized treatment that goes beyond the kind of care that we, or even a qualified biblical counselor, can offer.”
    I’d like to see who/what, but this is particularly encouraging to me.

    Agreed! Does this constitute an admission that Nouthetic Counseling is not sufficient to treat mental illness?

    John wrote:

    This is undoubtedly a positive turn of events and somewhat encouraging. However, for me the question remains: would this have happened without all the publicity and attention this case received?
    As they say, character is what you are in the dark. Only time and continued scrutiny will tell if there has been real change.

    This was actually one of my first thoughts, as well. I am overjoyed for Ms. Hinkley and the way things have turned out, but I wonder what this might have looked like if it had not received special attention from blogs, social media, and eventually traditional media?

    elastigirl wrote:

    “We reached out to several individuals at SIM, including the president, to apologize for times when we did not fully heed their counsel and were perceived to be threatening”.–Matt Chandler and the Elders
    ++++++++++++++
    You are hiding behind language, Matt and the Elders. Cut the passive voice and putting the blame on SIM for how they perceived you. You threatened SIM. Own it and apologize for it.

    I had this thought as well! So much good in Chandler’s statement, but then I saw this and thought, “Well, it’s back to the old Mars Hill Church playbook.” i.e. “We’re sorry you perceived us as being threatening.” Either you were threatening or you weren’t, Matt. I’d like to hear SIM’s side of things: did TVC really threaten/blackmail them, or not?

    Christy Thomas wrote:

    However, it still does not deal with the underlying issue: the amount of control the all male elders have over members of TVC as well as the theology that has not and never will permit a female voice in a decision making capacity.

    I agree! If I were going to assess the situation, I’d have to ask a number of questions regarding the elder selection process, elder training process, and accountability systems. Even then, the problem remains that Acts 29’s theology relegates women to a submissive, unrepresented status, fully at the mercy of male elders.

  121. Stan wrote:

    What I wonder is, if Matt Chandler is ruffling feathers within his circles by saying biblical counseling has limits, and that there is such thing as a permissible divorce

    Stan, My guess is legal counsel told them to focus on specialized certified therapy and make sure it is announced. They have a legal situation more than people realize. Their covenant is a legal document and they have accepted the “repentance” of a confessed pedophile. That puts them in a tenuous position legally since they have announced the guy is free to attend small group and church as they “walk through repentence” with him. They even have documentation stating how to treat them when they come back knowing full well what he had confessed to. Just go back and look at their own very public words on this from the starting point.

  122. LT wrote:

    I do think what Matt did was incredible compared to his DFW mega peers who I am confident would never have humbled themselves so publicly

    Perhaps it looks humble if you are comparing it to the lowest of the low. However, this scandal is one more in a string of them from that movement from SGM to Mars Hill and Chandler has been connected to both. His covenant is as stong a document as we have seen in that movement and their initial treatment of Karen was normal for that world. Had she kept quiet, we would not be having this discussion and most would never know it happened.

    I don’t think for one moment Chandler is handling this based upon his own counsel. This is bigger than TVC. It is both legal and about a movement that brings in big money for the celebs involved. This is about a movement that has suffered huge setbacks because of scandals and conference ticket/book sales could suffer. Chandler was positioned as the “nice guy” of that movement and saving Acts 29.

  123. Bill M wrote:

    My goodness a lot has to transpire before some people do the right thing.

    Ok, I hope to someday be that succint. :o)

  124. Matt B Redmond wrote:

    Y’all done good.

    So have you, Matt. The only way to encourage change is to speak out against abuse. Then every voice needs to chime on in. I plan to write an assessment of what happened on Monday and I shall talk about the "everybody."

  125. Looking forward to meeting with lots of people in Baltimore. This is my most favorite thing in the world-meeting with readers.

  126. To quote one of my favorite Disney movies, “A single grain of rice can tip the scale.” The Emperor, Mulan

    Praying that this is just the beginning of a MIGHTY WAVE of repentance in the House of God.

    “He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20

  127. Lydia wrote:

    Stan wrote:
    What I wonder is, if Matt Chandler is ruffling feathers within his circles by saying biblical counseling has limits, and that there is such thing as a permissible divorce
    Stan, My guess is legal counsel told them to focus on specialized certified therapy and make sure it is announced. They have a legal situation more than people realize. Their covenant is a legal document and they have accepted the “repentance” of a confessed pedophile. That puts them in a tenuous position legally since they have announced the guy is free to attend small group and church as they “walk through repentence” with him. They even have documentation stating how to treat them when they come back knowing full well what he had confessed to. Just go back and look at their own very public words on this from the starting point.

    The big churches can be very misleading on that front. Most in DFW subscribe to programs like Ministry Safe that require background checks and brief training programs before employees and volunteers can work with kids. This provides a false sense of security as the churches are free to make any exceptions to overlooking criminal history that shows up in background checks as they see fit. Gateway had/has multiple people with criminal backgrounds working with kids. They even allowed a registered sex offender into a youth group once despite being warned about it because they want everyone to feel welcomed. Parents are never warned. Fortunately the known offender was re-arrested for parole violations. The point is parents need to personally watch out for their children! The statements by big churches that policies are in place is no guaranteed protection. Exceptions will always be made, as we saw for the first 6 months of Jordan Root being home.

  128. LT wrote:

    The point is parents need to personally watch out for their children! The statements by big churches that policies are in place is no guaranteed protection. Exceptions will always be made, as we saw for the first 6 months of Jordan Root being home.

    Agreed, parents/guardians need to watch out for their children and for children of others.

    Also, I do not know (1) if it is still in effect and (2) if this is/was nationwide, or a state-by-state thing — but my understanding from work with a church in the mid-2000 decade was that if you have child abuse protection policies in place BUT DO NOT IMPLEMENT THEM and a child is harmed, that could *automatically* multiply the damages award if there were a lawsuit. [It was either double or triple.]

  129. Lydia wrote:

    LT wrote:
    I do think what Matt did was incredible compared to his DFW mega peers who I am confident would never have humbled themselves so publicly
    Perhaps it looks humble if you are comparing it to the lowest of the low.

    Of course it’s the lowest of the low. I stipulated DFW Megas – home of the heretics with giant hair. Headquarter’s of the weeping Marcus Lamb and Daystar tv, Robert “The Cursed Life” Morris, James “I was supposed to be the next Billy Graham” Robison, modalist TD Jakes who travels with his own organist everywhere for mood music, sex sermon obsessed Ed Young Jr., “I was horrible to my wife which makes me a tv marriage expert” Jimmy (the Donald) Evans, Ergun “I was a teenage jihadist” Caner, the oxygen deprived Keith Craft and his medieval times Elevate church and the cryogenicly preserved Kenneth Copeland and his personal Spartan security army of 300. So yeah, Matt Chandler is driving the Pope-mobile of humility down the 121.

  130. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    LT wrote:
    The point is parents need to personally watch out for their children! The statements by big churches that policies are in place is no guaranteed protection. Exceptions will always be made, as we saw for the first 6 months of Jordan Root being home.
    Agreed, parents/guardians need to watch out for their children and for children of others.
    Also, I do not know (1) if it is still in effect and (2) if this is/was nationwide, or a state-by-state thing — but my understanding from work with a church in the mid-2000 decade was that if you have child abuse protection policies in place BUT DO NOT IMPLEMENT THEM and a child is harmed, that could *automatically* multiply the damages award if there were a lawsuit. [It was either double or triple.]

    It should be. The Gateway lawyers appreciate this as they call children’s ministry “the vault”. Not because it contains our most precious treasures but because if you screw up it will cost you the most. They actually say that in conferences.

  131. @ LT:

    The background checks and rules are insurance driven. And you are right, they do not protect a kid from being “groomed”. Then what happens when the kid sees “nice Mr. Bob from church” at the park?

    But I want to ask another question. Why are pedophiles and other abusers so attracted to churches/ministry in the first place? There are many reasons such as that is where kids are. And, people tend to lend their trust to church people. But there is even a more sinister reason. Because of cheap grace and easy forgiveness. Peds know a church would not want the bad publicity. So the chances of becoming repentant and forgiven ped is a better bet than, say, at a school. They also know that there is a good chance the leaders might just ask them to leave quietly.

    They view church/ministry as a protection.

  132. LT wrote:

    Of course it’s the lowest of the low. I stipulated DFW Megas – home of the heretics with giant hair.

    I was at a conference at Ed Young’s church years ago and talking to one of his senior staffers and asked where Ed was. He actually said that Ed was busy styling his hair so it would look wind blown when he came on stage. LOL!~

  133. David Denis wrote:

    The repentance of MC and TVC was apparently fully and freely accepted by Karen, who was actually present to hear all the nuance of what they said. She strikes me as a strong woman, not one to allow others to walk over her. And one whose recent experience would make her harder to convince. Those of us without standing to actually rule on this issue should trust Karen’s judgment.

    I tend to agree. This is a good step forward. Particularly for these leaders, with their theology. I’m encouraged. And I trust Karen’s judgement.

  134. elastigirl wrote:

    I have standing to rule that, while the apology from Matt Chandler and the Elders was a good thing, its substance hinges on what changes are actually made as well as whether or not they will give other members whom they have harmed equal consideration and apology.

    Exactly. I am hoping that change will happen, and it seems that this is a very good step in the right direction. I’ll admit to setting the bar fairly low, but honestly, I’m just relieved to see this departure from previous statements over the past several months. There’s a lot of change that needs to occur, and it’s time for them to put some actions behind their words.

  135. Lydia wrote:

    LT wrote:
    Of course it’s the lowest of the low. I stipulated DFW Megas – home of the heretics with giant hair.
    I was at a conference at Ed Young’s church years ago and talking to one of his senior staffers and asked where Ed was. He actually said that Ed was busy styling his hair so it would look wind blown when he came on stage. LOL!~

    Hahaha. I can well believe it. You should check out Ed’s “Fashion Pastor” website
    http://pastorfashion.com where he doles out fashion advice to fashion savvy wannabe pastors, just like Jesus used to. He treats his underling pastors abominably. In one video he actually rubs his hands all over one of the men claiming he needs to soak up his excess testosterone and then rubs his testosterone soaked hands all over himself. It’s beyond bad taste. I’m pretty sure Robert Morris watches the videos because at his book signing in May he was definitely wearing the men’s Spanx. He was moving like he had a truss on.

    And I agree with you. Churches are absolute pedophiles magnets. Parents trust blindly. Then if something bad happens the parents and kids are made to feel bad if they seek justice because the church will be punished as well. To put a stop to this every church should post signs on their Chrisneyland walls that state (and enforce) their zero tolerance policy and that even the smallest hint of impropriety will be reported to authorities immediately. Unfortunately you cannot stop such crimes altogether, but you can displace the crimes. The pedos trolling at churches are not Christians, they are wolves and deserve no grace. They should be treated as the dangerous predators that they are. Pastors should think about the lengths David was willing to go to protect his father’s sheep. Put a Vasily Zaytsev at every entry.

  136. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Darlene:
    “We can hope for better things to come based on Matt Chandler’s actions. Instead of acting like a celeb pastor above the fray, he humbled himself and personally met with Karen. This is quite unlike many other mega-celeb pastors.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    that we are so impressed that a pastor actually was humble and actually met with someone he was responsible for devastating…. i’m feeling like i did when i first smelled fermaldehyde in 7th grade science.

    It would have been nice if you had written things the way I actually wrote them and in the same order. By the way, I said, “Let us hope for better things to come.” not “We can hope for better things to come.” That makes a difference.

  137. LT wrote:

    sam wrote:

    Some just need to hear, “I was wrong. I am sorry” in order to facilitate their recovery.

    “I was w… I was wr… I was wuh… I was wwwww.” Arthur Fonzarelli

  138. Daisy wrote:

    Bridget wrote:
    Darlene wrote:
    Instead of acting like a celeb pastor above the fray, he humbled himself and personally met with Karen.
    —–
    Bridget said,
    I don’t get it. He only did what he should have done in the first place. We are so used to the terrible behavior of mega pastors that we think MC is extraordinary now because he did something that should be normal. That says a lot about how pastors are viewed in Christendom.
    That is a very good observation.

    I said what I did because in truth, I thought MC would more than likely take the Driscoll route. But I agree, he did what any God-fearing, genuine pastor should do. Yes, he and the other elders should have listened to Karen in the first place. As bad as this matter was handled with Karen in the beginning and for several months, it actually could have gotten worse. MC & company could have dug their heels in deeper and insisted on being right. So, as I said somewhere in these comments, the apology is a step in the right direction. But it is baby steps. And time will tell if MC and TVC leadership are genuine about changing.

  139. @ Dee:

    (ed. delete) Karen does not get to control the direction of the investigation. Neither she nor you qualify as properly-constituted legal authorities. Besides, she is hardly a disinterested party.

    An earlier poster suggested that the country is China. If so, and the missionaries are there illegally or semi-legally, then they’re just going to have to suffer the consequences. “Sensitive issue” or no, you can’t be weighing the interests of the mission vs. its victims.

  140. @ Darlene:

    sorry, i’m not exactly tracking. I simply copied what you typed in order to respond to it. You did say “We can hope for…” — not sure where the “let us hope” comes from — but I don’t see any real difference, anyway.

  141. Lydia wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    These systems are built on image. It is their “product”. I cannot say it enough. The image is the product.
    So every single move is based upon image building/image perception/image management. People pay to go and be a part of that image. They identify with the image. Maintaining the image is everything because it is the product they sell people who give them money to be a part of it.
    If people understood the system and what it is really all about they would understand it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ at all. If they understood what it took to build the system, they would most likely find the same system building strategies very bad if done in business. That is because businesses could not get by with half of what these “Christian” large systems get by with.
    The whole thing is pure deception with Jesus lipstick, imo.
    Sorry I cannot be more “humble” about it. :o) And most folks will think I am horribly mean and insist cannot be all bad. Well even Stalin was studying to be a priest but he was more honest. :o)
    Anything focused on Jesus Christ as center does not evolve into these systems. It could not. It would not be possible.

    I actually can empathize with what you are saying here. While I have spoken favorably of MC’s apology to Karen, and hope that this is the beginning of a house cleaning, I recognize that only time will reveal the truth. I can’t find any redeeming qualities in the entire mega-church enterprise. Truth is, I left Evangelicalism many years ago. I left because I didn’t like the trends that I saw developing. I left because I saw hero worship for pastor/author who wrote a book that became New York Times bestseller. I’m glad I left because it seems the Evangelical church at large has become more of a business enterprise than living its identity as the Body of Christ. All this to say I hear and acknowledge your concerns.

  142. Barbara Roberts wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    Was there no inkling of this error before it went public? No conviction from the Holy Spirit? I have a hard time equating bad publicity with the Holy Spirit moving.
    I don’t have a hard time equating bad publicity with the Holy Spirit moving. It is entirely possible that God allowed and orchestrated the bad publicity to prick the consciences of leaders at TVC. There is a kind of Biblical precedent for this: Nathan confronting David -“Thou art the man!”
    I belileve God is using the internet and blogs like this to be effectively Nathan confronting immoral Davids who are in leadership.

    Good insight there, Barbara.

  143. LT wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    LT wrote:
    I do think what Matt did was incredible compared to his DFW mega peers who I am confident would never have humbled themselves so publicly
    Perhaps it looks humble if you are comparing it to the lowest of the low.
    Of course it’s the lowest of the low. I stipulated DFW Megas – home of the heretics with giant hair. Headquarter’s of the weeping Marcus Lamb and Daystar tv, Robert “The Cursed Life” Morris, James “I was supposed to be the next Billy Graham” Robison, modalist TD Jakes who travels with his own organist everywhere for mood music, sex sermon obsessed Ed Young Jr., “I was horrible to my wife which makes me a tv marriage expert” Jimmy (the Donald) Evans, Ergun “I was a teenage jihadist” Caner, the oxygen deprived Keith Craft and his medieval times Elevate church and the cryogenicly preserved Kenneth Copeland and his personal Spartan security army of 300. So yeah, Matt Chandler is driving the Pope-mobile of humility down the 121.

    Wow, what apt descriptions. You forgot Benny the fake healer Hinn. But maybe he doesn’t reside in Texas. What is it about Texas that is so alluring to all the religious charlatans?

  144. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Darlene:
    sorry, i’m not exactly tracking. I simply copied what you typed in order to respond to it. You did say “We can hope for…” — not sure where the “let us hope” comes from — but I don’t see any real difference, anyway.

    We *can* hope is a definitive statement that because of MC’s apology, he will therefore steer the TVC in a positive direction actually changing the root problems that led to mistreating Karen Hinkley. “Let us hope for better things to come is a statement that is rooted in cautiousness because an apology is merely the beginning – and real change will be seen in how MC will lead TVC in addressing the root problems that led to mistreating Karen.

  145. Another missing element in this MC apology is the lack of “church discipline” for the “elders/pastors” who so badly slandered and abused Karen Hinckley. In a system that prizes the right to impose discipline on one and all, some of the leaders should be disciplined, at least. Suspension without pay or resignations would be even better.

  146. LT wrote:

    You should check out Ed’s “Fashion Pastor” website
    http://pastorfashion.com where he doles out fashion advice to fashion savvy wannabe pastors, just like Jesus used to.

    Unbeliveable… but I am naïve.
    Are we SURE this is not a The Onion-type of spoof?

  147. I’m pretty sure they mean what they say for the moment. I’m certain they were shocked by the reactions on the internet. Also, someone might have been able to sit down with them and make clear why the reactions were what they were, if they couldn’t see that themselves. So for now, I’m hopeful they understood the wrongness of their actions.

    The problem that remains to be seen is how they will change their policies in such a way that this cannot repeat. As I’ve said on another thread, they would have to change some of their basic tenets for this to happen.

    – the way they redefine the authority of the church to mean authority of the elders
    – the absurd reach of elder authority (even to include a say over how a member can organise her finances jointy or separately from her ex-husband)
    – the (real) value of women in their church. (They can protest as much as they want that they value women: in any organisation that’s managed along authoritarian principles, your value is determined by your authority. If you have no authority because you are a woman, you have no value.)
    – a better distribution of influence between elders and members
    – the end of the absurd “membership covenant”, or at least of the worst clauses

    It does not follow that their doctrine can’t change as a consequence of better practice, but it it will be hard for them to give up some of their most important ideas.

    I wouldn’t bet on it, but then again, I never bet anyway. I would love for them to be able to do that, it would be a hopeful sign for more than just one church.

  148. Darlene wrote:

    Wow, what apt descriptions. You forgot Benny the fake healer Hinn. But maybe he doesn’t reside in Texas. What is it about Texas that is so alluring to all the religious charlatans?

    Just look at our politicians! The same kinds of behaviors but with more serious results on the rest of the public. Gov. Good Hair for example.

  149. Well, I am VERY happy to read this. Specifically agreeing with her annulment will have long range implications for victims in marriages at churches who look up to Acts 29.

    My heart is full right now.

  150. Zla’od wrote:

    Oh, so you all forgive each other now? How wonderful for you. But since nobody has yet named the Asian country where all this happened, that makes you accessories to child abuse. No, it’s not enough to privately contact the churches involved–you have to report it to the authorities, even if they end up closing down your missionary operations. Otherwise, you are part of the cover-up.

    That is the business of SIM, not Village Church. SIM is the one with mission in that asian country, the one with missionaries in that country, the one with official contacts in that country, the one hopefully with the cross-cultural knowledge to know how best to function in that country, and the one with the intent apparently of staying in that country, and the organization that took immediate action in the Root affair to active aggressively when the situation came to light. You are making the assumption that SIM has not done whatever needs done. Why make that assumption in the absence of evidence to back it up? SIM has been in the business of missions a long time in a lot of countries and they are the ones who know what to do and how to do it.

    Village Church needs to stay the blip out of whatever SIM is doing from their end in this matter. Already they have had to apologize to SIM for something the church did wrong. There are reasons why sending churches are sending churches and missions agencies are missions agencies. And no, the general public should not get a chance to satisfy its curiosity in the matter. There is a lot more involved here than just the current dust up over Karen and whether people do or do not like male elders and calvinism.

  151. Have we thought about this? We know that they mishandled this current situation. Badly. We know that they have indicated that there are other situations that they are willing to hear about and have probably? mishandled. What we do not know is if there are situations they handled correctly. I am thinking that in a church of that size, and given the sad state of humans in general, there well may have been some really bad stuff that they handled well, and this may play into their adherence to their apparent commitment to tough guy leadership.

    Personally, in the non-church world, I have worked in both kinds of situations–strong leadership and weak leadership. Currently young daughter is working in a large public high school with lots of problems and without sufficiently strong leadership in the principal’s office to solve some stuff. I think that strong leadership is essential is a lot of cases. Of course I think that some of the mess in some of these churches in not biblical and is not excusable. But I am saying that they may have dealt with things we don’t know about and may be as we speak dealing with stuff we don’t know. And I do lament that the church that I am in the process of leaving and which may close its doors (literally) is partly suffering because bullies on the pew could not be dealt with appropriately. So my experience is that things are almost never one-sided.

    I am sorry about the whole Karen thing, but I think that the leadership there may be on the right track to doing better. And no, I do not share their theology, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that it is way too soon to totally trash this apparent effort on their part to act appropriately.

  152. Darlene wrote:

    What is it about Texas that is so alluring to all the religious charlatans?

    Oh, Darlene, that is a great topic for some time. My mama grew up in Texas, and I married a man who had partly grown up in Texas and both of them were convinced that there was something about Texas that was attractive to religious excess. They never said what they thought it was. I personally have only flown over Texas in a plane a few times, so I sure don’t know.

  153. Zla’od wrote:

    that makes you accessories to child abuse.

    Zla’od wrote:

    If so, and the missionaries are there illegally or semi-legally, then they’re just going to have to suffer the consequences.

    You are making an assumption that the local folks have not reported this to the authorities. Secondly, you are assuming that the local authorities care.

  154. What a beautiful post. To echo Jeff S, “my heart is full.” Karen seems so happy. What a glorious Christian testimony she has.

  155. One more thing and then I will hush. In light of what I believe that if we are to have religious freedom in this nation we will be bound to have religious beliefs and practices with which many people will disagree. Other than those things determined to be illegal, how much business it it really of people to try to force other people to do this or stop that religious practice? This is going to hit the fan about one thing in particular pretty soon, and I think it will be about more stuff soon after. We as a nation will have to deal with this.

    Specifically, I personally would not participate in a church like TVC but there are a lot of people who do. Should we launch some campaign to try to force/convince/intimidate/bad-mouth those several thousand at TVC to give this up and go find something else? Should we try to force TVC to change their doctrine and basic practices into whatever we think they ought to be? Once we make the bakers bake cakes against their strongly held beliefs saying it is in the best interest of the nation to have laws to that effect, and once we try to make TVC like churches have women leaders against their strongly held beliefs (if we could do that) saying that it is in the best interest of christianity as a whole to do that, where do we stop? Now, I would bake the cake, and my denom has women pastors (bishops even) but what gives me the right to try to enforce that on other people? Just using those two things as examples.

    It is pretty obvious that I come down on the side of f-r-e-e-d-o-m, but if you all think there is some good argument against what I am saying I would like to hear it. I have been wrong a few thousand times.

  156. Sorry. Forgot to include the quote!.

    One, it’s refreshing to see a celebrity pastor act with integrity, and

    Two, the church should jettison the teaching that a church has to release someone before they go. If a church practices that, they are on the crazy train. It’s just a matter of time before a tough set of facts puts the church in a bind and makes them look unkind and foolish.

  157. I am glad for Karen that she got an apology from Chandler and that she is able to move on. I hope the same is true for others who have been damaged by TVC’s implementation of church discipline.

    I hope that beyond apologizing, the leaders at the church ask the hard question about why these events unfolded as they did. Chandler admitted sin and that is right. It’s important, though, to understand that those sins did not occur in a vacuum; they occurred in a system of thought and practices. The letter to the 6000 people about Karen went out 4 days before Chandler contacted her to apologize. In organizations, management generally does not do risky things like send a letter like that without the sender having checked with higher ups, or at least having strong grounds to believe that higher ups would approve based on policies and past experience. If the pastor who sent it was rogue, one would think this would have blown up in a different way altogether and he would not currently have his job.

    But again, I am thankful for Karen’s sake that she received an apology for the harm done to her, and that she is able to move on. I hope that the ripple effects are as positive.

  158. While I am very pleased on Karen’s behalf, I remain skeptical whether actual transformation is in play where TVC and its leadership are concerned. A volunteer at a wolf refuge informs me that wolves can be domesticated to the point of receiving and returning human affection, but you can never fully trust them.

    The abuse of Karen was the fruit of the tree of misogynistic theology. It may be that particular bad fruit has been pruned from the tree, but the bad tree will continue to produce bad fruit. Unless and until they renounce complementarianism (a warm fuzzy word for OT style patriarchy)–until the bad tree is cut down and its roots ripped from the soil and burned–no woman will be safe at TVC.

  159. Most of us (including me) agree that Village Church grossly failed in pastoral care and overstepped their bounds in not listening to Karen Hinkley’s concerns about Jordan Root and in not honoring Karen Hinkley’s resignation and decision to annul her marriage.

    So, at this point, if Karen Hinkley is satisfied with the meeting, apology, and promised course of action by Chandler representing TVS, the I, for one, will listen to and honor Karen Hinkley, and be satisfied as well.

    It’s a BIG step for TVC to realize and admit they situations like this are beyond what they are prepared to deal with (and what ‘Biblical counselors’ can able to deal with) and to bring in qualified professionals. In doing so, they have virtually admitted that not all sin issues are equal. They will almost certainly change how they deal with Root, and kids will be safer, and that seems to be one of Karen Hinkley’s main concerns all along.

    IMO, TVC may have a ways to go, but this is an excellent step. It’s sad that messsing up in mind-boggling ways and then eventually listening and finally apologizing is two steps more than other notable churches have taken lately, but there it is. Would that SGM, Mahaney, Driscoll, et al, had done the same. The church situation in America would be a healthier for it.

    As Karen Hinkley said, it may not be the end of the matter for everyone, but it it for her. She can close that chapter, turn the page, and move on. Since Karen Hinkley is satisfied, I accept her assessment. Now we watch for action to match the apology.

  160. Darlene wrote:

    While I have spoken favorably of MC’s apology to Karen, and hope that this is the beginning of a house cleaning, I recognize that only time will reveal the truth

    I do understand the sentiments expressed about this cos I can relate. But for me, after years of watching the game played and being a part of it, I think just the opposite: Time HAS revealed the truth.

    There is a strangeness about evangelicalism that took me a long time to articulate in my mind. Evangelicals tend to root for their Christian leader to actually act like a Christian. Uncanny, isn’t it? Here is a guy teaching them about Jesus week after week (and the leaders set themselves up as specially annointed to lead) and when something like this goes public people are thrilled when they FINALLY, after so much publicity, act in a Christian manner.

    When something like this goes public, our first question really should be, Oh dear, how many more similar situations are there of lording it over that we don’t know about? (Because I can assure you there are more that might be more benign but also proof of the lording it over position) That is the most important question because it is not about PR and “handling” the situation. It is much deeper than that.

    But the bigger problem is that people accepted the patterns of behavior and the teaching but never really saw it was the perfect conditions for these sorts of abuses. We tend not to connect dots when we like people or have put them on a pedestal.

    We can blow this off as one event and all is well and gee, we really hope the leader who teaches about Jesus week after week is really convicted by the Holy Spirit and will be a real Christian leader now. (there is something wrong with that picture)

    But in order to do that they would have to lose their covenant, their special position and even step down to go and seek the true Jesus. Because Jesus is nothing like what they teach about Him. Nor is Jesus anything like how they behave. Nor is Jesus like anything about special status or lording it over.

    Look, Chandler served with Driscoll for years and sold his soul to propping up Acts 29 which is a vulgar mess. None of this is new. It is just that the fruit of all of it finally went public in a huge, obvious and glaring scandal that made it easier to see the real problems underneath in their thinking/doctrine/behavior.

  161. Zla’od wrote:

    “Sensitive issue” or no, you can’t be weighing the interests of the mission vs. its victims.

    We do not know if there were any ‘victims’ in whatever country it was, partly because we don’t know which country’s porn industry produced the porn he was watching. And we do not know (we don’t-not saying that SIM does not) what the laws in the host country are. At this point all we know is that one american citizen says that another american citizen broke a US law in a foreign nation and that the accused has verbally admitted this but no actual proof has been found, by the FBI no less. In this country we do not throw people in jail for such as this. Therapy, yes. Job loss, yes. Ongoing observation and suspicion, yes. Complete nervous breakdown of TVC and SIM? No. Rash over-reaction based on evidence-less assumptions with no more to go on than statistics which even the researchers say are incomplete and possible inaccurate? Who would do that???? Well, we have seen who would not do that in this country–the FBI for one.

    Are there covert missions operations? Of course, and always have been everywhere and for the history of christianity. Was this one? If it was it is too late now with all the publicity. But sure, christians go to other countries for other reasons and spread the gospel while they are there. And christians smuggle bibles and stuff. And mission agencies make deals with governments on a tit for tat basis-we will set up a mission hospital/clinic if you will let us preach -even as a political exception to ‘the rules.’ That was the sort of thing that I was training to do but did not do (in darkest Africa of course.) And lots of us consider these people to be heroes of the faith, just so everybody knows this.

  162. Lydia wrote:

    But in order to do that they would have to lose their covenant, their special position and even step down to go and seek the true Jesus.

    They would have to step down from their pedestal of God’s Speshul Chosen Who Can Do No Wrong.

    “ARE THEY GOD’S CHOSEN? ARE THEY GOD’S CHOSEN?”
    — Gordon Dickson, “Soldier, Ask Not”

  163. raswhiting wrote:

    LT wrote:

    You should check out Ed’s “Fashion Pastor” website
    http://pastorfashion.com where he doles out fashion advice to fashion savvy wannabe pastors, just like Jesus used to.

    Unbeliveable… but I am naïve.
    Are we SURE this is not a The Onion-type of spoof?

    In an age of extremes, how can you tell?

  164. Stan wrote:

    @ LT:
    Don’t forget the Trinity Broadcasting Network with their fake White House!

    Fake White House?
    You mean that too-gaudy-for-Liberace Wedding Cake along the 405 Freeway?

  165. LT wrote:

    Of course it’s the lowest of the low. I stipulated DFW Megas – home of the heretics with giant hair.

    i.e. The setting for both the book and TV series “Good Christian Bitches”.

  166. Eagle,

    I completely agree here with what you said. This is a huge step in genuine repentance, something we have not seen before. If Karen is peaceful about this, that is what matters most. Rather than pick apart this apology we need to be supportive of the statement this makes to all those other leaders who haven’t even come close, like SGM.

    “The one thing I would like to challenge everyone here toward is to encourage Matt Chandler and The Village Church forward in this act. Lets be honest it easy to become cynical and suspicious. And I can’t blame you if you are…but the other pit fall to avoid is when something sincere happens and out of cynicism it is missed. I have a lot of respect for Matt Chandler in how this was handled and what was done. If CJ Mahaney would have done this would there have been a lawsuit? No… If Mark Driscoll would have done this and repented would things have gone the way they have.”

  167. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    405? This is in Dallas, actually Irving. You kind of have to see for yourself on Google.

    I’m also remembering Todd Wagner at Watermark at the pulpit comparing his church discipline legal trouble to being crucified. Matt Chandler did better than that too.

    @ Lydia:

    I have, and the slick sermon from the 31 complete with the fake Texan accent. Even if this the equivalent of a boy being marched to the neighbor’s house, I’m trying to take positives. Some of Chandler’s base are probably upset that he didn’t make those uppity women submit, too.

  168. __

    This is a 501(c)3 christian church organizational ‘milestone’ ?

    hmmm…

    “We also want to recognize that there is a time and place for specialized treatment that goes beyond the kind of care that we, or even a qualified biblical counselor, can offer.” -A29

    Will we be seeing this attitutude and behavior from other church planting onganizations and networks?

  169. Sometimes there is pressure for reconciliation, and victims go through the process because it is the right thing to do. I am unaware of what is really happening here at The Village Church. But, I can tell you from my own experience, I’ve gone through the motions of reconciliation, only to later realize I was not even close to actually considering all that I was being asked to forgive.

  170. __

    “Draining Da Swamp?”

    hmmm…

      “I have a lot of respect for Matt Chandler in how this was handled and what was done. 

    If CJ Mahaney would have done this would there have been a lawsuit? No… 

    If Mark Driscoll would have done this and repented would things have gone the way they have.” 

    – HappyMom

    Ditto.  :-)

    Sin doth abound, grace much more…

    (smiley face goes here)

    ATB

    Sopy

  171. __

    “Never Hurts to Say You’re Sorry?”

    hmmm…

    Acts29 apparently reacted out of instinct and sought to ‘protect’ the 501(c)3 ‘organization’ first and formost, instead of doing da right thing out of da hopper…

    Bump.

    Theyz got their fingers burned, huh?

    Lessons learned?

    Well, folks, we always have ‘hope’

    :-)

  172. I’m very happy Karen is at a point of closure. It’s so unfortunate how these events unfolded. As I believe Gram3 said above, change is change. I’m personally hopeful great change will occur not only with Matt Chandler and TVC, but within the Acts29 network as a whole. I’m hopeful the others who have been wrongfully disciplined/shunned (whether in TVC or other Acts29 churches) will be approached with repentance and the desire to seek their forgiveness. I think of Eagle’s story and what that looked like for him.
    With that said, I personally will never attend TVC or another Acts29 church again.
    Thanks be to watchbloggers like Amy and the Deebs for your strength, persistence and constant pursuit of Justice.

  173. Lydia wrote:

    When something like this goes public, our first question really should be, Oh dear, how many more similar situations are there of lording it over that we don’t know about?

    This deeply concerns both Dee and me. We fear there are some who are suffering in silence, and we are praying for them.

  174. The churches that I have been a part of for 80 years have done just fine without elders or membership covenants.

  175. Nancy wrote:

    It is pretty obvious that I come down on the side of f-r-e-e-d-o-m, but if you all think there is some good argument against what I am saying I would like to hear it. I have been wrong a few thousand times.

    I totally agree! And there should be no official attempt to shut these groups down.

    Yet, freedom also means people can tell their stories/experiences while in these movements through this medium that reaches millions. (Too many church and ministry leaders hate that sort of freedom for others).

    What has happened is the one way narrative can no longer be controlled. That is scary to people trying to control the narrative. Freedom also says that the public message (which they put on the internet) can be analyzed by anyone anywhere. And with freedom and the internet, long time patterns of behavior can be tracked even if they try and delete them. Someone, somewhere might have a screen shot.

    The playing field has changed. Thanks to Freedom.

    The irony of looking at this through the Freedom lens is that in movements like this, it is often taught (sometimes very subtly) that freedom equates with licentiousness. That is another reason they need a covenant because without it, people might feel free to act outside the parameters of the leaders interpretation of what is biblical. There are many Christian groups who view freedom with rebelliousness, entitlement, etc.

    I cannot tell you how often I have heard some leaders teach that when you become a Christian, you give up your rights. That one always sends chills down my spine. That would be between me and my Savior. There is no human on earth who has the right to tell me what rights I(that I have)must give up as an adult in order to be a follower of Christ.

    I think the public discussion about Christianity, beliefs, Bible interpretation, movements and leaders is a very good thing. It is part of”freedom” even if leaders cannot stand it which is why they have tried to position it as gossip, sin, bitterness, jealousy, etc.

  176. Kudos to Karen for her strength and character throughout this ordeal, right up until the end. (At least, as she says, the end for her.)

    Chandler, you’ve taken a decent first step, but you’ve got many, many more to go. If you manage to follow this up the right way, I’ll be very pleasantly surprised. One thing you can do is to reprimand your elders for putting Karen through all this.

    Please, surprise me.

  177. __

    Nancy, 

    hey, 

    You asked: “…how much business is it really of people to try to force other people to do this, or stop that religious practice?”

    I believe the short answer is when the local community of believers are ‘harmfully’ impacted by some action or behavior, whereas a prospect of influencing doctrine becomes a much trickier proposition alltogether.

    ATB

    Sopy

  178. Deb wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    When something like this goes public, our first question really should be, Oh dear, how many more similar situations are there of lording it over that we don’t know about?

    This deeply concerns both Dee and me. We fear there are some who are suffering in silence, and we are praying for them.

    Most do suffer in silence. Going public is just about the most courageous thing people can do in these systems. I cannot say it too many times: Karen is the poster girl for me in courage, wisdom and maturity.

    Karen is the REAL elder in this particular situation.

    People who go public need tons of support. They NEED for people to give THEM the benefit of the doubt and believe them. Going public is akin to going up against “City Hall”. Everything and everyone in the system is arranged against you from the start. I know people who move away so as to get away from the tentacles of their former church.

  179. Gram3 wrote:

    It is a variation on the themes of “nobody’s perfect” and “no church is perfect” so “move on, people.” The thing is, that is exactly what was said while Mars Hill was imploding, while SGM was imploding, and how many other instances.

    And now the Josh Duggar scandal, as well. There’s one apologist on Twitter calling himself “Reformed Ron Swanson”. He recently responded to at least one of Julie Anne’s tweets on the Duggars, by posting a drawing of a man beating a dead horse.

    At least you can’t accuse him of being ambiguous…

  180. @ Sopwith:

    I agree with that, but who determines what is harmful and what is not, the people themselves who are involved or the guys down the street in a different church?

  181. @ numo:
    You come across as someone who will never be satisfied no matter TVC does. They can do nothing right to make you happy.

  182. Stan wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    405? This is in Dallas, actually Irving. You kind of have to see for yourself on Google.

    405 as in Orange County, CA.
    The TBN HQ there is right beside the 405 freeway. It is so gaudy even Liberace would steer clear of it.

  183. Gram3 wrote:

    Some have said that it would be too much for them to give up their toxic doctrines because that is who they are. Why should they not do that if they are really all about Jesus? If this meltdown, in the wake of Mars Hill and SGM, does not cause a microscopic examination by them of their doctrine and the resulting practice, then they are truly beyond hope and we can expect more victims. However, I do believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to convict men of their sin, including sinful doctrines and practices. For the sake of the other inevitable victims in the future, I pray that these men will just stop and think and study and pray. And listen. Even to women, perish the thought!

    From your comments, it appears that the only solution you would be happy with is that if TVC and all churches in that orb would become full blown egalitarians. You have elevated that doctrine too high.

  184. @ Sopwith:

    Sorry, my phone rang so I pushed the post button. Let me give an example. Women in leadership. I have heard right much criticism of TVC for not having more women in more leadership-or words to that effect. My denom decided that issue in one direction (not without conflict) and TVC has decided that in another direction. So who needs to be deciding if TVC need women in leadership-the people at TVC or people not at TVC? That is the point I am trying to make.

  185. Gram3 wrote:

    David Denis wrote:

    I’m noting how many of the commenters are complaining that the repentance expressed by TVC is not perfect enough. It strikes me as a straining of gnats but ignoring the camel.

    I am not asking for a “perfect enough” apology. I am asking for a frank acknowledgement of the sin that occurred and why it occurred so that it does not happen again. If that is being a gnat-strainer, then count me as a gnat-strainer.

    The cause of this is toxic doctrines taught by these men which produces a mindset that has permeated much of the conservative church and which repeatedly brings shame on the name of Christ. I do not believe it is gnat-straining to wonder when anyone in this circle of friends will get it and then do something about it, even if that costs them something.

    Complementarianism is not toxic.

  186. It may be that the twisted application of complementarianism by some individual churches has hurt a lot of people, but in and of itself, it is not a central doctrine, and it is not toxic. I am so tired of it being vilified as evil.

  187. Bob M wrote:

    From your comments, it appears that the only solution you would be happy with is that if TVC and all churches in that orb would become full blown egalitarians. You have elevated that doctrine too high.

    That whole area under discussion is such a big issue right now. If you don’t mind I am going to say something here just because I want to be able to say it. I have decades of prior experience in churches in which all or most of the leadership was either male or answerable to some male (the pastor.) I also have pew person experience in one denom on the egalitarian side of the religious debate over this, at least officially, and am in the process of moving to another denom in the same general tradition which is also on the egalitarian side of this, at least officially, and what I observe is that simply having women in leadership positions including pastors and bishops is not any final answer to making a church function and move forward. Churches need good people, skilled people and effective people, but just because some are women is no magic answer.

  188. About complementarianism. I’m convinced that it is a sinful doctrine, just as comps would say of my own, egalitarian beliefs. I’m ok with agreeing to disagree. I go to a comp church and I live with it.

    I believe Paul was willing to live with it, though in his case he was living within the secular culture of male dominance rather than a religious one. But either way, it is possible to live a full Christian life in a comp environment.

    That being said, it’s a doctrine that absolutely diminishes women (and actually men too), and what’s worse blames God for it. It leads to contradictory thought patterns that ignore logic, and it ruins our credibility to a watching world. Having been set free from comp doctrine (when I first started commenting on TWW back in the day I was a struggling comp) I can see how damaging and ridiculous it is.

    My wife and I started a group Bible study last night with many of the usual comp suspects cited as “marriage experts”, and my wife is now constantly laughing at the ridiculous comp teaching in the materials. It is our hope we can use this study to help others on the group see a little clearer.

    I don’t believe that complementarianism is the enemy and to blame it is to allow Chandler and others off the hook a little. But I think women will always face injustice as long as people believe that men have an inherent role to lead them.

  189. Bob M wrote:

    From your comments, it appears that the only solution you would be happy with is that if TVC and all churches in that orb would become full blown egalitarians. You have elevated that doctrine too high.

    How about they become full blown mutualists who practice all the 58 “one anothers” irrespective of gender? How about they focus on Eph 5:21 for a change? How about they focus on giftedness instead of gender?

    I fear you equate the word “egalitarian” with Matriarchy. If women are equal in value and function that does not make men less.

  190. Nancy wrote:

    Bob M wrote:

    From your comments, it appears that the only solution you would be happy with is that if TVC and all churches in that orb would become full blown egalitarians. You have elevated that doctrine too high.

    That whole area under discussion is such a big issue right now. If you don’t mind I am going to say something here just because I want to be able to say it. I have decades of prior experience in churches in which all or most of the leadership was either male or answerable to some male (the pastor.) I also have pew person experience in one denom on the egalitarian side of the religious debate over this, at least officially, and am in the process of moving to another denom in the same general tradition which is also on the egalitarian side of this, at least officially, and what I observe is that simply having women in leadership positions including pastors and bishops is not any final answer to making a church function and move forward. Churches need good people, skilled people and effective people, but just because some are women is no magic answer.

    I agree. And I say that having all men in leadership is not the answer either. My seminary professor at a Fundy college said this, “What if you were a missionary and all of the men in the village you went to were polygamists? You preached against it and they reject it. So who would be the leaders? He said ‘I’d take the women who were spiritually qualified.'” His thought was “Even if you’re complementarian, its better to have women in leadership rather than have ungodly men in leadership.

  191. Nancy wrote:

    I think that strong leadership is essential is a lot of cases

    There is the opportunity for lots of misunderstanding in the use of the term leadership and with the adjective “strong” those can be magnified. I am very interested in what are the specific aspects or capabilities referenced by the term leadership, especially those missing from your current church, if you’d be willing.

    In a recent case involving a friend of mine something was not dealt with by those responsible at his former church and it blew up into broken relationships. The problem was someone in leadership greatly overstepped their bounds and others in leadership did not deal forthrightly with it. So, depending on semantics, the problem was strong leadership (good type) did not deal with strong leadership (bad type).

    I’m a believer in the “priesthood of believers” and not relegating leadership functions to one person or small clique, they may solve a present problem and then likely be the core of the next. Is instead there a type of person or capability missing that could solve the problem without making them the new king? I look forward to your insights.

  192. elastigirl wrote:

    hmmmm….. I do appreciate Matt Chandler taking responsibility here. There’s a gaping hole in the absence of apologetic expression and responsibility-taking from Steve Hardin, Matt Younger, and Richard Brindley. Where are they?

    Yes, I have wondered about that, too.

    Does anyone know who wrote the letter about Karen to the 6000? When I looked at it on Watchkeep, I couldn’t find who it was from. There should be a public apology from that person as well. (I assume it was Hardin, but I couldn’t actually find the signature.)

  193. @ Gs:

    That would be me. :o) I think it would be the most healthy thing in the world if people voluntarily stopped going there because they rethought what they have been taught and could no longer support it so it folds like Mars Hill. Then they could go seek the real Jesus and be responsible to Him and not these sorts of elders.

    I am the rare case who thinks like this. I have yet to see a case where such a large ship with so much invested in image/control/celebrity/money makes a 180 turn. A big part of reliquinshing the control doctrine is being totally transparent and making sure the pew sitters are involved in the entire process of “church”. From open budgets to voting on budgets to being the folks who sit on committees to hire staff, etc. The pastor becomes one of the priesthood who functions in the body.

    Once you go that transparent/interactive route, it is not as glamorous to be the highly paid celebrity pastor/elder.

    And yes, I know. I am mean. :o)

  194. Bob M wrote:

    I agree. And I say that having all men in leadership is not the answer either. My seminary professor at a Fundy college said this, “What if you were a missionary and all of the men in the village you went to were polygamists? You preached against it and they reject it. So who would be the leaders? He said ‘I’d take the women who were spiritually qualified.’” His thought was “Even if you’re complementarian, its better to have women in leadership rather than have ungodly men in leadership.

    My thought is the only reason you don’t see as many Charlatan Female Pastors is because there has been less opportunity. The gender is no guarantee of a higher spirituality. And that is the whole point. Males are not given more Holy Spirit or spiriual insight than females because they have different physical attributes. So, I don’t really understand the reason for comp.

  195. @ Jeff S:

    “My wife and I started a group Bible study last night with many of the usual comp suspects cited as “marriage experts”, and my wife is now constantly laughing at the ridiculous comp teaching in the materials. It is our hope we can use this study to help others on the group see a little clearer.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    You’re an inspiration.

    But about this study…. sounds like an exercise in frustration & punishment! I admire you for taking this on. Did you have a choice in study topics? (did you choose this one on purpose?!) How do you manage the gag reflex? how many times at a meeting do you have to say “i disagree….”, “we don’t see it his way….”, “this really is a load of horsesh1t”?

    I’d be interested to hear periodic reports on how it’s going. And perhaps you could write a TWW guest post when it’s all over, about how the process of negotiating very different perspectives went (all of it religiously, ideologically, & emotionally charged).

  196. __

    Rinnnnnnnnnng! “Woman in Leadership?”

    Made to ‘feel’ inferior?

    hmmm…

    Nancy wrote:

    @ Sopwith:
    I agree with that, but who determines what is harmful and what is not, the people themselves who are involved or the guys down the street in a different church?

    Nancy wrote:

    @ Sopwith:
    Sorry, my phone rang so I pushed the post button. Let me give an example. Women in leadership. I have heard right much criticism of TVC for not having more women in more leadership-or words to that effect. My denom decided that issue in one direction (not without conflict) and TVC has decided that in another direction. So who needs to be deciding if TVC need women in leadership-the people at TVC or people not at TVC? That is the point I am trying to make.

    Nancy,

    hey,

    On the one hand, you have the 501(c)3 church organizations, on the other you have the community of believers. 

    Who is going to win out with the scriptures in the middle and up for grabs? 

    Well, off the top of my head, as you know great changes were made in this country durring the war years (1941-1945) with large numbers of woman entering the workforce.

      I think this signaled a significant change that has yet to be fully addressed in the christian community.

    Many religious communities have been able to bridge the golf created by the Apostle Paul’s words on the subject of women in leadership, some, as of late, have not.

    In my denom. growing up, the Woman, although not permitted in leadership, were never considered second class citizens or inferior in any way.

    I never saw or encountered this.

    ( however, I never met a woman that wanted to be in leadership in that environment )

    It was always understood how the scriptures stood on this issue and both men and woman ‘in God’s order’ had their work cut out for themselves. The elders took their jobs very seriously and no one made any waves.

    Today, I believe the fight has simply escalated as a result of that very type of questionable behavior, that is, considering (technically) someone ‘inferior’, in this case women in 501(c)3 religious/church organizations.

    :-)

  197. Bill M wrote:

    I am very interested in what are the specific aspects or capabilities referenced by the term leadership, especially those missing from your current church, if you’d be willing.

    It is not my current church. I have left there and am in the process of becoming a person of another church and another denom. This is for both personal (family) and belief/practice reasons. Because my new church is different in belief and practice this takes a while. I have had no contact with my former church since they ran off this last pastor. As soon as my former church gets the results from the professional conflict resolution group that has been called in to deal with the situation then we will know whatever details they tell us. The last official letter I got from the district superintendent did not say much more than just that at this point they were bringing in professionals. If I am able to complete the change to my new church and denom before then, I will never know the official story, and I am done with word of mouth. To quote: Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a ………

  198. Bill M wrote:

    I’m a believer in the “priesthood of believers” and not relegating leadership functions to one person or small clique, they may solve a present problem and then likely be the core of the next.

    I am with you here. You know this way is harder. It has the scent of sausage making to it but it is well worth the effort in the long run. People either leave or mature and learn to work together.

    The word “leader” has many problems attached to it when it comes to the Body of Christ. Everyone in the Body is a servant.

    But there is this thinking out there that someone has to be in charge of the other adults.

  199. Pingback: Chandler Gets It Right » PhoenixPreacher UNITED STATES

  200. Steve Scott wrote:

    LT wrote:
    sam wrote:
    Some just need to hear, “I was wrong. I am sorry” in order to facilitate their recovery.
    “I was w… I was wr… I was wuh… I was wwwww.” Arthur Fonzarelli

    lol, exactly!

  201. Barbara Roberts wrote:

    Stan wrote:

    What I wonder is, if Matt Chandler is ruffling feathers within his circles by saying biblical counseling has limits, and that there is such thing as a permissible divorce.

    Some feathers will certainly be ruffled by Matt Chandler and TVC having accepted the Karen had grounds for annulment or divorce. However, let’s remember that we don’t know exactly why TVC think that now. If they are only thinking she had grounds because Jordan had been watching ILLEGAL pornography, then that means that they may believe that any woman whose husband is addicted to legal pornography has no grounds for divorce.

    And if TVC are thinking that Karen had grounds because Jordan had not disclosed his child porn use before they married, then that could mean that any woman married to a man who starts using child porn only AFTER he marries, has no ground for divorce.

    So we really need to keep pushing TVC (and all churches) to get clear and spell out what they believe are and are not biblical grounds for a) divorce and b) annulment.

    And IMO if any church fails to list the grounds for divorce as Abuse, Sexual Immorality, and Desertion (or any combo thereof), that church has failed to grasp what the Bible teaches about divorce.

    I”m not so sure that a lot of feathers will be ruffled about them saying that biblical counseling has limits. The Biblical counseling field covers a wide spectrum, and some in that field have never claimed that biblical counseling is the be all and end all for mental and behavioural problems.

    your post sounds very picky and particular, because you nailed exactly the way they think! they have shown with the membership contract that each little thing in a persons life must be covered in every way! and it leaves one wondering what they actually mean, like the fact that the congregation didn't seem to know if their church supported divorcing a pedophile or not when this came to light. they just appeared to run around to blogs supporting whatever the churches daily response was.

  202. @ Gs:

    “You come across as someone who will never be satisfied no matter TVC does. They can do nothing right to make you happy.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    …and you come across as someone who is threatened by scrutiny.

    but chances are this assessment is as inaccurate as the one you made.

    numo simply made a valid observation.

  203. Bob M wrote:

    From your comments, it appears that the only solution you would be happy with is that if TVC and all churches in that orb would become full blown egalitarians. You have elevated that doctrine too high.

    Or, alternatively, you have elevated Complementarianism too high. I have not made “egalitarianism” a Gospel issue. The Gospel Glitterati have made “complementarianism” a Gospel issue. I still believe that Galatians is in the Bible, and I still believe that the principles Paul taught in Galatians are applicable. And Galatians is not only about ethnic identity or practice. It is about supra-Biblical legalism, and ISTM that is exactly what we are seeing right before our eyes if we have eyes to see it.

    Here’s what you should understand from my comments which ISTM you have misunderstood. We have a trainwreck here which everyone except those inside the bubble can plainly recognize as a trainwreck. Not a “mishandling” of an unforeseeable event. Not a failure to “communicate” the particulars of their doctrine of divorce. Not a lack of “sensitivity.” A predictable trainwreck which is predictable precisely because others have observed the causes of similar trainwrecks. And we have learned from our observations and wish to apply those observations to prevent further trainwrecks. An engineer who derails a train does not make everything OK my mouthing some words and agreeing to meet the victims. That isn’t how the real world works, and I’m weary of FantasyChurchWorld.

    Most can plainly see how this trainwreck happened, and most who see that realize that another trainwreck is only a matter of time. Those who want us to just move on need to realize this and think about the implications.

    We can make this about personalities or about doctrinal systems and defend and attack them all day long. The point is that this disaster occurred for specific reasons, just like the disasters at SGM and Mars Hill did not just come out of the blue. In those cases, the root causes were never dealt with, and the men, including Matt Chandler, who were responsible for calling Driscoll and Mahaney to account–the elders of the church–utterly failed in their responsibilities. Instead of holding their peers accountable, they either remained silent or went on the attack against people who wanted those root causes exposed and remedied.

    I do not intend to be silenced or intimidated by ad hominems about “feminism” or “egalitarianism.” I am very sorry for what happened to your daughter. I’m also sorry for what happened to Karen’s parents’ daughter. I’m sorry for what happened to the daughters and sons of many others, including ones very dear to me. And I hope that many join their voices to speak against the things and people who promote the things that cause so much harm and pain to people. That, I believe, is exactly what Jesus would do. He was not about power religions like “complementarianism/patriarchy” and clericalism and elitism of any sort whatsoever.

  204. elastigirl wrote:

    But about this study…. sounds like an exercise in frustration & punishment! I admire you for taking this on. Did you have a choice in study topics? (did you choose this one on purpose?!) How do you manage the gag reflex? how many times at a meeting do you have to say “i disagree….”, “we don’t see it his way….”, “this really is a load of horsesh1t”?

    I knew it was going to be a marriage study, but wasn’t sure which one until about lunch time yesterday. Then I did some hasty research and found the list of “experts”. I went back and forth on whether we should attend- balancing the gag reflex with the desire to have fellowship with Christian adults during the week. My wife told me she’d submit to my decision (LOLOL). At the end of the day, with encouragement from a good friend, we decided to go ahead and give it a shot with the goal of being able to help others see through the deceptions.

    It’s worth noting that this is a trial of the materials by our church, so our feedback may be useful. I do not hope to persuade people’s opinions on the comp doctrine that is going to be taught, but there are other issues that concern me with it (on of the first “experts” is Voddie Baucham, and I’m no fan of his permanence theology among other issues).

    The first video was mostly benign, though it largely amounted to a bunch of men talking about their wives and how they ought to treat them. Grudem managed to make a subtle point that Adam had dominion over what he named before Voddie Baucham made much over the name he have to eve. And there was a very strange football analogy that we all laughed at.

    We did manage some good conversation that I thought was very constructive, especially when my wife and I challenging some of the groups characterizations of marriage (the notion that the “world” divorces easily and treats marriages like something to be thrown away is something I spoke up about- it’s very naive to think that people go through divorce easily- maybe a few, but for most people it is very, VERY painful). I also managed to burst the “covenant is an unbreakable contract” lie that is often told and taught by materials such as this.

    Finally, we addressed the whole “The purpose of marriage is to reflect God’s glory to a watching world” thing. While that is TRUE, it’s also true about everything we do as Christians. It’s not the distinctive about marriage, and marriage is clearly constructed for mutual benefit of husband and wife. Since this is a PCA church group, I was able to bring up the Westminster Confession of Faith as a better definition of the purpose of marriage, and that was easily agreed upon by the group as superior to what the materials taught.

    Honestly, my wife and I may just skip the “gender roles” week- we haven’t decided yet. My wife wants to just point out that it’s patriarchy and see how that sits with people :) This shouldn’t be too hard of a point to make, since Russel Moore is one of the “experts”. But I have a feeling that arguing egalitarianism with this group may be a bridge too far. We shall see.

    My wife did review the gender roles stuff (that is in upcoming weeks). She noted there was a list of things for men to do to respect their wives (and lead their families), but no corresponding list for women on how to “submit”. Essentially, submission came down to “tie-breaker”. The list of how to lead your family was pretty bland, until you get to a bullet point that said “date your daughters”.

    Eww.

  205. Gs wrote:

    @ numo:
    You come across as someone who will never be satisfied no matter TVC does. They can do nothing right to make you happy.

    You come across as someone who will never be able to see a huge problem at TVC. They can do nothing wrong or anything which makes you unhappy.

  206. Bob M wrote:

    Complementarianism is not toxic.

    That is your opinion. I expect that it is not toxic for those who maintain their position of power over others. Where do you find any hierarchy ordained by God in the text? I ask that question of every defender of that doctrine. No answers yet. It is toxic for any human to assert power over any other human. Period. We are brothers and sisters. But some brothers insist on being the Boss in the family despite never being appointed to that position by the Parent.

  207. Lydia wrote:

    I fear you equate the word “egalitarian” with Matriarchy.

    It’s interesting what some words conjure up (if I may use a word like that) in people’s minds. This will depend on your background and experience, and it’s obvious what I mean by complementarian and what some others do/have experienced to not match.

    The word egalitarian for me is equated with compromise and indifference to the bible and if I’m honest, in some cases a gradual drift into if not outright apostacy then theological liberalism. Mind you they might be considered to be the same thing!

    The strange result of this is that although I too believer in every member ministry, the priesthood of all believers and fellowship members treating each other as equals with mutual respect, I could never use the word egalitarian of myself because of the negative connotations is has in my poor old brain.

    I strongly suspect gram3 could identify with this, only in her case the offending word is complementarian!

  208. Bob M wrote:

    It may be that the twisted application of complementarianism by some individual churches has hurt a lot of people, but in and of itself, it is not a central doctrine, and it is not toxic. I am so tired of it being vilified as evil.

    I am tired of being vilified as a “feminist” or a usurper or a Jezebel or any other things that women are routinely accused of being in patriarchal/complementarian churches. I am tired of people who make things up that are not in the text and then pretend as if they are in the text. I am an inerrantist who believes in the authority of the Scripture, and people who twist the text and insert their ideas into the text are dishonoring the Holy Spirit who inspired the text. Those are the real usurpers.

  209. Sopwith wrote:

    Today, I believe the fight has simply escalated as a result of that very type of questionable behavior, that is, considering (technically) someone ‘inferior’, in this case women in 501(c)3 religious/church organizations.

    Yes.

    I am thinking that both sides of the argument are egging this on, however. We have the hyper-comps who do seem to be thinking that women are inferior, and we have the hyper-egals who also think that women are being treated as inferior unless they are in some system which promotes women in leadership. Meanwhile, where has the idea gone missing from anybody’s mind that being female, or god forbid doing traditional female stuff, is not in fact inferior.

    Was I ‘equal’ when I went to work-all the hours at the hospital somehow gave me a right to think myself ‘equal’ to something or other, but then was I not equal when I was at home doing stuff like cooking and laundry? Really? Is that how we think about people? Or can I be forgiven for doing the laundry because somehow I had earned points over at the hospital that would make up for it? Was there some inequality in me that I had no desire to throw myself into the socio-political world of church ‘work’ because I already had about more to do than I could do effectively and because I thought that if other people had battles to fight let them fight them, but don’t try to drag me into it? Whose choice is it anyhow? Whose life is it anyhow? Who has to stand and answer at the judgment anyhow? I am just sick of the whole mess-I guess it shows. Nobody, not comp or egal gets to tell me if I am equal or not or if I am mistreated or not or what I have to think or do.

    I am so tired of so much mess. It is good that I am old and sick, because I am so ready to be done with so many things.

  210. Nancy wrote:

    simply having women in leadership positions including pastors and bishops is not any final answer to making a church function and move forward. Churches need good people, skilled people and effective people, but just because some are women is no magic answer.

    Yes, that is exactly right! The issue is who has the Holy Spirit gifted and who meets the character and knowledge requirements that God has given us. The chromosomal makeup is irrelevant. It is my opinion that if there were as many women in leadership as there were men, we would see epic fails by more women. Epic leadership failure is a crime of opportunity.

  211. Abi Miah wrote:

    Yes, I have wondered about that, too.

    That bothered me, too. But then I thought about it, and maybe Karen did not wish to meet with them. Or maybe Chandler wanted to take the responsibility for speaking for them. The entire elder board should submit their resignations, IMO. This is that bad a failure. But there I go again expecting the church to be as diligent as corporate boards are expected to be.

  212. Florence in KY wrote:

    The churches that I have been a part of for 80 years have done just fine without elders or membership covenants.

    That’s good to hear. I regret ever having gotten trapped in a Neo-Cal church/9Marks/patriarchy with Membership Covenants (which turned out to be just a way for the ‘elders’, who are sinners, to interfere in my life and the lives of others). I was at my former church for 8-years and had to spend every year in required meetings with the pastors/elders as they tried to exert control over my life: trying to choose my friends, the artwork that I could or couldn’t have in my home (nothing risqué but they wanted to control that), the bbq beef brisket I brought to church for a potluck (they had a meeting about how I was *too lavish* for bringing it), riding my bike to church in a dress in the summer and how inappropriate I was (I had bike shorts on under the dress), and finally excommunicating and shunning me when I wouldn’t go along with their putting their friend a convicted sex offender on Megan’s List in positions of leadership and trust (and not telling all parents and church members about him). They gave him carte blanche to the church and its children and insisted he was *harmless*. His supervising law enforcement agency called that *all lies*!

    I watched them violate the concsiences of other Christians and order that they be excommunicated/shunned and/or disciplined before the entire church:

    *a godly doctor, married for 40+ years, was excommunicated/shunned, for dissenting in private with how the pastors/elders were running the church.
    He used the Scriptures.

    *a godly wife didn’t like the church and its lack of outside accountability and she refused to attend any more with her husband and she went to another church.
    She was *disciplined* (she wasn’t there) before the entire church by the senior pastor for not *submitting* to her husband and the pastors/elders. When they tried to harass her, scream at her, she moved out of the family home, disconnected her email and her cell phone.

    *the church secretary, a conservative Christian/wife/mother, also left the church after what she saw happen. The pastors/elders tried to discipline her, but she knew their tactics and brought her new pastor with her to the meeting and they couldn’t discipline her in front of him.

  213. @ numo:

    I could. I might. But I don’t believe that I’m going to find a church that agrees with me on every doctrinal point (I know, I’ve actually looked!) The people at the church are more important to me than a Bible study.

    Fact is, the pastor knows my beliefs, respects me, and respects my family. People are willing to have discussions over topics. There are a lot of churches which you cannot be yourself, but I can be at this church. That’s something I value very much.

    An example, we had a guest pastor (friend of my pastor) give a sermon and I disagreed with a lot of what he said (it was not about gender, fwiw). So I messaged him and asked if we could have lunch to discuss it. He said he was interested in the feedback, and then added a comment that he was very appreciative of my posting info about TVC and Matt Chandler the past few weeks.

    They are good people. Ultimately, I don’t know that we’ll remain at this church (it’s something my wife and I are in prayer about, which my pastor knows), but I feel very welcome and encouraged there.

  214. Jeff S wrote:

    Honestly, my wife and I may just skip the “gender roles” week- we haven’t decided yet. My wife wants to just point out that it’s patriarchy and see how that sits with people :) This shouldn’t be too hard of a point to make, since Russel Moore is one of the “experts”

    Or you could be salt and light and encourage the others to examine the Scriptures to see if what they are being taught is so. You know, the Berean thing which has lately gone out of style in the PCA and the SBC and other conservative churches. Ironically.

  215. Bob M wrote:

    It may be that the twisted application of complementarianism by some individual churches has hurt a lot of people, but in and of itself, it is not a central doctrine, and it is not toxic. I am so tired of it being vilified as evil.

    I’m not sure this works. That is like people who say Communism is non toxic. They are right, of course, in theory. But tell that to all the dead Ukrainians, Cambodians, and Laotians. The truth is, “complementarianism” in some form has been part and parcel of the Christian worldview for most of history. But what is being sold by complementarians these days is misogyny and patriarchalism. When Piper says nonsensical things about defending a female karate expert or muscular women (not to mention that very bizarre, and even senile, comment about giving Christianity a masculine feel) he is not teaching anything other than sinful human pride, arrogance, and cultural assumptions wrapped up in theological language. I can’t see that ending well or producing any positive fruit.

  216. Gram3 wrote:

    Or you could be salt and light and encourage the others to examine the Scriptures to see if what they are being taught is so. You know, the Berean thing which has lately gone out of style in the PCA and the SBC and other conservative churches. Ironically.

    So says my good friend who is encouraged me to participate :)

    We will see how future session go- I’m all for salt and light. Less about tilting at windmills.

    However, my wife’s desire to just call it “patriarchy” is in the spirit of being salt and light :)

  217. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    raswhiting wrote:
    LT wrote:
    You should check out Ed’s “Fashion Pastor” website
    http://pastorfashion.com where he doles out fashion advice to fashion savvy wannabe pastors, just like Jesus used to.
    Unbeliveable… but I am naïve.
    Are we SURE this is not a The Onion-type of spoof?
    In an age of extremes, how can you tell?

    It is for real although Ed is always trying to be the ultimate comedian. One of the videos on Pastor Fashion is a parody where an aged elder dresses like a hip hop star and trains Ed in the art of swagger, teaching Ed his famous tagline “ho nuthah level”. However, the rest are for real. He even extends his fashion advice into his sermons. Ed is obsessed with his public image. He’s given video tours of his home before and was negotiating a reality tv series. It’s kind of tragic that he’s recommending bespoke suits and really expensive accessories while many pastors in the US are struggling to make ends meet. It’s even more tragic that he is using tithe money to fund this vanity project. Apparently Jesus was all about the clobber, swag, gear and bling.

  218. Pingback: News: Former Member Accepts Acts 29 Megachurch Apology in Church Discipline Case | Spirit Filled Church Letlhakane Botswana

  219. @ Jeff S:

    You are a better man than me, Gunga Din :o)

    I just could not do it. Voddie, Russ Moore, Grudem. OH MY!! All my favs. (Wonder how much they were paid for their views?)

    OTOH, I think it takes people who are patient, opitmistic and willing to patiently listen and lovingly bring out other ways of looking at the texts. But in these sorts of studies people have a hard time questioning the “experts” who are being quoted. That is barrier 1. “Are you saying you are smarter than Russ Moore”? :o(

  220. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:

    To be fair to Complementarians, John Piper is about the best apologist for Egalitarians there is because he says some really nutty things. Tim Keller is much more of a challenge because nothing he says is near as silly as what Piper does. And yet, I still think he’s wrong.

    I enjoyed Keller’s marriage book a LOT (and I could do with throwing most “Christian” marriage books in the trash), but the one chapter on gender roles (written by his wife) just didn’t work.

  221. @ Nancy:
    You would have been unequal if you were excluded from medical school only on account of your sex. Women are unequal in the church not because of what they do or do not do but because of what they are precluded from doing for the sole reason that they are female.

    I don’t believe in artificial means to achieve equal results. People need to make their own decisions and accept the consequences of that. But I do not believe that some people are ordained by God to decide what other people may or may not do.

    For the record, my life looks pretty traditional by almost any measure. And I’m happy about that!

  222. Lydia wrote:

    It has the scent of sausage making to it but it is well worth the effort in the long run. People either leave or mature and learn to work together.

    Well said

  223. @ Lydia:

    I could not have done this a year ago. Not sure I could do it now. But having my wife at my side will help.

    I did manage to say last night that Voddie Baucham taught a lot of really bad things and I’d be wary of listening to him, and no one really seemed offended by that. I was actually pretty encouraged by the groups willingness to discus the topics and challenge what was being said.

    Of course, again, not TOO much of what was said by the “experts” in the first video was that bad.

  224. Jeff S wrote:

    However, my wife’s desire to just call it “patriarchy” is in the spirit of being salt and light :)

    I like your wife’s spirit. Spunky.

  225. Jeff S wrote:

    Of course, again, not TOO much of what was said by the “experts” in the first video was that bad.

    Here’s a thought. Turn off the DVD and open the Bible and see what the Bible actually says about marriage and, indeed, about all relationships. Old-fashioned Bible study with the text and some study tools. We used to do it all the time, but now everything is canned and pre-digested. All you need to do is wipe your mouth and burp.

  226. Jeff S wrote:

    John Piper is about the best apologist for Egalitarians there is because he says some really nutty things.

    Blasphemy.

  227. Gram3 wrote:

    Here’s a thought. Turn off the DVD and open the Bible and see what the Bible actually says about marriage and, indeed, about all relationships. Old-fashioned Bible study with the text and some study tools. We used to do it all the time, but now everything is canned and pre-digested. All you need to do is wipe your mouth and burp.

    So actually, we might disagree here slightly. Because I actually don’t think the Bible has a ton to say about marriage specifically. I think if you want to learn about having a great marriage, there is a lot to learn from secular folks who have studied marriage and what traits make marriage work.

    Certainly living out the Gospel and having a spirit of grace is HUGE for any couple, and he most important part, but you don’t need a study for that.

    Personally, if I want a Bible study, I just want to study the Bible. If I want to learn about marriage, I’ll go to people who have studied marriage. I don’t know why worship time often gets co-opted into “improve every area of your life” time.

  228. Ken wrote:

    I strongly suspect gram3 could identify with this, only in her case the offending word is complementarian!

    I consider myself a complementarian in the dictionary sense of the word and in the Genesis 1-2 sense of the term. There is nothing in the word itself that is objectionable. But a perfectly good word has been employed to obscure what the people who use it really mean. In other words, they are using propaganda techniques. And I ask myself why someone who claims to speak for God would use worldly propaganda techniques. Why not just teach what the Bible teaches and not add to it or take away from it.

    I don’t believe I have ever claimed the label “egalitarian.” That word can imply things which I do not think are proper such as a 50/50 split in all cases. That is just as contrived, IMO, as “the man rules.” I think that egalitarians can be as legalistic as complementarians if they make their particular way of arranging their marriage or church the only “right” way of arranging either.

  229. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Stan wrote:
    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    405? This is in Dallas, actually Irving. You kind of have to see for yourself on Google.
    405 as in Orange County, CA.
    The TBN HQ there is right beside the 405 freeway. It is so gaudy even Liberace would steer clear of it.

    The one in Orange County is far more garish. The one in Irving is mostly silly. It is an actual small scale replica of The White House. TBN uses it as a broadcast station. It is bizarre, especially at night when it is illuminated with cheesy, blue flood lights. It sits right off of the freeway surrounded by weeds, billboards, fast food joints and a car dealership so almost exactly like the real White House in DC. It serves as sort of a metaphor for TBN being a cheap imitation of Christianity and only highlights how fake their organization is. I’m frankly surprised it’s not a replica of Graceland. I had TBN on that list but took it off because they are technically head quartered in OC. The Crouches all keep homes in DFW and occasionally attend Gateway when they are in town. FTR TBN and Daystar both call themselves “churches” in order to avoid all reporting and all taxes and they get away with it. They even ordain their chauffeurs in order to avoid paying FICA. Organized crime rings really need to start setting themselves up as churches. Oh, the money they could launder… Al Capone would have avoided prison altogether that way. And with Al’s penchant for dapper suits and accessories he’d give Ed Young a run for his tithe money.

  230. raswhiting wrote:

    Another missing element in this MC apology is the lack of “church discipline” for the “elders/pastors” who so badly slandered and abused Karen Hinckley. In a system that prizes the right to impose discipline on one and all, some of the leaders should be disciplined, at least. Suspension without pay or resignations would be even better.

    I do think this is an important point. Without any vindictiveness, it is easy to see that to *not* discipline them would be inconsistent with TVC’s policies towards its members, and display a clear double standard. TVC, like many authoritarian churches, emphasizes the prohibition against gossip, which it defines very broadly. These elders essentially gossiped to a crowd of 6000.

  231. Jeff S wrote:

    If I want to learn about marriage, I’ll go to people who have studied marriage.

    I would say that marriage is a relationship to the Nth degree, and the “one anothers” that the Bible speaks about are exactly what go into a successful marriage. There is much more, obviously, but the “one anothers” are a very good start. My problem with so many DVD courses (and I’ve seen a lot of them!) is that they spend a lot of time saying very little.

    I do not deny that we can learn many things outside of what is in the Bible. However, having been married a very long time, I can say that very little of what we learned from outside was really much different that what living life in the Spirit looks like. IOW, instead of starting at 5:22, start at 1:1 and go from there.

    There was a guy whose name I think is Gottman or something who said that the best marker for a failing marriage is contempt which is usually veiled. I think that is a very Biblical concept.

  232. Gram3 wrote:

    Abi Miah wrote:
    Yes, I have wondered about that, too.
    That bothered me, too. But then I thought about it, and maybe Karen did not wish to meet with them. Or maybe Chandler wanted to take the responsibility for speaking for them. The entire elder board should submit their resignations, IMO. This is that bad a failure. But there I go again expecting the church to be as diligent as corporate boards are expected to be.

    Absolutely, I can see a woman not wanting to meet with the crew directly responsible–at least not early in the process. It is possible that the others were acting under the direct orders of Chandler; in that case, his apology is the most necessary one. But they still bear responsibility for saying that their own actions were wrong. However, given that she was texted with offers to “care” for her after she requested no contact, perhaps she doesn’t wish to hear from them even through a letter. It was very appropriate the Chandler allowed her to choose the venue and to have people she trusted with her. The victim should be the one who determines who, what, when, etc. because her healing and well-being should be of primary consideration.

    I do hope that rather than using a weed-whacker to lop off the top of the weed of her particular case, that they take the time to dig the thing out by the root.

  233. Ken wrote:

    The strange result of this is that although I too believer in every member ministry, the priesthood of all believers and fellowship members treating each other as equals with mutual respect, I could never use the word egalitarian of myself because of the negative connotations is has in my poor old brain.

    I don’t like the word because in my mind it conjures up the bloody French Revolution. For some odd reason I linked it to “forcing equality” by killing off the artistocracy. And Madame LaFarge knitting while waiting for the beheadings to start comes to mind. But that is just me being silly. :o)

    In terms of Christianity, I much prefer “Mutualist”. And focus on all the “one anothers” that are not given to us in pink and blue categories.

  234. Abi Miah wrote:

    I do hope that rather than using a weed-whacker to lop off the top of the weed of her particular case, that they take the time to dig the thing out by the root.

    Then burn it and salt the earth where it rooted. A good dose of Biblical salt could preserve a lot of things.

  235. Gram3 wrote:

    You would have been unequal if you were excluded from medical school only on account of your sex

    Perhaps, but there are some who seem to think that I would have been unequal if I had chosen not to go to medical school. Actually I do not think that I would have personally been unequal either way, but in one case the system would have mitigated against me and if that is the use of the word unequal then the word applies.

  236. @ Gram3:

    I think you and I are on the same page :)

    I didn’t mean to imply that the Bible can’t teach us about how to have better marriages, but that the answer isn’t so much achieved by doing a “marriage” study as “being a more loving toward others” study. Which is basically just studying what the Bible says.

    But I think we agree on the value of the DVD. It just mostly struck me as a bunch of guys talking about their marriages. Not much “study”. However, it opened with a bunch of children talking about marriage and juxtaposed it with a survey of adults talking about marriage. This was pretty compelling about how jaded people become over the concept of marriage. Of course, I think a lot of what comps sell is what CAUSES the adult jaded attitude.

  237. @ Lydia:

    FWIW, I don’t usually use the word “egalitarian” of myself, but sometimes where I think nuances don’t matter I will use it for expediency.

    What I usually say is “I don’t believe in hierarchy based on gender”.

  238. Lydia wrote:

    Velour

    I too, Lydia, am glad that I am out of that abusive former Neo-Cal, patriarchy church. My sister said to me recently that she was glad that I was kicked out because she feared that there would come a day that I would no longer speak to her because of that church if I had remained. How sad is that? Some *witness*.

  239. Velour wrote:

    My sister said to me recently that she was glad that I was kicked out because she feared that there would come a day that I would no longer speak to her because of that church if I had remained. How sad is that? Some *witness*.

    I have an extended family member I was very close to for most of my life who got very involved in the Neo Cal movement about 8 years ago who now believes I am reprobate and will not have any contact with me. We actually studied the Institutes together and came to differing conclusions ironically before she got so totally immersed in the movement.

    Yeah, it hurts. But it is what it is. The door is open for her anytime but I am very worried for her. She has treatable cancer but sees the cancer as a “gift from God” as per Piper.

    I am glad you were kicked out, too. :o) Your sister was worth it.

  240. @ Jeff S:
    I’m sure they are good people, but this kind of thinking and belief is highly toxic. As a survivor of several abusive churches with plenty of nice people but toxic beliefs and practices, my suggestion (for what it’s worth) is to start looking. No rush, just keep your options open – because it may well be that you’re going to get to a point (and sooner than you think) where this particular church has become too much, for both you and for your wife.

    Speaking as a woman, I would want NOTHING to do with any church that has that kind of “Bible study.” [caps are for emphasis, not yelling]. and I do mean NOTHING.

  241. @ Jeff S:
    Further, a lot of those nice, good people might not be so nice if/when you and your wife speak up about this “Bible study” and the views it is promoting.

  242. Jeff S wrote:

    However, my wife’s desire to just call it “patriarchy”

    she is 1000% correct, and no, that’s not a typo!

  243. @ Jeff S:
    it will only get worse. Much worse, as in the daughter-father “dates.” Those guys are preaching something that is inimical to orthodox xtianity, imo. It is literally (again, imo) another religion, and – as someone pointed out in the comments of the post prior to this one – just a hairs’-breadth away from being what they called Trinitarian Mormonism.

    I think they (Hester, actually) are right.

  244. @ Jeff S:
    P.S.: I don’t mean to come across like I’m piling onto you – it’s just that every time I post, I then think of some other aspect of this, or see other replies to you, and the wheels in my brain start whirring.

    I think you know that I enjoy having you around TWW, and am glad you’ve come back.

  245. @ Gram3:

    “I do not deny that we can learn many things outside of what is in the Bible. However, having been married a very long time, I can say that very little of what we learned from outside was really much different that what living life in the Spirit looks like”
    +++++++++++++

    actually…. I find what’s in the bible to be simply a common sense rendering of what strong character is. Over and over again, the best Christians I meet are actually not Christians at all. They are people of no faith or other faiths who simply do what’s good, right, honest, kind, generous, for its own sake. no pressures or incentives required (as in, I have to please God, I have to live up to these expectations, I have to be as good as mary smith, I have to epitomize godly manhood as good as john smith, etc.)

  246. Nancy wrote:

    Perhaps, but there are some who seem to think that I would have been unequal if I had chosen not to go to medical school.

    Then they are being silly. Not everyone has the same gifts and abilities, and the important thing is to use our gifts and abilities. People are different, and I think God loves and values each of us. It is we humans who devalue people based on the entirely wrong criteria.

  247. @ numo:

    Well, actually, we have a back up church in mind already. Though it is also not without its own issues. We shall see.

    Honestly, I don’t think the people who chose to evaluate this study are looking to push complementariansim. I think they saw something that looked like it would help people have better marriages as they understand it. They likely have never even heard of Voddie Baucham, Russell Moore, or most of the others except Grudem, and that might only be a few of them there that know who he is (the guy who wrote the systematic theology book on most Reformed pastor’s shelves).

    As for whether they will be nice or not, most of these folks are friends of mine on Facebook and I regularly do post about my views on Piper, abuse in the church, and whatnot, so I don’t know how surprising it will be. I have had one elder of the church talk to me about one of my posts on Piper, and it went pretty well. I think he learned a lot from the discussion :)

    As it is, my pastor is a firm complementarian, but before he married my wife and I, I made it clear that my wife submitting would not be in our marriage vows, and he agreed to that. And subsequently, I have noticed that he has used language respectful of our position while praying for us (at a prayer meeting, where I *know* he would normally pray for a husband to lead his wife well, he instead prayed that our interactions would be “filled with the Gospel”, a change that I picked up on and thought was well done).

    Long term, it’s a challenge being in a comp church, however, I’m also convinced that this church family is full of excellent and good people who love Jesus.

  248. @ Jeff S.:

    one of the first “experts” is Voddie Baucham, and I’m no fan of his permanence theology among other issues

    You’re a better person than me, then, because I would be flipping my lid (at least at home) if I saw the name Voddie Baucham on anything at my church.

    Grudem managed to make a subtle point that Adam had dominion over what he named before Voddie Baucham made much over the name he have to eve.

    I think the more interesting part of this is that Wayne Grudem is sharing a platform with Voddie Baucham. I knew Piper was hanging with Wilson, but I didn’t know anyone was quite this buddy-buddy with Baucham. Are they still maintaining that complementarianism and patriocentricity are different things? And if so, why are they giving patriocentrists a microphone? Or is this Baucham attempting to “convert” the much-too-liberal complementarians to patriocentricity?

    Are these guys so afraid that they’ll team up with anyone who uses the words “headship” and “submission,” and just completely ignore the theological kookiness like SAHD, courtship, NCFIC, etc.? (Though to be fair, Baucham is the only patriocentrist I know of who has explicitly condemned the idea of women needing male-mediated communion. You could bring that one up in your class. It usually raises lots of eyebrows. 😉 Though probably not quite as many in the PCA as it does in liturgical/sacramental churches.)

    And there was a very strange football analogy that we all laughed at.

    At least no one compared you to a waffle. 😉

    The list of how to lead your family was pretty bland, until you get to a bullet point that said “date your daughters”.

    Still squicks me out…

  249. numo wrote:

    Jeff S wrote: she is 1000% correct, and no, that’s not a typo!

    Well, Russell Moore agrees, and he's one of the "experts" in the videos. 😀 So then, once you get rid of the PC (and brilliant) name, you can have an honest discussion about the healthiness of patriarchy.

  250. Velour, I failed to mention that the churches I’ve been in for over 80 years were all Baptist. No elders, no membership covenants.

  251. elastigirl wrote:

    actually…. I find what’s in the bible to be simply a common sense rendering of what strong character is. Over and over again, the best Christians I meet are actually not Christians at all.

    People who are not Christians can certainly have good character. I think that good character is evidence of being made in the image of God which all people are. Humanity fell and that image is marred and distorted, but it is still there. What is more troubling is to me are the people who claim the name of Christ and who do not actively pursue Christ-like behavior and attitudes. Including my very own self. There is a school of thought regarding “total depravity” that holds that we cannot do anything truly good. I disagree with that particular view of our “fallenness.”

  252. Hester wrote:

    At least no one compared you to a waffle.

    The wife was compared to a football, with a quick comment that it could be applied in reverse. That is, either the wife or the husband could be the ball, and the goal was to receive her. Even if she looks like a porcupine.

    I think what bugs me more than anything about Christian marriage books is just how the set everyone up as “you are going to hate your wife sometimes, and here’s how to move past it”. I don’t know- even when I was in a terrible marriage I never really felt that way about my wife. I just ultimately knew that she hurt me and I had to get away. But I never felt about her the way preachers on marriage tend to talk about how typical spouses interact.

  253.   __

    “Litmus?”

    Nancy

    hey,

    Thank you for the kind response.

    Do you still prepare your own meals and go for little walks?

    *
    It is obious that certain religious groups have circled the wagons on this womans leadership issue and codified it. Complemtarianism, I think is only one example.

    I believe It is the codification of Calvinism with T.U.L.I.P. that has damnaged the Reformed Movement.

    Ultimately, what will the long term effects of Complemtarianism on christian communities be?

    As with other strong issues such a sexual persuasion, I think you are gonna witness more and more polarization and isolation in relation to faith-based communities. Some will grow, some will expand, some will isolate, some will just fade away…

    ATB

    Buck up Wartburg Babe, your mind is still super keen!

    Race ya!

    :-)

    ATB

    Sopy

  254. Ken wrote:

    The word egalitarian for me is equated with compromise and indifference to the bible and if I’m honest, in some cases a gradual drift into if not outright apostacy then theological liberalism. Mind you they might be considered to be the same thing!

    Forgot to respond to this. I believe that, in every comment I have made regarding this topic and what the Bible says, I have insisted on sticking with the actual text and applying a rigorous grammatical-historical hermeneutic. That is the essence of what used to be a conservative, sola scriptura view. I am an inerrantist and have defined that in the old-style simple meaning. So, where, exactly am I slipping off into liberalism or apostasy? How can that happen if I am following all the conservative rules that all the “complementarian” guys are breaking? Those are the same rules they accuse the “liberals” and “feminists” of breaking. Why the double standard?

  255. One of the problems I see in these mega reformed churches, although certainly not limited to, is this authoritarian approach to discipling. When the leaders can get back to a place of seeing their role as under shepherds under Jesus Christ as the Chief Shepherd then there is room for true discipling, as Jesus demonstrated so beautifully in the Scriptures.

  256. Bob M wrote:

    have elevated that doctrine too high.

    Have you seen the “about us, what we believe, our destinctives,” etc. pages at comp churches, TGC, and T4G? The doctrine is of first importance and is stated so and taught as such in these organizations. They don’t teach options for marriage. Try to have a relationship with women in these churches who believe they need to stay away from you and your husband because you don’t consider your husband your leader. Your husband is considered a failure and you are a danger. I kid you not.

  257. @ Jeff S:
    As Hester just said, I would flip my lid. Just that. Period.

    Voddie Baucham *and* Grudem *and and and*. Just plain bad.

    And I will distrust the motives of the people who proposed this “study” until the cows come home. While I would love to believe it was an honest mistake, the parts of me that still sting from the kick out the door at That Church say it was very deliberate. An introduction of an agenda, if you will. Father-daughter “dates” are the *last* straw of many, you know?

  258. Gram3 wrote:

    There is a school of thought regarding “total depravity” that holds that we cannot do anything truly good.

    In which case, “Why Bother?”

  259. Jeff S wrote:

    And subsequently, I have notice that he has used language respectful of our position while praying for us (at a prayer meeting, where I *know* he would normally pray for a husband to lead his wife well

    Surprisingly, I wouldn’t have a problem with anyone praying for my husband to lead me well. When he is leading, I hope he is leading well. The problem is that usually what is meant by this is that the husband is THE LEADER first, last, and always. And that is a different thing entirely from the prayer made in the right spirit. Same thing with the S word. I love that word. It’s just that I think we need more of it practiced by all who are in relationships rather than less of it by being practiced only by the females in the relationships. Who in a golf foursome is the leader? There must be chaos and confusion reigning on golf courses all over the country because one person is not always assigned the Leadership Role.

  260. Ken wrote:

    The word egalitarian for me is equated with compromise and indifference to the bible and if I’m honest, in some cases a gradual drift into if not outright apostacy then theological liberalism.

    Is the same true for the word “Feminism”? Because both words represent good concepts that should be embraced by Christians.

    Actually, the word complementarian is great- except that it doesn’t mean what it purports to mean. That is, I believe that men and women are not the same and complement one another. What I disagree with is the idea that hierarchy is attached to gender. That’s a heck of a leap to make from “equal with different roles” to “one gender is to lead and the other follow”.

    Comps accuse egalitarians of not being able to understand that people can be equal with different roles. But we DO understand that. What comps fail to understand is that when the roles in question are hierarchical in nature, there can be no equality.

  261. numo wrote:

    @ Jeff S:
    it will only get worse. Much worse, as in the daughter-father “dates.”

    Both that and the Purity Ball “Prom Nights” set off my Incest alarms.
    (Shades of Craster’s Keep…)

  262. numo wrote:

    And I will distrust the motives of the people who proposed this “study” until the cows come home.

    Ah well, I know them and I feel pretty good about their motives.

  263. Gram3 wrote:

    Does it come with a roll of Saran wrap?

    Probably without an accompanying rubber band.

    (Long ago, I ran into a reference/joke/Darwin Award/whatever about jury-rigging a condom from Saran wrap and a rubber band. Whatever the source, it did not end well.)

  264. @ Gram3:
    If only we acted like Jesus instead of throwing his name around. I have met many people whoa re of other faiths (or none at all) who are far more like Jesus in their behavior than many who showboat around about his name and how they are xtians. And yes, I’ve been in that boat, too, and it is sobering to find out that I have acted in a manner that Jesus never would.

    But live and learn, I guess.

    * A corollary: if I had not given in to the pressures re. a certain view of marriage, I probably would be married. As is, I would FAR rather be with someone who is Jewish, Buddhist, what have you who is kind, compassionate and sensitive to other people than with a so-called xtian who is nothing of the sort. Sadly, I have known more than a few women who ended up in awful marriages for that exact reason. The interesting thing is that I have *never,* not once, heard that passage about being “unequally yoked” used to apply to marriage except in evangelical/charismatic circles. Not.once.

    I mean, there might be a lot of pressure on someone to marry another Catholic, or another Lutheran, or what have you, but you just *never* hear that biz about being unequally yoked. It is a definite peculiarity of evangelicalism, and honestly, it strikes a lot of other xtians as not only odd but in extremely poor taste (prejudiced).

  265. Jeff S wrote:

    The wife was compared to a football, with a quick comment that it could be applied in reverse. That is, either the wife or the husband could be the ball, and the goal was to receive her. Even if she looks like a porcupine.

    Oh, I do not think this is going to end well. How inane.

  266. @ Jeff S.:

    My family is considering changing to a different LCMS congregation right now. It’s not strictly because of the gender roles stuff – which actually wasn’t really being talked about hardly at all at our current church until last year, when this one couple kind of discovered it and are now promoting it all over the place, which wouldn’t be a problem if they weren’t best friends with basically everyone in leadership (which we’re definitely not). It’s more because of what looks like cliquishness/favoritism problems, and transparency issues in decision-making and handling of money. Not surprisingly, most of the current leadership likes megas, Christian rock concert culture, etc. Sadly, it looks like it might turn into another case of the corruption following the trappings/look/brand.

    The way the gender roles stuff is being promoted by this couple does bother me too, though. At least the study at your church is using Wayne Grudem, who is at least on the intellectual end of the comp scale. They’re using Mark Gungor, who is on the comedian end. (If you’ve never seen him, good, save yourself the aneurysm.) The entire substance of his really famous talk is “men’s brains are like boxes, women’s brains are all these interconnected wires that run on emotion,” along with a “study” that supposedly showed men could be brain dead and still conscious, because you know how they are when they watch football.

    (Big surprise – when I tried to find the study it appeared not to exist. It’s almost as if accurate research is not the primary concern of comedians when writing their routines! :-O Except you know what, if you’re going to pass yourself off as a teacher, actually TEACH, from REAL SOURCES. Don’t do stand-up comedy and then call it “teaching” to make it sound legitimate.)

    But everybody takes him dead seriously and believes every word that proceeds from his mouth. I criticized him on FB and pointed out that nothing he said matched my lived experience, and I got the lame “well there are exceptions” card that assumes the rule without actually proving it. They invited to me to the class but it’s at a time when I can’t come, and honestly I’m not sure either they or I could stay calm anyway. Esp. since I know that the main couple behind all this, is actually dealing with autism spectrum disorders (both the dad and the son have them), not “male behavior,” and is thus misdiagnosing their own problem and risking treating their own son incorrectly. The mom seems to have turned to gender stereotypes to explain her male family member’s behavior, and she’s embraced that narrative so fully that there’s basically no shaking her at this point. I don’t think she’d know how to interpret reality anymore if she found out it was false.

    The pastor at the other church we’re considering moving to never mentions gender roles and his wife has actually made fun of them a bit. Like your situation, that church has its issues (they all do), but they’re not the same ones as at our current church. They are definitely more transparent, open and honest financially, which like I said, is actually the more pressing problem right now.

    I know numo would tell me to leave the LCMS altogether, but we’ve gone round about that before. And numo, that’s not intended as a dig – I really do understand where you’re coming from, and I do kind of wish the ELCA churches in my area worked for me right now, because my take on a lot of things is actually closer to a conservative-ish or moderate ELCA, esp. on gender issues.

  267. @ Jeff S:
    i do hope you’re right, Jeff. Truly. And I am *sure* that there are a lot of good, decent people in that church. But…

  268. Gram3 wrote:

    Surprisingly, I wouldn’t have a problem with anyone praying for my husband to lead me well. When he is leading, I hope he is leading well. The problem is that usually what is meant by this is that the husband is THE LEADER first, last, and always.

    Yep. Which actually was an interesting conversation I had with the other pastor at my church when I was dating my wife. He prayed that I would lead her well in group once. I later told him that I didn’t believe in gender hierarchy and mutual submission. He pointed out if there was mutual submission, there was times I would be a leader (which is true!) and if it was OK to pray that when I did so, I did so in a Godly way. I told him of course :) And we left it there.

    Talking about my pastor, I was just thankful that he was willing to show respect to different beliefs, even on something where we clearly disagree.

  269. @ Hester:
    If you can find another good LCMS congregation, go for it! If not, then I guess you will have to look at other options. And I wouldn’t rec. the ELCA across the board – much depends on the individual congregation, but that’s true in any denom. There are probably quite a few ELCA congregations that would *not* work for me, if only because I am pretty much an “I believe what the Creeds say” kinda gal.

  270. @ Hester:
    Have you thought about a more middle-of-the road or conservative Episcopal parish, maybe? Seems like it might be a good fit if you can’t find an LCMS parish that would work for you.

    Of course, with your music bona fides, the whole mega thing just doesn’t work, nor would it for me. (Even though I doubt the local congregations would know quite what to do with me and my African and Arabic/Turkish/Iranian/Armenian percussion instruments… ;)) Having been raised on chorales, I would be *very* loath to give them up.

  271. @ Jeff S.:

    The wife was compared to a football, with a quick comment that it could be applied in reverse. That is, either the wife or the husband could be the ball, and the goal was to receive her. Even if she looks like a porcupine.

    …???

    I never thought I’d say this, but think the waffles made more sense.

  272. numo wrote:

    i do hope you’re right, Jeff. Truly. And I am *sure* that there are a lot of good, decent people in that church. But…

    Yep, we have an exit strategy in place. It’s not until you dig deep with people that you can really know how it’s going to end. But I’d rather give people the chance if I have the strength.

  273. Stan wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    405? This is in Dallas, actually Irving. You kind of have to see for yourself on Google.

    Found it after some searching. Bing Maps Birds-eye View, adjacent to what looks like a megachurch on (what else?) Church St.

    Actually, it’s a reduced White House FACADE fronting an industrial tilt-up building.

    Reminds me of Polishing-the-Shaft Schaapf’s mega, which has a Little Brick Church façade & steeple grafted onto what looks like a Walmart/Big Box store building.

  274. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    Does it come with a roll of Saran wrap?
    Probably without an accompanying rubber band.
    (Long ago, I ran into a reference/joke/Darwin Award/whatever about jury-rigging a condom from Saran wrap and a rubber band. Whatever the source, it did not end well.)

    As is frequently the case due to my ignorance, I have no idea what you are talking about with the rubber band. I was talking about the marriage expert, Marabel Morgan, and her advice. It doesn’t work. But maybe that was a personal problem. :)

  275. Jeff S wrote:

    The list of how to lead your family was pretty bland, until you get to a bullet point that said “date your daughters”.
    Eww.

    Something camd across my FB this week from Desiring God about fathers dating their daughter’s boyfriend!! Eeeeewwwwww!

  276. @ numo:
    P.S.: I could, I think, easily switch over to some part of the Anglican Communion myself, because they ordain women and don’t promote any kind of gender segregation. But it would have to be a parish that I could live with, where orthodox xtianity was the order of the day.

    Still and all, the Anglican Communion allows for plenty of leeway, which is a big plus in my book.

  277. Hester wrote:

    @ Jeff S.:

    The wife was compared to a football, with a quick comment that it could be applied in reverse. That is, either the wife or the husband could be the ball, and the goal was to receive her. Even if she looks like a porcupine.

    …???

    I never thought I’d say this, but think the waffles made more sense.

    And probably taste better.

  278. @ Bridget:
    More seriously:

    Lord, have mercy.
    Christ, have mercy.
    Lord, have mercy.

    I mean this sincerely. That is so many kinds of messed up!

  279. numo wrote:

    but you just *never* hear that biz about being unequally yoked.

    I think it is very practical advice, though people frequently misunderstand what it means. And I don’t think it is necessarily offensive, though it certainly can be used that way.

  280. @ Jeff S:

    “he instead prayed that our interactions would be “filled with the Gospel”,
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    I appreciate his respectfulness. but this is a new one for me — ‘filled with the Gospel’….. so, now it fills us… what does it meant to be filled with it? how does one get filled with it? why do we need to be filled with ‘the Gospel’?

    Holy Spirit’s not enough?

    (sorry, Jeff, to go on a dissecting tangent here)

  281. @ Jeff S:
    Please do not make the mistake I did, which was hoping that people would change and “believing the best.” It did not end well. (understatement of the century.)

    In fact, I have never heard from any of the people who did the harm – i.e., the people who booed me. Not once, except for one message, which was very angry-sounding, about them wanting to publicly “send me off,” as if it was a choice I had made. I did not return that person’s call.

  282. @ elastigirl:
    No, it is definitely a weird thing, that usage. I wonder if that’s the next big thing in buzzwords?

    And yes, the theological implications are disturbing to me.

  283. @ Hester:

    The analogy was this: if you are a football player catching a ball, you have to keep your eye on the ball the whole way. You can’t look up at what’s surrounding you and except to keep holding on to the ball. If you look up, you’ll drop it and be defeated. So bascially, keep your eye on your spouse and “receive” him/her, don’t just “accept”. (The study materials made much about the difference between “receive” and “accept”).

    Weird, and OK- whatever. The porcupine line was a throwaway gag, I suppose, since the Christian marriage narrative is always about how there will be times you won’t like your spouse very much.

    It wasn’t bad, just strange. But what was more subtly bad was having 90% of the video be men talking and the only illustration a football one. Not great for a study targeted at both men and women.

  284. @ Gram3:
    i think much of the usage is quite offensive, as if people of other faiths and even other xtian denoms are somehow lesser forms of life. Not kidding about that, either. They are viewed as seriously deficient.

  285. numo wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    I remember that awful book – The Total Woman, right? What a joke!

    Gramp3 wanted to know what the purpose of the Saran wrap was. Of course, that was a long time ago…

  286. @ numo:

    Well, the ELCA church my family used to attend when I was a kid has changed a lot since we left it, so that is an option if the other LCMS church ever goes south. There were authority/dominant personality/control issues on staff when we used to be there that resulted in certain blackballed staff members being essentially pressured to resign, but the pastor and all the people who perpetrated that are now gone and it appears to be much healthier now.

    Unfortunately all the Episcopal parishes in my area are probably too liberal for me, and the conservative one was one of the churches in the state that stood up to the diocese on gay marriage. That in and of itself is not necessarily a problem, but 1) they lost their building/property after years of lawsuits (includ. trying to get a hearing at the Supreme Court) and hundreds of thousands of $$$, and are now extremely small (sounds like dying, actually) and meeting in a hotel. Plus their extremely popular priest is retiring, so I think they’re pretty well sunk. 2) They were well down the wannabe Messianic/charismatic route years ago and I know too many people there who are VERY scary for various reasons. Plus, having been raised Lutheran, I still like the Lutheran liturgy the best. :-) Though I’ve gotten used to choral evensong after being in a (basically semiprofessional) Episcopal-Anglican choir.

    Half my problem is, I’ve been doing music in my area so long and know so many of the local homeschoolers, that I know too much about too many churches (conservative and liberal), their history and the people who run them… :-)

  287. @ Gram3:
    i do not understand why it is such a big deal with evangelicals, and have yet to comprehend why it would be so awful to marry someone who is decent and kind but who believes somewhat (or a lot) differently than you do. Which is what it comes down to, in all the cases I can think of.

    I have been growled at (literally) and scowled at for even daring to mention that I had found myself attracted to a guy who wasn’t One Of Us. The vocals and expression were totally patriarchal, as were the ideas being expressed.

  288. Bridget wrote:

    Something camd across my FB this week from Desiring God about fathers dating their daughter’s boyfriend!! Eeeeewwwwww!

    It is very difficult to reform or recalibrate an ideology, and because of that you get to very ridiculous places. No one dares to say the emperor is nekkid, though, because they will change the locks on the clubhouse.

  289. elastigirl wrote:

    ‘filled with the Gospel’….. so, now it fills us… what does it meant to be filled with it? how does one get filled with it? why do we need to be filled with ‘the Gospel’?

    It fills (characterizes) the marriage. That is, that we are quick to forgive one another, repent when we fail, and that doing these enables the kind of vulnerability that builds intimacy. My pastor’s big take away on marriage is that your spouse is someone who is FOR you- who is your partner and you can trust to back you. I 100% believe he is correct, and that the best marriages are one that exemplify the kind of repentance, sacrifice, and forgiveness that are core to the Gospel.

  290. @ Hester:
    # 2 is a compelling reason, but so is what you say about music, imo. As for #1, yeah – that happens, unfortunately.

    I think it is very parish/congregation-dependent, in other words.

  291. Hester wrote:

    Though I’ve gotten used to choral evensong after being in a (basically semiprofessional) Episcopal-Anglican choir.

    Yes, this is something I could more than live with, although I would miss the Lutheran liturgy. (Which, btw, is almost identical per wording with the current RCC Mass, so…)

  292. Addendum @ numo:

    And you can probably tell I don’t live in a huge metro area. It’s not small town rural either, but it’s small enough that a lot of times different circles end up intersecting somehow, sometimes in weird ways. Like the time my hairdresser’s pipes burst while I was having my hair cut, and when the firefighters got there they asked her how the kids were… :-)

  293. numo wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    i think much of the usage is quite offensive, as if people of other faiths and even other xtian denoms are somehow lesser forms of life. Not kidding about that, either. They are viewed as seriously deficient.

    No, I get the bad usage. However, I think it is still good practical advice. People who need to work as a team need to be well-matched and of like mind. And listening to the same voices. If one member of the team has supreme loyalty to someone–Christ–and the other team member does not, then there will likely be some pulling in different directions toward different goals.

  294. @ Hester:
    Same here, though definitely more rural than where you are. But I know exactly what you speak of, if only because my mom used to know so much about various churches in the area, simply because she knew people who went to them.

  295. numo wrote:

    Please do not make the mistake I did, which was hoping that people would change and “believing the best.”

    I have entered cautiously into the interactions I have with people at my church. Remember, I came there VERY damaged and ready to flee at the first instance of hostility. But the pastors and members of the church thus far have been very open to receive me exactly how I am, and even when I’ve offered somewhat different ideas on topics, I have been encouraged rather than discouraged.

    So I’m doing my best to not make assumptions about how people will respond, but I’m doing my best to be honest about who I am and what I believe. Again, having the wife I do makes this 1000X times easier, because she backs me and the way I process things (even when we disagree).

    All that to say, I am being careful, but the church has a good track record thus far.

  296. @ numo:

    I’m thinking that Trinitarian Mormonism might need to be turned into a blog post. I’m also FB friends with Jeff S. so sometimes he gets to see even more of my rants than the people here… :-)

  297. Gram3 wrote:

    An apology is not change. Change is change. So far we have an apology of sorts coupled with ongoing excuses for what they did to her. If we applied this standard in the real world, people would be apoplectic. And rightly so.

    Yes. Change is what’s needed.

    The way I would put it is: Chandler’s in-person apology is a good start, and Karen seems to agree it was genuine and heartfelt. But if it isn’t followed by change, then it will turn out to be hollow.

  298. Jeff S wrote:

    Hester wrote:

    Well, who knows how involved they were other than being interviewed. FWIW, here is the study: http://theartofmarriage.com/

    Featured experts:

    Dave Harvey
    Mary Kassian

    Dave Harvey:

    Dr. Dave Harvey (D. Min., Westminster Theological Seminary) is the Pastor of Preaching at Four Oaks Community Church having served in pastoral ministry since 1986. Dave continues to serve on the board of CCEF and travels nationally and internationally preaching on marriage, leadership, and local church life. He is the author of When Sinners Say “I Do”, Am I Called? and Rescuing Ambition. Dave lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife, Kimm. They have four children

    Note that his bio leaves OUT SGM.

  299. Gs wrote:

    You come across as someone who will never be satisfied

    ding ding ding I’ve heard this before. It was said to dismiss my concerns and was also likely used to dismiss the half of the congregation that left an authoritarian church.

    Rather than putting someone on the defensive, a better question would be what would it take, and start a discussion rather than the dismissive “you’ll never …”

  300. Hester wrote:

    Like your situation, that church has its issues (they all do), but they’re not the same ones as at our current church.

    I think I’ve heard this one several times, in person. They said they were ready for some new issues. In those circumstances the same issue or causation kept coming up, no resolution, no one listening.

    I believe the actual difference for them was not whether the issue was different but whether there was resolution. It was the same old, leadership doesn’t listen. Problems are endemic to people and people are in churches, but that doesn’t mean we just have to put up with the same problem over and over because an authoritarian structure won’t admit there is a problem.

    “Leadership” has become a bad word with many I know, we don’t use it as a positive descriptor anymore.

  301. Bill M wrote:

    “Leadership” has become a bad word with many I know, we don’t use it as a positive descriptor anymore.

    It should be leadership by example. Or at least competence. Now it just means “I’m boss.”

  302. I’m continually amazed by the rabbit trails, rabbit holes, off-topic entries this site generates. Just a off-topic observation.

  303. Gram3 wrote:

    It should be leadership by example. Or at least competence. Now it just means “I’m boss.”

    It should be someone you can trust, someone who will help bring order, but so often it is someone “up there”, not on our level, someone detached from us.

  304. @ Gram3:
    Ice cream. Definitely. Have some for me while you’re at it, please. I love the stuff, but it doesn’t love me.

  305. Bill M wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    It should be leadership by example. Or at least competence. Now it just means “I’m boss.”
    It should be someone you can trust, someone who will help bring order, but so often it is someone “up there”, not on our level, someone detached from us.

    Definitely. Trust is a huge issue, and the leaders don’t seem to understand that they are not entitled to it but rather earn it.

  306. alethia wrote:

    @ Daisy:
    Well, according to ‘real’ Calvinism, Jesus doesn’t heal anyone. Healing implies that there is health that can be restored.

    I figure that TVC, in the face of a PR nightmare, decided to cut their losses in a battle that they were going to lose. I appreciate Karen’s stand for what was right and just. High fives to her and peace.

    I have been a Calvinist for 30 years but I have never heard that Calvinist do not believe in the healing power of Jesus Christ. I do not think we should judge the motives of these men seeking forgiveness. All parties should be commended.

  307. John wrote:

    I do not think we should judge the motives of these men seeking forgiveness.

    I think what you are seeing in some of our comments is skepticism based on things these men have done/said and things they have not done/said which we would expect from elders exhibiting true repentance. When a group of people do a 180 in a matter of a few days and the only intervening condition has been an public outcry, and when the people do not explain the 180 or how they got things so backward and inside-out in the first place, then reasonable observers are going to make those kinds of observations and ask the questions you see some of us asking. Certainly we cannot know their motives. However, real repentance is evidenced by more than words that sound like those that a PR person would write. The fruit of repentance includes real change. So far, we have no evidence of that.

  308. Barbara Roberts wrote:

    If they are only thinking she had grounds because Jordan had been watching ILLEGAL pornography, then that means that they may believe that any woman whose husband is addicted to legal pornography has no grounds for divorce.

    There is a Christian sociologist who wrote a paper a few months ago who argued that single Christian women should not consider (adult / legal) porn use a “deal breaker” and should go ahead and marry a single, Christian man who has a porn problem. I kid you not.

    His paper about this subject appeared on some fairly well known Christian blog or magazine online.

    This guy was arguing in favor of this, because he is concerned that with the marriage rates being super low among Christians, that Christian women need to drop their standards, stop being picky, and marry any old Christian single man who can fog up a mirror, even if he uses porn.

  309. I too am glad they “repented.” I say that in quotes, because TVC were/are under immense scrutiny, so they kind of HAD TO do something. None of this would have happened unless Karen brought it to light. Basically, TVC was forced. TVC bullied Karen and SIM first and when they couldn’t shut Karen up, and found out they were going to be exposed on national TV, they had to address it. Karen was not the only one to to be wronged by TVC. In my opinion, some of the elders should be fired. Really, they should step down. The unloving behavior some elders have continually shown members disqualifies them from being elders. TVC saw was happened to Driscoll. TVC was not about to go down like Mars Hill. They had to do emergency spin control fast. There was too much $$$$ to be lost.

  310. I am not sure what you all want these folks to repent of. They certainly are not going to repent of their theology or their philosophy of church management, and they never said they would. They settled the issues with Karen apparently to her satisfaction. They goofed up badly and when they saw there was nothing for it but to back down, they did. It does not seem likely to me that any of them would think that they had to change their whole religious life style just because of this mess. Probably they will try not to get in this particular sort of problem again, at least not to this extent. Probably there will be some window dressing to make things look better and perhaps some heart to heart talk with whoever was the driving force behind taking this so far. Perhaps somebody slid a little farther down the ladder and now has to redeem himself to keep his job or at least his rank in the pecking order. And perhaps they will try for a little tighter control of their people who are in conspicuous positions (like staff and missionaries and such) to avoid any such as this in the future. It could be that they will assess how much they think that they have to worry about this one or that one and it could be that somebody will lose their position or their financial support because their ‘attitude’ causes some concern farther up the line. They don’t want to go through this again for sure.

    Or we may see revival while the angel chorus is heard in the background. That would be amazing, but I have not seen too much of that in my lifetime.

  311. John wrote:

    I do not think we should judge the motives of these men seeking forgiveness

    Am I entitled to some skepticism?

  312. Nancy wrote:

    Or we may see revival while the angel chorus is heard in the background. That would be amazing, but I have not seen too much of that in my lifetime.

    Nor have I. However, whenever things have changed, there was a reason that they changed. Maybe this will be just another blip in the business as usual. Or maybe it will be a turning point toward repenting of false doctrine. It does not happen often, for sure. And it would be personally costly, for sure. I do not believe that these men thought they were being malicious, but I do agree with Flicker that what they actually did was malicious. What they did was intentional, not a mistake or a slip up in the system. This is the system. And until someone figures that out and how all this happened, I think we can expect more Karens. Maybe not right away because they will be minding their P’s and Q’s. But at some point.

  313. @ Lydia:

    I was wondering about some of those things you mentioned. If Root should molest any children in or around TVC, can’t the church be held legally accountable, especially since they went on and on about how they were handling it, and getting him therapy?

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  315. Lydia wrote:

    My guess is legal counsel told them to focus on specialized certified therapy and make sure it is announced. They have a legal situation more than people realize. Their covenant is a legal document and they have accepted the “repentance” of a confessed pedophile. That puts them in a tenuous position legally since they have announced the guy is free to attend small group and church as they “walk through repentence” with him. They even have documentation stating how to treat them when they come back knowing full well what he had confessed to. Just go back and look at their own very public words on this from the starting point.

    A new post at Watch Keep, mostly about SIM, but with some embedded tweets related to The Village Church. Perhaps some of the legal concerns raised there would be relevant to both organizations.

    http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2015/06/new-snap-statement-on-jordan-root-sim.html

  316. I recall comments on this site and others that we should stay quiet, that we didn’t know “the other side of the story”. Apparently there wasn’t one.

    It will now be interesting to see “the rest of the story”. I wish Karen well and given her judgement and fortitude, she has earned my support in her future endeavors.

    TVC, et al has apologized yet prior to that they wreaked havoc in her life instead of bringing help. Instead of making sure she was provided for during her very difficult time they instead appeared to go out of their way to negatively lean on the mission organization that supported her. A real way TVC can now build some trust is to be supportive of Karen’s future. I’m not talking money from TVC, not their insufferable version of “care”, just some friendly support of a worthy adult woman who has shown remarkable grace.

  317. @ Gram3:
    And I’m sure the only reason they issued this extremely grudging and slyly-worded apology is that people like Matt Redmond, the Deebs, Matthew Paul Turner, David Hayward et. al. published blog posts about it.

    The people @TVC couldn’t just wish that away.

  318. Bill M wrote:

    recall comments on this site and others that we should stay quiet, that we didn’t know “the other side of the story”.

    People always say that. AS if there is some big secret that if we all knew would mean everything that has happened publicly would seem perfectly logical. Yeah, right. Have heard that a million times. Sadly, I have used it myself in my mega days. (shamed face) You have to be in the club to know the big secret that there is no big secret. :o) But what else can they say if they are in defend mode?

    Oh, I almost forget. They say, “Believe the best” or “Trust positive intentions”.

    Folks, if you hear either of those…RUN.

  319. I feel like it is miraculous. I just wish we, over at Give Her Wings, could give every mama who has been spurned by her church and family (and told that her divorce was “unbiblical”) this kind of experience. I wish I could have had it, as well. But, progress.

  320. @ Daisy:

    Jordon Root is a huge albatross around their necks of their OWN making. They were playing god with church discipline and it might come back to haunt them. I keep thinking about documentation, dates and lies. It is all right there. They LIED to their people and played it down even with the counseling. They even gave instructions on how to talk to Jordan and Karen when they came back. (Sheesh! Do the Villagers really like being treated like children?) And the SIM thing? That just reeks. But Karen is moving on…good for her.

    Was their legal counsel another 20 something YRR just graduated? The problem is TVC took on too much responsibility for a pedophile. And it is documented. They were playing god with their power tool– the church covenant.

    I bet they have their CEO/Board liability insurance paid up.

  321. numo wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    Very much agreed, Gram.

    I hope, as I do in all these cases, that there will be a turning away from the doctrines of mere humans and toward Christ. Regardless of the doctrines.

    On a parallel track this week, I had a phone conversation with the local representative of a Corporation whom I am encouraging in my own winsome way to do the right thing for a bunch of little people that they are negatively affecting. So, this very nice young man was very apologetic and assured me that the Corporation wants to do the right thing. I said that is great, and told him exactly where they could find the information they need to do the right thing because Gramp3 had already done the research and just happened to have the professional organization that could help them with their problem.

    I told this nice young man that the only question is whether the Corporation wants to incur the expense necessary to remedy a situation they created and which can be readily remedied. And I reminded this nice young man that said Corporation has had abundant funds available for image enhancement activities, so this would be a relatively small expense. And finally, I told him sincerely that I appreciated his call but that a phone call to me is not the same thing as doing the right thing for the little people they are ignoring and would he please pass that along to his people. And until then, we shall continue our Community Organizing and Corporate Encouragement activities.

    So, I do try to be consistently cranky about false assurances. When the Corporation takes the appropriate action, then we can know that the Corporation really does want to do the right thing. Until then, however, we can only assume they are just words intended to make their problem go away. And if they only do the right thing after all other courses open to them have been exhausted, then we can assume that they never really had any intention of doing the right thing just because it was the right thing.

  322. @ Jeff S.:

    The financial issues are very recent, less than a month old in fact. The cliquishness was there before but we were dealing with it, because at the time the clique was not doing anything super damaging, we basically just read them as being insular and a bit clueless. There was a blip of a transparency issue a few months back, but we decided to see what would happen. What happened was, last month, what looks like an extravagant $22,000 proposed project, which appears to be being started with no apparent congregational approval and (by their own admission) no source of funding, when they are already $30,000+ in the red. Literally every other person we described this project to was horrified and recognized it as extravagant. When we brought this up to church leadership, they told us we were wrong and that it was reasonable, and that they need it because no one will come unless they are “trendy” (verbatim quote).

    I assume the bill will be forwarded to the parishioners.

    Suffice to say we all wish it hadn’t turned out this way. We love the pastor, but everyone else in leadership is completely locked into a standard evangelical megachurch wannabe mindset. And like I said before, it seems to me that folks who want most to copy megachurch culture, also end up copying megachurch tactics (i.e., nontransparency and faddishness). No Lutheran – nobody at all, really – should touch that stuff with a 50 foot pole. I wish they could see that.

  323. @ Gram3:

    IOW, The right words are NOT actions. But we have a culture that equates nice words with actions. It is almost as if people believe that if you “feel” sorry and “say” sorry then no “right” action needs to be taken.

    This thinking is everywhere. I always tell my kids, “It is what you DO next that really matters”. (AFter they have done something wrong)

  324. Addendum @ Jeff S.:

    Oh, I don’t recognize him. He was SGM?

    Oh yeah, Dave Harvey was bigwig SGM. I think someone mentioned above that he wrote When Sinners Say “I Do”. Remember the guy I mentioned on my blog whose mom turned down my courtship request? The PCA folks gave him that book when he got engaged to his (now) wife for their premarital counseling. I remember I read the description online and it said something about spouses being “sin surgeons” for each other. Must be like “sin sniffing,” but with a scalpel. 😀 Ouch.

  325. @ Lydia:

    Mary Kassian

    IIRC Kassian is a lot more extreme than she comes off, when you actually read her stuff. I think she was the one I read who was sorta half-saying that women shouldn’t talk in church at all, but posed it as a “Ladies, don’t you think you can give up one hour of talking all week?” kind of way. So she didn’t really say you had to. She just strongly implied that you wouldn’t be sacrificing quite enough for Jesus if you didn’t. At least that was how it came off to me.

  326. LT wrote:

    They even allowed a registered sex offender into a youth group once despite being warned about it because they want everyone to feel welcomed.

    Sigh. I wish church people would stop being so naive, since it puts people in danger.

  327. @ LT:

    Marcus Lamb once had an affair on his wife.

    You said, :I was horrible to my wife which makes me a tv marriage expert” Jimmy (the Donald) Evans”

    Jimmy Evans has also made comments on his marriage show before that it takes one male brain with a female brain to make one whole person, so marriage is necessary and great etc and so on.

    I am a never-married lady. Can you guess what I think about that view?

    Your assessment of Evans’ shtick is right on. Almost every time I’ve seen him on his own show or as a guest on “Praise the Lord”, he goes on for quite some time about how he was an insensitive jerk wad of a husband. He seems to think that is a selling point of sorts to sell his marital advice.

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  329. Bob M wrote:

    and all churches in that orb would become full blown egalitarians. You have elevated that doctrine too high.

    Why would it being blowing it too high, when the Bible teaches, and Jesus taught, the egalitarian position?

  330. Bob M wrote:

    Complementarianism is not toxic.

    It most certainly is – it’s codependency with a veneer of Christianese thrown on top of it. I escaped it a few years ago and have been much happier ever since.

  331. Hester wrote:

    I remember I read the description online and it said something about spouses being “sin surgeons” for each other.

    Is this that whole idea that marriage is to reveal and deal with our sin, not make us happy? It seems almost all Christian ideas about marriage are about cautioning us that it’s really unfun and unpleasant all around.

  332. @ Bob M:

    I think comp is evil. It has several assumptions and attitudes towards women that are similar to what ISIS believes in their interpretation of Islam.

    The rest of it, is, as I was just saying, codependency for women passed off as being “biblical”

  333. Nancy wrote:

    Churches need good people, skilled people and effective people, but just because some are women is no magic answer.

    I think you’re mixing apples and oranges.

    I don’t think anyone believes all women are the most qualified or angelic, but that women – no women at all, regardless of their qualifications – are given equal opportunities in comp churches.

  334. Jeff S wrote:

    The list of how to lead your family was pretty bland, until you get to a bullet point that said “date your daughters”.
    Eww.

    There are actually some comp or patriarchy guys who have written articles telling fathers to date their daughter’s boyfriends. I am not making that up.

  335. Ken wrote:

    The word egalitarian for me is equated with compromise and indifference to the bible and if I’m honest,

    —-
    That is what the word “complementarian” or phrase “biblical womanhood” equates to for me.

    Comp is not biblical. It kept me in bondage for years, it also messed up my mother.

  336. Stan wrote:

    So TBN isn’t totally a Dallas thing,

    TBN has studios in New York, California, maybe on in Florida (they film some of their episodes from The Holy Land theme park, which is in Florida).

    They also have branches all around the world, including a recently built studio in Great Britain. They are all over.

  337. Hester wrote:

    IIRC Kassian is a lot more extreme than she comes off, when you actually read her stuff

    Oh, I agree. I have read some of her stuff in the past. She has found a good gig with the comp world. But the irony is she travels and works AND men are listening to her in the videos and in other places. Ever heard her talk her way around that?

  338. Jeff S wrote:

    Personally, if I want a Bible study, I just want to study the Bible. If I want to learn about marriage, I’ll go to people who have studied marriage. I don’t know why worship time often gets co-opted into “improve every area of your life” time.

    I have never been married, as such tend to notice the focus on marriage stuff way more than married couples do – and churches definitely way over-do the marriage studies and marriage sermons. You never hear them doing studies or sermons on adult singleness or celibacy.

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  340. @ Jeff S:
    Not just Jeff S here, but several people above say they don’t like the word “egalitarian.” The word egal. doesn’t bother me.

    The only issue I have with the word is when a comp tries to tarnish what egal. means by linking it to secular feminism or liberal theology in general and then saying, “it’s anti Bible” or “it’s hostile to the Bible.”

    And that is just what a complementarian in this thread was doing, saying,”it reminds me of X, and X is bad, so it must be just like X and just as bad.”

  341. Albuquerque Blue wrote:

    Good to hear things have been resolved to Ms. Hinkley’s satisfaction.

    Thank you so much for setting up the GoFundMe campaign for Karen. It’s wonderful that you, an Atheist, did that!! And that Pastor Wade Burleson, as Baptist pastor in Enid, OK, was one of the first to contribute, as he promised.

  342. Hester wrote:

    They’re using Mark Gungor, who is on the comedian end. (If you’ve never seen him, good, save yourself the aneurysm.)

    Gungor used to have his own weekly show about marriage.

    I think it was on the Daystar network? He would sometimes take questions from the audience and respond on his show. He advocates for early marriage.

    Gungor has been a guest on TBN’s “Praise the Lord” show many times.

    You can watch some of his video clips here (or not):
    http://www.itbn.org/search?search=Mark+Gungor&submit_search=search

  343. @ Jeff S:

    Sometimes I think Christians over think things. Make things more complicated than they need to be, marriage is one of those things.

  344. John wrote:

    I have been a Calvinist for 30 years but I have never heard that Calvinist do not believe in the healing power of Jesus Christ.

    This is actually a problem.

    Many of the guys I saw on social media naively claiming that, “Jesus can heal pedos” (and they were implying it’s not necessary to send a pedo to a qualified therapist who knows how to counsel sex abusers, just have him pray to Jesus about it) are Calvinist or were Reformed in theology.

    Some, I don’t know, because they did not state in their posts or profiles what their theological leanings are/were, but others did.

  345. Jeff S wrote:

    Is this that whole idea that marriage is to reveal and deal with our sin, not make us happy? It seems almost all Christian ideas about marriage are about cautioning us that it’s really unfun and unpleasant all around.

    Yes, I have noticed that.

    I used to post to a board for Christians. It had a sub forum for singles, one for marrieds.

    You’d see talking head Christians in the media yelling at us singles to marry, but some of the marrieds in the married forum would go on about how difficult and horrible marriage was.

    I told my fellow singles they aren’t doing a very good job of promoting something we’re supposed to do.

    Some of the Christians who promote the idea of how horrible marriage is, and how much hard work it is, are probably the same ones who also make being single past 35 sound worse than having the plague.

    You do have this section of Christians in the U.S. who act like adult singleness is horrible and terribly flawed. But at other times, they depict marriage as being hideous. They can’t really make up their minds.

  346. Daisy wrote:

    LT wrote:

    They even allowed a registered sex offender into a youth group once despite being warned about it because they want everyone to feel welcomed.

    Sigh. I wish church people would stop being so naive, since it puts people in danger.

    In the case of Robert Morris and his Gateway “church”, I think we may safely say that they didn’t want the sex offender’s tithe money to feel unwelcome.

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  348. Daisy wrote:

    wrote:

    Nancy wrote:

    Churches need good people, skilled people and effective people, but just because some are women is no magic answer.

    Well what we’ve heard so much about – that men have to be in charge in so many of the (comp) churches – hasn’t proven to be “a magic answer” either. In fact, they have created countless disasters.

  349. Lydia wrote:

    Deb wrote:
    Lydia wrote:
    When something like this goes public, our first question really should be, Oh dear, how many more similar situations are there of lording it over that we don’t know about?
    This deeply concerns both Dee and me. We fear there are some who are suffering in silence, and we are praying for them.
    Most do suffer in silence. Going public is just about the most courageous thing people can do in these systems. I cannot say it too many times: Karen is the poster girl for me in courage, wisdom and maturity.
    Karen is the REAL elder in this particular situation.
    People who go public need tons of support. They NEED for people to give THEM the benefit of the doubt and believe them. Going public is akin to going up against “City Hall”. Everything and everyone in the system is arranged against you from the start. I know people who move away so as to get away from the tentacles of their former church.

    Lydia, I understand this sort of thing quite well having been a member of a toxic Christian sect that turned into a full-blown cult. The peer pressure from inside to tow the line is palpably felt on a daily basis, especially in cases like mine where we lived communally. One knows that in an insular environment, to step out of line is to risk rejection from close friends, public humiliation and intimidation, and warnings about one’s spiritual condition. The stress on the mind, body and soul is overwhelming. Those who escape controlling churches/sects/cults that abuse in this way, need support systems as soon as possible. Otherwise many who leave are susceptible to becoming unhinged/becoming mentally unstable, or buckling under the pressure of the controlling church/sect/cult from which they have just left. The battle in the mind can be horrific because of the challenge in distinguishing which thoughts are true and which are lies. Healing from such damage often takes years.

  350. Jeff S wrote:

    @ Lydia:
    I could not have done this a year ago. Not sure I could do it now. But having my wife at my side will help.
    I did manage to say last night that Voddie Baucham taught a lot of really bad things and I’d be wary of listening to him, and no one really seemed offended by that. I was actually pretty encouraged by the groups willingness to discus the topics and challenge what was being said.
    Of course, again, not TOO much of what was said by the “experts” in the first video was that bad.

    Jeff, do you know about the Voddie Baucham teaching on children as vipers? If not, I can send you a link. It is quite disturbing.

  351. I think there are some real things to be optimistic about here, & as for the rest, time will tell.

    I think they probably are courting flak for saying that Karen has real grounds for divorce/annulment: that looks like a real shift to me. They will have to back this up with actual evidence at some point – what exactly were those grounds? How do they relate to others? This could bring freedom for others & is a lot further than I thought Karen would get.

    I’m also happy to see they have said Jordan’s issues are beyond them, & beyond ‘Biblical counselling’. Admitting this & putting him in the hands of an independent professional for treatment also hopefully shows a growth in understanding of paedophilia – I really hope this means any others who attend TVC will come under this new understanding & therefore have totally different boundaries imposed for them.

    If Karen is happy, I can accept that – she’s been so wise thus far.

    And I also think that calls in this thread for the asian country to be named are misplaced – the Missionary agency has done everything right thus far, & unless you intend to personally police every possible situation then accepting their competence to deal with this is perfectly fine. Child Protection is ultimately a group endeavour, unless you have evidence the group or individuals in it are incompetent or complicit with abuse.

  352. Gram3 wrote:

    So, where, exactly am I slipping off into liberalism or apostasy?

    You’re not slipping into liberalism!

    What I said was in my experience in the UK the word ‘egalitarian’ tends to equate with indifference to the bible. The NT says something that on the face of it challenges modern ways of thinking, so let’s relegate it to the past or simply ignore it. That is far worse to me than ‘arguing’ about what it meant back then and what it means for today. At least the bible is open. To ignore it is to put it on the shelf and let it gather dust, which I’m sure is the last thing you would want to do.

    Rachel Held Evans does a lot of damage to the egalitarian cause because of her attitude to the bible.

  353. Like some of you, the wording of TVC’s “apology” bothered me. TVC states that they changed their minds after they got “more information” also that they made “errors.” It is WAY more than that. They were very heavy handed, wrong on many levels and very unloving. IMO, that “apology” from the pulpit and in the letter to members showed a couple of things. First and foremost it was made by the 501(c)3 organization and not the brothers in Christ. The carefully worded “apology” proves that. Second, it seems the apology for how TVC was perceived by others. If Karen feels good about the outcome, I am very happy for her. As for TVC, I pray they make good on their claims. I also wonder where is the church discipline for the offending elders? One other thought: What about the other thousands of people that go to that church who are not members? Do they know their children were exposed to a Pedophile? Too bad this wasn’t made known church wide to all people at TVC.

  354. Jeff S wrote:

    Is the same true for the word “Feminism”? Because both words represent good concepts that should be embraced by Christians.
    Actually, the word complementarian is great- except that it doesn’t mean what it purports to mean. That is, I believe that men and women are not the same and complement one another. What I disagree with is the idea that hierarchy is attached to gender.

    I see feminism as good if it means equal treatment or equal opportunity, equal pay for equal work etc. It’s bad when used in the sense of believing motherhood and family second class or less worthwhile than getting a career, wealth and fame on the corporate ladder, or if it is anti men.

    In Kenville, the emphasis on being ‘complementary’ is largely as you describe it here. Where I part company from you is seeing different yet still complementary responsibilities in the home – and in the church for that matter. It’s a pity that this latter always seems to dominate the discussion.

    I don’t like the word hierarchy, it is hardly applicable when applied to husband and wife, nor really in the church with pastors and teachers and members. To me it speaks of a whole series of different ranks, as in the Army or landed aristocracy – or corporate structure of modern management.

    Yet even with the Army and upper classes you can have different ranks, functions and responsibilities and yet be ‘equal’ at the same time, as in all being equal under the law. So I don’t see equality and different function as being incompatible. Because of this ESS doesn’t bother me one way or the other, for example.

    I’d echo some good advice John Piper once gave (you did read that correctly!) over being faithful to the text even if you “sound Arminian”.

    If in a sermon or bible study being faithful to the particular text means sounding egalitarian, let it sound egalitarian.

    If in a sermon being faithful to the text means sounding complementarian, let it sound complementarian.

    It’s then up to the congregation to use their brains to understand the relationship of both concepts. This isn’t the only issue where differing truths have to be held in tension by Christian believers.

  355. Lars wrote:

    As for TVC, I pray they make good on their claims. I also wonder where is the church discipline for the offending elders? One other thought: What about the other thousands of people that go to that church who are not members?

    I think you might find the post i am writing on Monday to be of interest. i will raise some questions that mirror you comment.

  356. Pingback: Pastoral Care Has its Limits and Must Allow for the Priesthood of the Believer | A Cry For Justice UNITED STATES

  357. Ken wrote:

    Where I part company from you is seeing different yet still complementary responsibilities in the home – and in the church for that matter.

    My wife and I have different but complementary roles in the home. I think the difference between you and I is that I don’t believe these roles are governed by reproductive organs (except when they biologically are- for instance, I would not try to give birth to a child!), they are governed by how God has gifted and called us.

    You may not like the word “hierarchy”, but that’s what it means for one person to lead and one person to follow. The difference between army “ranks” and gender roles is that army ranks are not tied to a person’s being, but rather his or her situation. They are temporary. If no black person was every allowed to attain “General” rank, that would be more akin to what complementarianism teaches about gender roles. If gender roles were like army ranks, a wife would be able to spiritually lead the family if she’d demonstrated a talent for doing so and had the experience to warrant the position. But this is not the case- instead it is tied inseparably to her being. Her very identity is a subordinate.

  358. Darlene wrote:

    Jeff S wrote:
    @ Lydia:
    I could not have done this a year ago. Not sure I could do it now. But having my wife at my side will help.
    I did manage to say last night that Voddie Baucham taught a lot of really bad things and I’d be wary of listening to him, and no one really seemed offended by that. I was actually pretty encouraged by the groups willingness to discus the topics and challenge what was being said.
    Of course, again, not TOO much of what was said by the “experts” in the first video was that bad.
    Jeff, do you know about the Voddie Baucham teaching on children as vipers? If not, I can send you a link. It is quite disturbing.

    Can you just post the link. I’d like to see it, too.

  359. Ben Denison wrote:

    This doesn’t directly mention TVC, but I’ve been watching The Gospel Coalition web site to see if any of that crowd would speak in the wake of what TVC did to Karen, and this is the first thing I’ve spotted that’s even close:
    http://9marks.org/article/why-church-discipline-goes-awry-and-what-to-do-when-it-does/

    It’s worth noting that this is by Jonathan Leeman, the one non–Villager most responsible for the whole fiasco. His “Membership” book is the sole required reading for prospective covenant Villagers. It’s a shame he can’t address the current situation by name, nor offer to rethink his damaging doctrines, but only excerpt an upcoming book suggesting better style for the same Satinic (or is it Stanic) substance.
    BTW, Jared Wilson has also posted a book excerpt, with the headline implying the real problem is a PR one:
    http://ftc.co/resource-library/blog-entries/5-ways-to-keep-church-discipline-from-seeming-weird
    That’s right, Jared– *church discipline* as taught by your buddies does “seem” weird sometimes!
    BTW– totally happy and thankful that Chandler has done the right thing now regarding Karen.

  360. Florence in KY wrote:

    Florence

    I am glad you have had spent your life attending healthy Baptist churches, free of all of this hierarchy and membership covenants now being imposed in so many churches with the take-overs by the Neo-Cals.

  361. I’ve been thinking more about this. The apology to Karen was an apology to her about her particular situation and how she was treated. It sounds like, in addition, as a result of Karen’s case, the leaders of the church are more enlightened now regarding appropriate interventions for pedophiles and their wives. She has been apologized to and can move on, but the public notification of church members of what the elders were apologizing for deserves more scrutiny.

    “Regarding Covenant Membership, we have not changed our theological or philosophical convictions on our Membership Covenant, member care and church discipline. These are *beliefs rooted in Scripture*, and we strongly believe they are necessary for our health and faithfulness as a church.” However, in looking closely at the way we have handled some situations, we realize that there are clear and specific instances where we have let our membership practices blind us to the person in front of us, in turn leading us to respond in a way that doesn’t reflect our desire to be loving and caring to our members.”

    “the most important point is that we recognize that we must never allow our processes and procedures to take precedence over people, specifically those we are called to love, care, protect and sacrifice for as elders of the church. In everything our actions and tone must reflect the gentleness (Gal. 6:1) and humility (1 Peter 5:1-3) to which Scripture calls us. As James 2:13 says, mercy should triumph over judgment.”

    What they are saying, if one distills it down, is that they let their own law triumph over love, and they realize that is wrong. But for some reason, they cling to their law nonetheless. They may revise implementation, but not membership covenants, church discipline, or member “care” will not change as those beliefs are supposedly “rooted in Scripture.” (That memo asking whether they have yet “pushed her under” their “care” is rather telling. It sounds like being pushed under a bus, train, etc. ie one will get run over and that is the way it worked) They do not see that those views are rooted in their own interpretation of Scripture and they are not re-examining whether their interpretation of Scripture is in fact correct. Many churches function fine with the Spirit, the Scriptures, and love and wisdom. These churches can see that a guy who ditches his wife for his secretary and shows up with secretary at church should be told that he is not welcome to do that. If he continues, they will make the point more strongly and that’s the way church discipline is carried out. They also manage to deal with church members or attenders who are known to be engaging in other sin through a combination of direct counsel, patience in allowing the person to grow through normal means, and allowing room for the Spirit to convict on His timetable. Is that really that hard? The Bible doesn’t mention “church” membership, but rather all believers being members of Christ’s body. There is no written covenant, etc. So how do they not see that while Scripture is authoritative, they had to interpret and apply Scripture to create their covenant, policies, systems, etc. and that those filters/interpretations might be flawed and the reason they chose law over love?

  362. Ken wrote:

    I don’t like the word hierarchy, it is hardly applicable when applied to husband and wife, nor really in the church with pastors and teachers and members. To me it speaks of a whole series of different ranks, as in the Army or landed aristocracy – or corporate structure of modern management.
    Yet even with the Army and upper classes you can have different ranks, functions and responsibilities and yet be ‘equal’ at the same time, as in all being equal under the law.

    Kinda contradictory imo. Equal…YET or Equal…BUT Equal in SOME areas. Equal in MOST areas. Equal but DIFFERENT.

    If you compare the church to a military organization, remember that given time and experience, a private can become a general.

    If you compare a corporation, remember that a fledgling who works in the mailroom has the opportunity given the education and determination, can become the CEO.

    Can you imagine when someone joins the army or is interviewing for employment being told, “don’t even think of advancing in this organization….?” “You can only be promoted to the mailroom director…but don’t interpret that as a supervisory position.”

    How silly.

  363. @ dee:
    Update:
    In my newly-appointed role as TWW profit a couple weeks ago, I profit-seed 4 things for the village:
    1: A sincere-sounding apology from Chandler. Check.
    2: A promise to look for ways to improve in the future. Check..
    3: A reiteration of policies to keep children safe while at official church activities. Check.
    4: Kephales to be transitioned. Pending. I still expect this within the year.
    As someone commented earlier, it’s noteworthy there’s been no statement from the 3 pastors who made the mistakes. Nor did any of them sit down with Karen, apparently. (Not that she needed or wanted this, necessarily.)

  364. Abi Miah wrote:

    What they are saying, if one distills it down, is that they let their own law triumph over love, and they realize that is wrong. But for some reason, they cling to their law nonetheless. They may revise implementation, but not membership covenants, church discipline, or member “care” will not change as those beliefs are supposedly “rooted in Scripture.”

    They are going to be more benevolent dictators?

  365. Victorious wrote:

    If you compare the church to a military organization, remember that given time and experience, a private can become a general.

    “Don’t be like the Gentiles who lord it over” is referencing the Greek chain of being which has roots and expression in their Military.

  366. Victorious wrote:

    If you compare a corporation, remember that a fledgling who works in the mailroom has the opportunity given the education and determination, can become the CEO.

    I just thought of something even sillier. How about a woman being hired to work in the mailroom and is happy because she knows the importance of getting the mail to other employees in a timely fashion. But she is now told she can only distribute mail to the female employees. But no such restriction is place on the male mailroom employees…he can distribute mail to both male and female employees….just because that’s our rule.

  367. @ Ken:

    I see feminism as good if it means equal treatment or equal opportunity, equal pay for equal work etc. It’s bad when used in the sense of believing motherhood and family second class or less worthwhile than getting a career, wealth and fame on the corporate ladder, or if it is anti men.

    Not to stir the pot, but I agree with you…and so do many secular feminists.

    😀

  368. lydia wrote:

    Abi Miah wrote:
    What they are saying, if one distills it down, is that they let their own law triumph over love, and they realize that is wrong. But for some reason, they cling to their law nonetheless. They may revise implementation, but not membership covenants, church discipline, or member “care” will not change as those beliefs are supposedly “rooted in Scripture.”
    They are going to be more benevolent dictators?

    Easier to control the masses of people who attend with a written contract. Besides, the entire mega environment is wrong for a church body. They would have to give up the fame, money, largeness, etc. to function as a church where relationship exists between members and no one person(s) are on pedestal(s). When a body of believers is too large it needs to split off and function as a new gathering. People need to be discipled and trained by other people, not by videos and sermons. It takes more love, time, and relational involvement to make disciples than to run a wealthy mega church.

  369. lydia wrote:

    Abi Miah wrote:
    What they are saying, if one distills it down, is that they let their own law triumph over love, and they realize that is wrong. But for some reason, they cling to their law nonetheless. They may revise implementation, but not membership covenants, church discipline, or member “care” will not change as those beliefs are supposedly “rooted in Scripture.”
    They are going to be more benevolent dictators?

    Yes. “We are going to be more loving in our control of you… What do you mean control isn’t the same thing as love?”

  370. Ken wrote:

    It’s bad when used in the sense of believing motherhood and family second class or less worthwhile than getting a career, wealth and fame on the corporate ladder, or if it is anti men.

    Who on this site has ever advocated
    this? I’ve never heard it here. But I also believe that men and women are free to determine if they should have children or not. I don’t believe a Christian should diminish the Christian walk of another believer because they chose not to have children.

  371. Ken wrote:

    So I don’t see equality and different function as being incompatible. Because of this ESS doesn’t bother me one way or the other, for example.

    That is what the teachers of ESS used to say. Now they frankly acknowledge that they believe that persons of the Trinity are ontologically ordered according to relative power and authority. They are the ones who have been on the slippery slope toward a new form of Arianism.

    I will never understand why people think it is OK to re-write the Bible and project their own ideas onto the Trinity as if they Trinity is some kind of wax nose. That is not conservative. It conserves only their idea of themselves as gods. It certainly does not conserve the idea of the inerrancy or sufficiency or authority of the Bible. It certainly does not conserve the glory of the Eternal Son and the Holy Spirit in their equal status within the Trinity.

    I humbly encourage you to look into the latest book on ESS from Crossway. Jared Wilson was so ecstatic that the Complementarians win because they have supposedly proved that the Eternal Son is an always has been and will always be a subordinate Person in the Trinity. In other words, he let the mask slip that this has always been a political issue of power rather than a desire to be faithful to God and to his words. It is fakery all the way down.

  372. Dave A A wrote:

    It’s worth noting that this is by Jonathan Leeman, the one non–Villager most responsible for the whole fiasco. His “Membership” book is the sole required reading for prospective covenant Villagers.

    That article by Leeman is hysterical. It is one long No True Church Discipline argument. The parts about the Pharisees are especially entertaining. Can’t wait for the post from Dee on it.

  373. lydia wrote:

    They are going to be more benevolent dictators?

    Or maybe they promise to write a nicer email to the membership and buy them a coffee if they mess up again. It, of course, cannot be their doctrinal system because they have made their doctrinal system their identity. If they ever discover that their identity is in Christ rather than in their doctrines or their human idols, then maybe we might see some real change.

  374. @ Deb:
    Oh– one more thing– I almost forgot– TVC pastors probably followed Leeman’s Church Discipline book to the letter… However, mistakes were made in the execution…

  375. @ Gram3:
    I actually began a comment on Leeman’s article, but gave up when I remembered he’d likely not reply– but a rather rabid fan, with whom I’d rather not converse, would.

  376. Ken wrote:

    I don’t see equality and different function as being incompatible.

    The issue is that when you tie the function to the being of the person that equality doesn’t work.

    Leader/Follower is inherently hierarchical. As long as these functions are not tied to a person’s being, then that person may take on either role while still being considered an equal. But the moment you say women=follower/man=leader, now you’ve tied the hierarchy of the functions into the people themselves.

    If anyone said that black people are called by God to follow white people, everyone who isn’t a racist would understand this is setting up an inequality based on the color of a person’s skin.

  377. Bridget wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    I must have missed that. Or maybe it was a different Jared?

    My mistake! It is Jared Moore. There was a good discussion of the book and some links on Scot McKnight’s blog a week or two ago. Also on SBCVoices.

    Jared Wilson is the Doug Wilson fanboy. I need a directory to keep the second-tier Glitterati straight.

  378. @ Abi Miah:

    “That memo asking whether they have yet “pushed her under” their “care”…”
    ++++++++++++

    Steve Hardin: “Have we tried to help push her under our care?”

    Code for ‘How far can go without looking bad to manage and control her to ensure that we keep looking good?’

    Since all their communication in this incident, including their apology, is peppered with the word “care”, I sure would like to hear TVC spell out what they mean by “care”.

  379. Bridget wrote:

    While over at the 9Marks site I stumbled on this.
    http://9marks.org/journal/complementarianism-the-local-church/
    Read the titles and the blurbs. Anyone who believes they can go to a church that is related to 9Marks or TGC and find complementariansim to be a secondary issue, better think again.

    Those articles are very eye-opening. And disturbing. This is totally predictable, however, because Complementarianism and Church Disciplinism are their Distinctives.

  380. @ Victorious:
    I think you have missed the point of what I am getting at. You are claiming that those enlisted in the Army are not equal unless they have equal opportunities to rise in the ranks. Fair enough, although they need to merit their promotion.

    What I am getting at is that despite the inequality of rank, there is nevertheless and equality of status when it comes to the law. The same law applies to all, from private to general. So you can be equal in one sense, and unequal in another.

    In using the Army as an illstration I don’t mean to treat the church as an army with ‘ranks’.

    Nevertheless, all members of a fellowship are justified by the same faith, there is no distinction. Yet the members and the elders/pastor of whatever word you choose to use are unequal in responsibility. Different members have different gifts, and not all an equal function.

  381. Ken wrote:

    I see feminism as good if it means equal treatment or equal opportunity, equal pay for equal work etc. It’s bad when used in the sense of believing motherhood and family second class or less worthwhile than getting a career, wealth and fame on the corporate ladder, or if it is anti men.

    Ken, this Christian culture warrior premise just could not be sustained. There are many reasons why but a big one has been the shift in economics and the need for two income earners to sustain children. It has become increasingly rare for couples to be able to afford for the mom to stay home with the kids.

    But let’s note how the premise puts the focus on women as bad people if they do not choose what others think is right. Look at the language which implies she does not care about her children. They come second. that is totally unfair.

    Then we have another problem. Our culture shift to educating more and more women past high school. That is a good thing. Who wants to deny their daughter education except the fringe wackos? But having her educated and wanting to actually use that education is now a sin if she marries and has children? That is where it headed with so many churches who were culture warring.

    NOw we have more young women applying to grad school than men. The culture war has spiraled out of control. Mohler approached this by saying that people should marry younger and that couples who did not have children are selfish. (Nevermind his daughter went to work for our Senator in DC as a single young woman out of college. Their own teaching never applies to them)

    Then you have the problem of seminary couples where the wife has to work to put him through. That is another exception that is perfectly ok. SWBTS got rid of their day care for those women. They teach it but then make it harder.

    In my years of being in and out of hundreds of companies of all types I dealt with moms every day in management and clerical positions. The attitude was “if I work, I am going to make good money”. The married with children female clerks were almost always working for health benefits and flexible schedules.

    The other problem is that people tend to compare staying home with the kids as something from another better era. Well, technology has changed so much of that. You no longer have to have one big wash day, ironing day, etc. Even June Clever said when she got off work she went home to her kids and fixed dinner.

    the megas were filled with bored soccor moms with post grad degrees who were redecorating their homes every 5 min and throwing Martha Stewart styled dinner parties. Those are the “stay at home moms” I am familiar with from the burbs. Most of them had met their husbands at work or in college. But there were also the professionals who found some semblance of cred in a comp lite situation and did not have time for all the dinner parties.

    A long view tells us much. Where is the correlation of married working moms and horrible kids? Ben Carson had an illiterate mother who was a cleaning lady and was raised in the ghetto with no father. Not ideal, I assure you but the point I am making is that even single moms can raise stellar adults. Married working moms, too. Why not help them do it instead of pounding the pulpit about the ideal family? Or implying they put their kids last? That is like sticking a knife in their hearts.

    the church has been very ignorant on this entire issue. They would have abused wives, who don’t work, with children stay in the situation because it is ideal. They have put the ideal above the individual. The mantra was that they were only working to drive an Escalade and have a big home. It never occurs to pastors that the women simply loves medicine and helping people or that she loves law or numbers?

    Ken, I get the feeling you are back in the 60’s seeing this through the lens of bra burner feminists. They got a lot of press and pastors had a hey day with them BUT they were not the majority. The majority were wearing peter pan collars, capri slacks and thinking about their exams.

    Years ago my mom used to suggest to young women they keep their hand in something because one day they will need it when the kids are grown.

  382. Jeff S wrote:

    If anyone said that black people are called by God to follow white people, everyone who isn’t a racist would understand this is setting up an inequality based on the color of a person’s skin.

    I agree totally with your entire comment, but be aware that this particular point of comparing Complementarianism to slavery or racism will provoke a very indignant response from Complementarians. And I think there is a reason for that. That is why I think that the stuff coming from Thabiti Anyabwile about Complementarianism being essential is so sad. And also sad is the article by the young black man about Complementarianism in the black church which is in the recent 9Marks Journal devoted to all things Complementarian.

  383. @ Gram3:

    I was also thinking part of the ELDERS (ht-Gram) revisiting this would be to make sure they do not copy the victim on insider emails about the victim. (wink)

  384. @ Gram3:
    It’s no accident that when complementarianism-inventor Mary Kassian did her puzzle-piece-people, along with the blue Lord God head and pink Jesus Christ body, blue Jesus Christ head and pink Church Bride body, blue Husband head and pink Wife body— she includes blue Church Elders head and pink Believers body….
    http://www.girlsgonewise.com/sex-in-the-shadowlands/

  385. Wiki has an article on the Athanasian creed and an english translation of the creed. It deals with the persons of the trinity.

  386. @ Dave A A:

    Stop it, Dave! I cannot take it! LOL!!!

    From the link:

    “Some of you may wonder why I published three posts establishing the relationship between complementarity and mutuality before answering the sex questions. It’s because sex is the place where complementarity and mutuality kiss. Holy, covenant sex is the symbolic act where their essential meanings climax. I wanted to establish the relationship between complementarity and mutuality before I discuss how they reach their zenith in covenant sex.”

  387. @ Gram3:
    @ Gram3:
    Before I get spammed again …

    See my reply to Victorius. If for the sake of argument ESS is true, then the human analogy to this would be the relationship of an adult son to his father, something I reckon most of us could identify with.

    I don’t see this has having much if anything to do with husband/wife or pastors/members except as another illustration of equality in one sense and inequality or if you prefer difference in function in another.

    To use another illustration: human government. The people in Washington and London have a greater responsibility and authority than Joe Public. Yet they are both theoretically at least under the same laws. And this distinction in role is God-ordained.

  388. Bridget wrote:

    Who on this site has ever advocated
    this? [denigrating motherhood]

    I don’t think anyone here has, I’m talking about out there – in the UK at least in the Anglo-Saxon world.

    It may not be a universal feature, but it is not uncommon if hidden under phrases like ‘lifestyle choice’. Even a supposedly family-friendly Conservate government wants women out to work – it can then tax them and increase its revenue.

    I’m not remotely angling for a discussion about women going out to work, but there is a sizable minority who really do look down on those who choose home life over a career.

  389. @ Ken:

    Hi, Ken.

    Couldn’t help but overhear you mention, “Fair enough, although they need to merit their promotion” as well as “Different members have different gifts, and not all an equal function”.

    I think you are missing Victorious’ point: In the world of gender rolesian marriage and church, promotion towards function is not based on merit. It is based on the mere appearance of chromosomes.

    silly indeed.

  390. Dave A A wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    It’s no accident that when complementarianism-inventor Mary Kassian did her puzzle-piece-people, along with the blue Lord God head and pink Jesus Christ body, blue Jesus Christ head and pink Church Bride body, blue Husband head and pink Wife body— she includes blue Church Elders head and pink Believers body….
    http://www.girlsgonewise.com/sex-in-the-shadowlands/

    Dave, you are a very naughty boy. Making me check the link to make sure this is not a joke. Because it sounds like something I would make up as a parody.

  391. Ken wrote:

    If for the sake of argument ESS is true, then the human analogy to this would be the relationship of an adult son to his father, something I reckon most of us could identify with.

    Except that nowhere in the Bible does God say that an adult son is under the authority of his father. The only place where God’s view is addressed is when he tells a marrying man to leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife. The notion that an adult is under the authority of his father comes from the human institution of patriarchy. Not from God. So however one views ESS, it has no basis whatsoever in the texts of the Bible.

    There is a huge difference between the immanent Trinity and the economic Trinity, as I’ve said before. No one denies that Jesus the Messiah submitted his will to the Father’s will while here on earth. Until recently, no one with any credibility suggested that the Eternal Son is ontologically subordinate to the Father. This is an abandonment of orthodoxy, but because the people who claim this are viewed as counter-cultural or conservative, they get a pass. I’m throwing the heresy flag, and it absolutely astonishes me that people do not get the importance of this. There are men who are willing to take the place of God to promote their own positions!

  392. @ Gram3:
    There is another problem with Ken’s assertion concerning Father/ son analogy in understanding the Hebrew culture of that time. When the son was doing any transaction the other party was assured it would be like doing business with the father. that was simply how that culture worked. This is made clear in John 5.

  393. Gram3 wrote:

    Dave, you are a very naughty boy. Making me check the link to make sure this is not a joke. Because it sounds like something I would make up as a parody.

    Gram3, you should know by now that no matter how extreme and/or crazy you get in a parody, there’s going to be some True Believer out there twice as extreme, twice as crazy, and DEAD SERIOUS.

    (And the Internet and Social Media(TM) means these True Believers can link up & proselytize a lot easier than before.)

  394. Lydia wrote:

    They have put the ideal above the individual.

    As did Citizen Robespierre and all those Comrades starting with Lenin.

  395. Ken wrote:

    In using the Army as an illstration I don’t mean to treat the church as an army with ‘ranks’.

    But in the Army the rank structure and hierarchy is out in the open. And is well-known.

  396. Gram3 wrote:

    It, of course, cannot be their doctrinal system because they have made their doctrinal system their identity.

    The Ideology of The Party is NEVER Wrong.

  397. Gram3 wrote:

    Because it sounds like something I would make up as a parody.

    If she had just 2 puzzle-piece-people, I’d be fine with it (properly understood)– but the idea of church elders wanting something like “covenant sex” with believers is chilling. And the 4th puzzle-piece-person in that context is blasphemous.

  398. Abi Miah wrote:

    “…What do you mean control isn’t the same thing as love?”

    It is for a CONTROL FREAK and an ABUSER.

  399. Gram3 wrote:

    That is what the teachers of ESS used to say. Now they frankly acknowledge that they believe that persons of the Trinity are ontologically ordered according to relative power and authority.

    So even within the Godhead, all that really matters is Who’s Boot is stamping on Who’s Face. THAT’s what they’re saying once you peel away all the Biblical twelve-syllable Gospelly theobabble.

  400. I don’t have any time at the present to read any replies that may have been made to me since last night, but I may come back later and read them. :)

    I wanted to post this:
    Couple says they were banned from church by pastor on social media
    http://myfox8.com/2015/06/11/couple-says-they-were-banned-from-church-by-pastor-on-social-media/

    The preacher kicked them out of the church via Facebook, and he wouldn’t state an exact reason why.

    But the article says:

    Christina says the couple [who was kicked out of the chruch] stopped tithing to the church a year ago and instead gave money to other ministries and nonprofits, a decision she claims caused tension between the couple and church leaders.
    “The only issue that they had they’d ever come to us about is tithing,” she said.

  401. Just a quickie to say I seem to be in permanent moderation and getting spammed, so if you think I am ignoring a response, this is probably why! :-)

  402. Dave A A wrote:

    but the idea of church elders wanting something like “covenant sex” with believers is chilling.

    Mo David, Jim Jones, and Rajneesh would agree completely with that.

    “The reason most cults are started is so the cult leader can get rich, get laid, or both.”
    — My old D&D Dungeonmaster

    And the 4th puzzle-piece-person in that context is blasphemous.

    Sex is the Top Sacrament of ALL Fertility Cults.

  403. Ken wrote:

    The people in Washington and London have a greater responsibility and authority than Joe Public. Yet they are both theoretically at least under the same laws. And this distinction in role is God-ordained.

    Nero was God ordained? We really have to be careful in taking some analogies too far. In America, the idea was that the people decide who their representatives are to be for a time. That makes the people the government. (We are very far from that now, I know) So the government representatives were to be the people’s servants representing them. (Back in the day, you actually lost money doing that job. It was not a profitable thing to do and power was limited until they grew the government to Byzantine levels)

    I think you are making a distinction that is totally misunderstood. It was illegal to steal in Nero’s Rome so— obey the law. And it was also illegal to refuse to bow to certain god statues when walking by- at some point in that history. So believers need to disobey that.

    that is not the same as teaching Nero as a God ordinated representative on earth carrying out God’s purpose. That paints God as a moral monster.

    Sometimes I get so weary of interpretations from book of Romans!

    But lets go back even further. The nation of Israel begged for a king but that made God angry because HE was their king. God knew they had the capacity to govern themselves but they refused wanting to be like other nations with a powerful king.

    God knows we adults have the ability to govern ourselves. This was a strange concept for many believers in those Roman church days of both good and also oppressive laws. Seems we still cannot learn it today.

  404. Ken wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    @ Gram3:
    Before I get spammed again …
    See my reply to Victorius. If for the sake of argument ESS is true, then the human analogy to this would be the relationship of an adult son to his father, something I reckon most of us could identify with.
    I don’t see this has having much if anything to do with husband/wife or pastors/members except as another illustration of equality in one sense and inequality or if you prefer difference in function in another.
    To use another illustration: human government. The people in Washington and London have a greater responsibility and authority than Joe Public. Yet they are both theoretically at least under the same laws. And this distinction in role is God-ordained.

    Again, none of these roles is inherent to a person’s being. People are not made to be government authorities because of their being, but because of gifting and circumstances. The same is even true of biological family. Children are in submission to their parents because the parents are better at directing their ways.

    Complementarianism states that it is not by merit, nor by temporal circumstance that women are to follow men, but it is a part of their very identity. That is a HUGE distinction.

  405. Gram3 wrote:

    but be aware that this particular point of comparing Complementarianism to slavery or racism will provoke a very indignant response from Complementarians.

    Let them. It doesn’t make it any less accurate of a comparison. :)

  406. Dave A A wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:

    Because it sounds like something I would make up as a parody.

    If she had just 2 puzzle-piece-people, I’d be fine with it (properly understood)– but the idea of church elders wanting something like “covenant sex” with believers is chilling. And the 4th puzzle-piece-person in that context is blasphemous.

    I am both creeped out and amused in a macabre sort of way after reading that article. And before lunch, too. How do people listen to this stuff with a straight face? Is it her delivery…sort of like Piper? They ignore the meaning and listen to the passion or charisma?

  407. Jeff S wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    but be aware that this particular point of comparing Complementarianism to slavery or racism will provoke a very indignant response from Complementarians.
    Let them. It doesn’t make it any less accurate of a comparison.

    It is very accurate at many levels. The thinking behind it that some humans are ordained to rule others is one. The selectively applied hermeneutic to get the required result is another. The demonization of abolitionists and “egalitarians” as being anti-God or anti-Bible is yet another. The bottom line is that this whole thing, like slavery, is results-driven not faithfulness driven. And many people who desire to be faithful to God end up being faithful to a system because they believe that the opposing view *must* be wrong. Meanwhile, the purveyors of the System get ever more rich and powerful as their accolytes spread this new false gospel.

  408. Lydia wrote:

    I am both creeped out and amused in a macabre sort of way after reading that article. And before lunch, too. How do people listen to this stuff with a straight face? Is it her delivery…sort of like Piper? They ignore the meaning and listen to the passion or charisma?

    It is only natural that she writes like Piper. Is is so sickeningly sweet. But when she is challenged in the comments, her real attitude comes out. This is the same response I’ve seen in person. Everyone is cordial and overly sweet. But when you challenge them with substantive facts and logic and the text, they totally change.

    The whole puzzle people thing is cheesy, contrived, and silly. It makes marriage into some kind of morality play or something. And it makes the implicit claim that celibate Christians cannot display the Gospel. An example of Kassian’s Piperistic thinking is this:

    You need to understand that the ultimate goal of sex is to tell the truth about God and to point to the oneness we will enjoy when Christ is united with His Church.

    ??????

    But, on the plus side, the girl in the banner looks like a young Mary Kassian with her head properly covered. Mary Kassian has a product to sell, and she sells it. That is something that you and I understand but which many simply do not believe is happening with “complementariansm.”

  409. I am really out of the loop on a few things here.

    If (no lectures here, I said ‘if’) Paul used the analogy husband : wife :: christ : church that is one idea. So how did it morph into husband : wife :: Father : Son? Where is the missing link in that chain of thought?

    And also:

    Since christological arguments had been big business for a long time, and for the bulk of orthodox / traditional christianity pretty much settled (the argument about the Spirit not being about Jesus per se), then why are these guys revisiting the subject at this time? What do they hope to gain? And why do they choose ideas that seem like a variant of semi-arianism? It seems like they are saying that christianity has made too big of a deal about Jesus and they want to tone that down a bit. But why?

    Is this about narrowing the gap with islam? Did any of this come out of the missionary push to convert muslims? Is calling God ‘Allah’ not enough; and I do note that there has been muslim backlash about that usage. Are they trying to say Allah yes but Jesus not so much?

  410. Dave A A wrote:

    the idea of church elders wanting something like “covenant sex” with believers is chilling.

    For their own sakes, I certainly hope that my elders never thought of that. Mary Kassian is Doug Wilson wearing pink because how will the world understand the Gospel unless all aspects of marriage, including sex, are hierarchical and characterized by servant-dominance and submission.

  411. @ Gram3:
    I don’t think it’s nro-Arianism so much as it is part of their own new religion. Cf. what Hester said on the previous lengthy thread about trinitarian Mormons. They serm to br just a hair’s-breadth away from that, and I’m sure some are thete already.

  412. @ Nancy:
    The way they get there is by bringing in 1 Corinthians 11. They interpret that to mean that God (which they limit to being a reference to the Father) is the head of Christ, the man/husband is the head of the woman/wife, and Christ is the head of the man (but not the woman?)

    They combine that assumed statement of a designed hierarchy with the Ephesians reference to the husband as head of the wife and get to that being a statement of hierarchy. They see this hierarchy notion buttressed by the Christ/Church comparison.

    The appeal to the Trinity is designed to defeat the objection that it is impossible to be simultaneously equal and unequal. That is why Knight invented “roles” in the Trinity and in marriage and in the church. Now, that idea has developed into an assertion for true ontological subordination in the Trinity rather than the prior notion of functional subordination.

    This is why Grudem has invested so much time in re-defining “kephale” as meaning “boss” in the “headship” clobber verses. He must do that in order to make 1 Corinthians 11 mean what they need it to mean in order for the System to work.

    I don’t know if that is what you were getting at. If not, just let me know. When you are looking at this from the outside, it must seem exceedingly strange.

  413. @ Gram3:

    p-e-r-v-e-r-s-i-o-n

    It only remains to determine enough details to slap a name on it and to see how far the problem has spread within this specific population. I have my own ideas here, but totally out of character I will remain silent.

  414. Gram3 wrote:

    When you are looking at this from the outside, it must seem exceedingly strange.

    Oh, you just don’t know how strange.

  415. @ Lydia:
    Not just when their kids are grown – when they are widowed, too. Which is the reality for most women, since men don’t generally live ad long as women do.

  416. @ Nancy:
    Maybe a good analogy to what they do with the texts is to consider what an illusionist does. Focus people’s attention on one thing while you do the swap. They use the language of “mystery” to provide the cover for the switch they are making, whether the mystery is Christ and the Church or the mystery of the inner workings and relationships of the Persons of the Trinity. The appeal to mystery makes it all seem so profound and bibley.

  417. @ Ken:
    Minority of whom, exactly? There have long bern a handful of people on the radical feminist fringe who think this, but they have *nothing* to do with regular old feminism and/or the vadt majority of feminists.

    Somehow i fell like this really gets to you, as with your dislike of double-income, no kids couples. And i am baffled, in both cases.

    Also, leader/follower = hierarchy, out here in the wider world. Leader/follower is intrinsically hierarchical.

  418. Nancy wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    When you are looking at this from the outside, it must seem exceedingly strange.
    Oh, you just don’t know how strange.

    It is very strange to me, as well. Worse yet, I have questioned elders about this and the response I get is that this is what the Bible clearly teaches and we must obey God rather than men (ironically.) I have questioned elders about ESS, and the response I get is “that is what orthodox Christianity has always taught.” So, when you are confronted face-to-face with this coming from people who you thought you knew and respected, there is this feeling of unreality that sweeps over you. I mean, what do you say in that situation? “You cannot be serious” came to mind, but I was trying to keep the conversations positive. How do you reason with that?

  419. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Gram3, you should know by now that no matter how extreme and/or crazy you get in a parody, there’s going to be some True Believer out there twice as extreme, twice as crazy, and DEAD SERIOUS.

    It is the triumph of hope over experience. I don’t process science fiction well, for some reason, so maybe that’s it. I just keep having the reaction, “You’re kidding, right?” Followed quickly by consternation that they are not.

  420. numo wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    Well, in “The Godfather,” it’s pretty much true, but i do wonder how the Mafia is, um, godly…

    The Godfather is based on a traditional Mediterranean culture which is certainly patriarchal. Biblical not so much. I’m so linear that I had to watch the recut chronological Godfather to get it. How pathetic is that. There is definitely something wrong with my literary processor.

  421. Gram3 wrote:

    Everyone is cordial and overly sweet. But when you challenge them with substantive facts and logic and the text, they totally change.

    This describes my entire mega church world experience. I would add one more: negative truths about a situation. That really brings out the claws. It is “unchristian” to mention those.

  422. @ numo:

    One muslim nation has passed a law prohibiting christians from publishing literature using the word Allah for god because there it is commonly understood to mean god as understood by the muslims. I read this maybe two or three years ago. There had been a time when some missiologists had advocated using Allah in christian literature which was aimed at muslims, and if I remember correctly the IMB of the SBC was into this .

    I am trying to remember the name of the nation. It is in southeast Asia and has a diverse population but is predominantly muslim with muslim government-very developed country-starts with M I thing, but it is not Micronesia or Malay. This made the secular news at the time and was a bit of a smear since the christians were labeled as disingenuous by the government, if I remember right.

  423. Gram3 wrote:

    You need to understand that the ultimate goal of sex is to tell the truth about God and to point to the oneness we will enjoy when Christ is united with His Church.

    I know. I cannot get over the bizarre way they map things. It makes eternal life sound like one big orgy. Ok, I continue to be creeped out with these people. I have heard all the defenses….over and over…about the need to discuss sex at church. Sex is spiritual and ad nauseum. Guess I was raised to be somewhat Edwardian in my view that hot jungle love is restricted to privacy.

  424. Gram3 wrote:

    Mary Kassian has a product to sell, and she sells it. That is something that you and I understand but which many simply do not believe is happening with “complementariansm.”

    This is why I have a hard time wrapping my head around “personalities” who are selling their brand of themselves. It is like a business tied to a selfie. It is one of the reasons I could not get into Rachel Held Evans and others on the other side of the aisle. They have not really “done” anything. No serious scholarship, no real time ministry, no real business experience, etc.

    They sell their often uninformed opinions, which is fine if people realize what they are buying. I am all about Capitalism so not critiquing that. I just don’t get the draw. But when something happens that encroaches on their selfie business, their real goals become quite obvious.

  425. Nancy wrote:

    It seems like they are saying that christianity has made too big of a deal about Jesus and they want to tone that down a bit. But why?

    Ah, this was my question for a long time. Jesus does not fit well with their aims. And the Holy Spirit is not One to be “systematized”. But using the Incarnation, they can fool a lot of folks on subordination. They LOVE Philippians 2 and 1 Corin 11 for just that purpose. Pecking orders everywhere.

    When all this ESS stuff came out and I did not really know what it was all about but was trying to understand what I was hearing which sounded foreign to me so I kept asking who the Holy Spirit “reported to” in this chain of command in the Trinity. Crickets.

  426. Gram3 wrote:

    Nancy wrote:
    Gram3 wrote:
    When you are looking at this from the outside, it must seem exceedingly strange.
    Oh, you just don’t know how strange.
    It is very strange to me, as well. Worse yet, I have questioned elders about this and the response I get is that this is what the Bible clearly teaches and we must obey God rather than men (ironically.) I have questioned elders about ESS, and the response I get is “that is what orthodox Christianity has always taught.” So, when you are confronted face-to-face with this coming from people who you thought you knew and respected, there is this feeling of unreality that sweeps over you. I mean, what do you say in that situation? “You cannot be serious” came to mind, but I was trying to keep the conversations positive. How do you reason with that?

    I have spent some time researching this topic today given the discussion on this blog. Even this, written by an ESS advocate, acknowledges down in the comments that the Early Church Fathers did not teach this, though he does have quotes that go back farther than Grudem. Note: he’s a pretty obnoxious personality and tells a Catholic commentator that her Catholic view cannot possibly be orthodox. (That’s reserved only for solo scriptura folks apparently. He responds much better to a male patristic scholar, who happens to also be a complementarian, but disputes the long-orthodoxy of the ESS doctrine.

    http://sbcvoices.com/the-eternal-subordination-of-the-son-is-the-historic-doctrine-of-the-church/

    Gram3 are there particular online resources you would recommend?

  427. @ numo:

    I was shocked at the language in that internal email asking how they should go about “pushing her under our care”. it showed me the thinking is ingrained. it is the language of oppression and force. However, many will say it is because they “love” her and want to care for her.

  428. I linked this recently, but Rachel Miller is a complementarian who is against ESS and does a good job at explaining why its problematic in a set of posts:

    https://adaughterofthereformation.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/continuing-down-this-path-complementarians-lose/

    https://adaughterofthereformation.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/does-the-son-eternally-submit-to-the-authority-of-the-father/

    She leans a lot on Calvin in the second post- so maybe not compelling to the non-Calvinist, but of course her blog is “A Daughter of the Reformation” :)

  429. Lydia wrote:

    I was shocked at the language in that internal email asking how they should go about “pushing her under our care”. it showed me the thinking is ingrained. it is the language of oppression and force. However, many will say it is because they “love” her and want to care for her.

    I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how this could be a mis-type. That’s how off it sounded to me.

  430. Gram3 wrote:

    Nancy wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    When you are looking at this from the outside, it must seem exceedingly strange.
    Oh, you just don’t know how strange.

    It is very strange to me, as well. Worse yet, I have questioned elders about this and the response I get is that this is what the Bible clearly teaches and we must obey God rather than men (ironically.) I have questioned elders about ESS, and the response I get is “that is what orthodox Christianity has always taught.” So, when you are confronted face-to-face with this coming from people who you thought you knew and respected, there is this feeling of unreality that sweeps over you. I mean, what do you say in that situation? “You cannot be serious” came to mind, but I was trying to keep the conversations positive. How do you reason with that?

    They have been totally indoctrinated with it at seminary or from reading and conferencing with the great gurus. Wayne Grudem is one who has been especially influential with his ST. In many cases, they don’t even know that they don’t know.

    I am constantly struck with the brilliance of catching/recruiting young men from Youth group or college and immersing them in indoctrination instead of education where you are required to contrast and compare. But the doctrine is very attractive to young men, too.

    There is no reasoning with them. It is a total waste of time unless they are questioning it instead of defending it. They have every proof text down pat.

    But we are not wasting our time with many of their hearers. Because there is one thing these indoctrinators forget: Application of a teaching is where the rubber meets the road.

    Think of it, young men around here were asking Bruce Ware if they should still pray to Jesus. I mean if you are going to pray shouldn’t you go to the REAL power?

    the amount of confusion this brings out is incredible.

  431. @ Lydia:

    Yes ,well, when people cannot even understand about sex–basic biology–then how can you expect them to understand about God?

  432. @ Abi Miah:

    Abi, You did not ask me but an excellent resource on explaining ESS and refuting it is Cheryl Schatz. She did a DVD series about it. She recognized the error right away because she has a ministry to Mormons and Jehovah Witness cults and knows their doctrines inside and out. They also fool around with pecking orders in the Trinity.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLe-qF2nptA

  433. @ Abi Miah:

    I remember reading that article by Dave Miller. Note what he says to support ESS:

    “A simple examination of Systematic Theologies and Historical records will show that Eternal Subordination has been the orthodox view of the Trinity since the doctrine was first formulated in the Nicene Creed and other ancient creeds.”

    If people wonder why I do not like creeds this is ONE reason. We end up parsing and interpreting the man developed creeds for truth. I just don’t see the point in arguing over what a creed is really saying.

    I really do wonder how much they actually do what Dave Miller accuses us of doing: Only hearing what some guru said and believing it without doing the hard work. Bruce Ware, prof at SBTS, literally edited Athanasius quotes to get ESS out of him. Kevin Giles wrote a book illustrating the shoddy scholarship of Ware and other ESS proponents.

    Note how Miller focuses on “roles” within the Trinity. It is too lengthy to get into here but “eternal” roles are a real problem. There are plenty of instances in the OT and New of interchanging “work” within the Trinity. Just one example is “who raised Jesus from the dead”? Scritpure mentions God the Father raising Him from the dead, The Holy Spirit raising and even Jesus says it of Himself.

    But without “roles” they are sunk.

  434. Lydia wrote:

    Just one example is “who raised Jesus from the dead”? Scritpure mentions God the Father raising Him from the dead, The Holy Spirit raising and even Jesus says it of Himself.

    Another example: creation. In the beginning God….and the Spirit of God moved over the face of the (chaos)… in the beginning was the Word/ with God/ was God/ all thing were created by him (John talking about Jesus.)

  435. Lydia wrote:

    @ Abi Miah:
    Abi, You did not ask me but an excellent resource on explaining ESS and refuting it is Cheryl Schatz. She did a DVD series about it. She recognized the error right away because she has a ministry to Mormons and Jehovah Witness cults and knows their doctrines inside and out. They also fool around with pecking orders in the Trinity.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLe-qF2nptA

    Thank you, Lydia. I did watch it. Could not believe that Bruce Ware teaches we should not pray to Jesus. Wow.

  436. Lydia wrote:

    Sometimes I think we need to recite the Shema to them.

    That is the heart of the matter. There cannot be god and then almost god and then lesser yet god and still be one god, the oneness having been lost in the inequality of being. And no, function is not the answer. That is hooey. They are not separating function from being once they make the distinctions eternal.

    But I am so happy to see hard evidence that seminary hill is not the intellectual center of loo-uh-vul. Ware certainly proves that.

  437. @ Nancy:
    Probably Indonesia. Remember, they don’t epeak Arabic there, so they don’t undrrstand that it is like saying God in English. People from all kinds of religions refrt to God, aftrr all.

    The Qur’an is, of course, in Arsbic. These people are pretty misinformed, at best.

  438. @ Nancy:
    Malaysia? Please don’t assume that all Maylasian Muslims are fanatics; that is just not true. Singapore is a vety cosmopolitan city, albeit one with extremely draconian laws.

  439. @ Gram3:
    Well, it is based on a system of criminal activity that is run by men. There is also the Camorra in Naples, which is very similar to the Sicilian setup (Mafia), but they are not the same organization.

  440. Lydia wrote:

    Is it her delivery…sort of like Piper?

    The flowery language sure is. Do they both take credit for coining the term ” complementarian”?

  441. @ numo:

    Nobody said they were fanatics. They are defending their faith it looks like to me. And missionaries were being sneaky also in my opinion. Quite a few voices in the SBC rose up against this practice.

  442. @ Nancy:
    The thing is, in Arabic-speaking countries, it’s largely a moot point. The word Allah is used in Arabic-language liturgies, and in low church Protestant services, and…

    There are some Muslims who dispute the use of Allah for God, even in Arsb countries, but their arguments don’t hold water. If you look into the Syriac liturgy, which is in an old form of Aramaic, you will see thst they have bern using an almost identical word (which i cannot recall) to mean God for wrll over 1000 years.

  443. @ Nancy:
    I have seen Arabic Bibles made to look like Qur’ans, full of “contextualized” language. I think it is not a good thing, myself.

  444. Abi Miah wrote:

    Could not believe that Bruce Ware teaches we should not pray to Jesus. Wow.

    Jesus says you can pray to him, and in his name:

    [Jesus speaking]
    You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:14)

    Should I take Bruce Ware’s word on this matter, or believe Jesus Christ on this? Decisions, decisions. I am so conflicted. :roll:

  445. Gram3 wrote:

    Mary Kassian is Doug Wilson wearing pink

    Doug and I learned complementarianism long before Mary invented it, and from the same teacher. But I practiced a more user-friendly version. I never started questioning it until I got into a 9marks A29 church and it was pushed as primary doctrine.
    Mrs A A at bridal shower: My husband asked me to share something from the BIBLE about LOVE. I Corinthians 13 etc…
    Young elder’s wife: I’m sorry, Mrs A A– but I just HAVE to share this from Piper. Headship etc… submit etc…lead…picture the gospel etc…

  446. @ Nancy:
    However, if one is working with Arabic speakers, Allah is the norm. Btw, i have friends in Wycliffe who follow this guideline, which makes sense to me.

    I think problems do arise when the native languages are other than Arabic, though it depends on location and religious diversity. It is tricky.

  447. @ numo:

    The idea behind the ‘camel’ book that Wade mentioned was that just as a camel is said to first get its nose in the tent and then its whole self, even so a way to get past the initial rejection of conversation with a christian by a muslim was to call god ‘allah’ and by the time the muslim figured out you were not talking about islam but rather about christianity you could already have told him the basics of the gospel. It was deception pure and simple.

    The idea was exposed for what it was, but some people still defended it and practiced it. Apparently since the law went on appeal in Malaysia some people still think that is okay. I do not. This is what I was talking about in my original comment about ESS. The people who are writing about missions for the conversion of muslims have been shown, by this and in my opinion, to be willing to cross boundaries that ought not be crossed in the search for converts. I thought maybe one of the missiologists first thought up the ESS idea and the neo-fundamentalists got the idea from there. Maybe not, but it was an idea worth considering.

  448. Gram3 wrote:

    Maybe a good analogy to what they do with the texts is to consider what an illusionist does. Focus people’s attention on one thing while you do the swap. They use the language of “mystery” to provide the cover for the switch they are making, whether the mystery is Christ and the Church or the mystery of the inner workings and relationships of the Persons of the Trinity. The appeal to mystery makes it all seem so profound and bibley.

    You’ve put it well it again Gram3, this one’s for you:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZR64EF3OpA

  449. Daisy wrote:

    I didn’t know if Deb and Dee would be interested in this:
    As Church Plants Grow, Southern Baptists Disappear
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/june/southern-baptist-decline-baptism-church-plant-sbc.html
    “Nation’s largest Protestant group lost 200,000 members last year, biggest decline since 1881″

    I suspect that the supra-Biblical doctrines of Complementarianism and Coercive/Punitive church discipline are not going to help this trend. What is the good news to a woman? Join us and give up the freedom you have in the world. You’ll love your new diminished status! What, you have a great marriage to a great guy but you don’t believe in hierarchy? It can’t be great. He needs to get control of you before it can be great. What, you have a crummy husband? We have the answer! You need to submit to him more, and then he will be nice to you and responsible. Trust us. If that doesn’t work, then it’s because you are not being submissive enough. Try harder. Deny yourself more. If he doesn’t come around, it is only because you are not doing it well enough, but not to worry. Come to our conferences and we’ll show you how to do it. You’re single? Too bad, but we have some great guys who are so willing to lead you and teach you. What, you are managing your life and your relationship with God very well? No, you are deceiving yourself and not recognizing God’s beautiful design for men and women. You don’t want to be unfeminine and reject God’s plan for you, do you?

    Yeah, I see that working really well.

  450. @ Abi Miah:
    Well, the first time I heard about this, I just started GooBinging “eternal subordination son” and followed the links. The links brought up some names, so I started looking into those guys who were pushing it. Connected some dots and found out these guys go back to Knight’s paper, or at least that is as far as I can trace the Complementarian branch. Grudem and Piper are the ones most responsible for popularizing it and Mohler for institutionalizing it. It is the only way of thinking for an entire generation of young pastors.

    Depending on your inclinations, there is an excellent on-line debate between Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware arguing for ESS and Keith Yandell and Thomas McCall arguing against it. Yandell is/was a philosophy prof at UWisc-Madison, and McCall is a Systematics prof (IIRC) at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. That is where Grudem and Ware used to teach as well. Anyway, the debate was hosted by TEDS and lasts about 2 hours. I’ve watched it several times.

    Kevin Giles has some good information available online, and I also recommend Millard Erickson’s book Who’s Tampering with the Trinity. If you want to go to the horses’ mouth, you can read Ware’s book Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That’s where you can find the quote about not praying to Jesus. Ware is also the one who maintains that women bear a derivative image of God because the Woman was created from the Man.

    One thing to bear in mind is that some Reformed theologians sound like they are talking about subordination when they are speaking of the Covenant of Redemption. But the Covenant of Redemption idea is not the same as ESS. You may come across Robert Letham of the PCA who also has a chapter in the latest ESS book that Jared Moore praised, and he is a little confusing on this point, IMO.

    But, honestly, the very best thing you can do is to read the stuff posted at CBMW and 9Marks which has a search engine or category search. Just read the articles and ask yourself if what they say is actually true. Is it what the Bible really says and are the arguments reasonable? I was shocked when I first heard the doctrine and doubly shocked when I saw how shoddy their reasoning is.

    I hope the Lord blesses your search for the truth and grants you wisdom.

  451. Jeff S wrote:

    I linked this recently, but Rachel Miller is a complementarian who is against ESS and does a good job at explaining why its problematic in a set of posts:
    https://adaughterofthereformation.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/continuing-down-this-path-complementarians-lose/
    https://adaughterofthereformation.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/does-the-son-eternally-submit-to-the-authority-of-the-father/
    She leans a lot on Calvin in the second post- so maybe not compelling to the non-Calvinist, but of course her blog is “A Daughter of the Reformation”

    Second this recommendation. I think she mentions Calvin to demonstrate that this is not a proper Reformed view of the Trinity. The fact is, Calvin was not shy about church authority or male authority, so one would expect to see something about ESS. However, Knight’s purpose was to prevent females from being ordained in the PCA, so the material about Calvin is interesting from that perspective as well.

  452. @ Gram3:

    Or, perhaps it would be “What, you are managing your life and your relationship with God very well? No, you are sinning the sin of independence. Let us push you under our care.” (so we can have your nickels, your nose, and our jobs)

  453. Lydia wrote:

    But without “roles” they are sunk.

    How appropriate that Knight chose “roles” to describe what he is talking about. Not what the Persons did, are doing, and will do, but what their roles are. It makes me wonder who described or wrote the roles and assigned them respectively to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? Was it the Father? Another pre-Trinity god?

  454. Dave A A wrote:

    Doug and I learned complementarianism long before Mary invented it, and from the same teacher.

    My impression is that Doug Wilson got his patriarchy from the Reconstructionists or former Reconstructionists. Or possibly from Rushdoony himself. Please tell me you didn’t get burned by them, too!

  455. @ elastigirl:
    Something tells me that is going to be one of the phrases that comes to describe this debacle. Sort of like “sinning through questioning” or “penis homes” was for Driscoll. Though, in fairness, Driscoll provided much more material.

  456. Gram3 wrote:

    Ware is also the one who maintains that women bear a derivative image of God because the Woman was created from the Man.

    But man was created from the dirt of the ground. So his point (other than being unbiblical) amounts to nothing.

  457. Gram3 wrote:

    It is the only way of thinking for an entire generation of young pastors.

    This just sends chills down my spine because it is so true and so widespread. It is a totally different Jesus. A totally different “religion”

  458. @ Nancy:
    Yes, i get it now, and i agree that some would like to simply pull a fast one on others. It is neither right nor fsir.

    What you were saying got tangled up with what i know from my Wycliffe friends, and others, too. Honesty is best, i think.

  459. Jeff S wrote:

    So actually, we might disagree here slightly. Because I actually don’t think the Bible has a ton to say about marriage specifically. I think if you want to learn about having a great marriage, there is a lot to learn from secular folks who have studied marriage and what traits make marriage work.

    Certainly living out the Gospel and having a spirit of grace is HUGE for any couple, and he most important part, but you don’t need a study for that.

    Personally, if I want a Bible study, I just want to study the Bible. If I want to learn about marriage, I’ll go to people who have studied marriage. I don’t know why worship time often gets co-opted into “improve every area of your life” time.

    I thought you might be interested in a new study which identifies an indicator of marriages which are likely to last. It is the way couples respond to each other’s conversational bids for attention. Let’s say someone’s spouse says, “Oh come look, there’s a brown thrasher under the spruce tree!” Does the person go look and ask about the bird, knowing that birds are an interest of their spouse (good sign)? Or does the person ignore their spouse, absentmindedly respond ‘hmmm’ or even snap “I am busy!” (All bad signs)?

  460. @ Gram3:
    I suspect you’re right about this.

    Btw, on the unequally yoked thing: i think there is common sense in your approach, and that you would never turn this into a law or overspiritualize it. But i thimk it is entirely possible for people who have all the bona fides to end up being horrible spouses. It’s not what someone claims to believe, but what they *do* that counts. And honestly, i have known people of oyher faiths who are FAR more Christ-like in character than an awful lot of so-called xtians.

    Also, i grew up in a mixed Jewish-gentile community, which is very different from many evsngelicals’ background. Not all, but many. Some of ghe Jewish people i knew growing up werr more reverent than most xtians, and honestly, i coild probably live with being Jewish, were it not for the Jesus part of the equation.

  461. numo wrote:

    It’s not what someone claims to believe, but what they *do* that counts. And honestly, i have known people of oyher faiths who are FAR more Christ-like in character than an awful lot of so-called xtians.

    I think that is right. I have done a bit of counseling young couples (including young husbands!) and differences can present challenges and they can also provide richness. I think it depends on the nature of the differences and the people involved. It is a matter of wisdom, not of law, IMO. Obviously, I think a person who checks the “right” doctrinal boxes but doesn’t live like Christ is missing the point. I think we had a conversation before about growing uup in a Jewish environment. The one I knew was mostly Reform with a few Conservatives. I referred to myself as the token goygirl back then. I still have that great affinity for the Jewish people. We to often fail to remember that the earliest Christians were Jewish followers of Jesus, but the church has historically conflated the “leaders” with the people as a whole. With tragic results.

  462. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    But in the Army the rank structure and hierarchy is out in the open. And is well-known.

    “Rank is given you to enable you to better serve those above and below you. It is not given for you to practice your idiosyncrasies” (General Bruce C. Clarke, USA, Ret).

  463. @ Marsha:

    Yes! My wife showed me an article from that study, and we even brought it up at Bible study. It only makes sense, but it’s interesting how the study proved it.

  464. @ Gram3:
    Yeah, i think my point was meant to be more about religious pluralism and finding grace and goodness (and God) in “unexpected” places. Which makes me inclined to think that more religious plurslism can be a very good thing.

  465. Gram3 wrote:

    My impression is that Doug Wilson got his patriarchy from the Reconstructionists or former Reconstructionists. Or possibly from Rushdoony himself. Please tell me you didn’t get burned by them, too!

    No, I didn’t. I attended a church pastored by Doug’s father, who I don’t remember teaching any of that– just male leadership in church and home. And an Arminian, IIRC.

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  467. @ numo
    @ gram3

    This business of what kind of community a person grows up in is interesting. In wonder what influences how much impact it has on a person and if that varies from person to person or what. I was tremendously impacted by growing up where there were a lot of catholics. But on the other hand even though there was a conspicuous jewish presence in the place I grew up, and even though my father worked for a jewish law firm, and even though I heard a significant amount of talk about the OT and the law on the one hand and the jews of today on the other hand (at home) I really don’t see much impact on my thinking as a result of it. The one large difference that I see was that I never knew any age mates who were jews while at the same time the presence of catholic kids my age was a big part of the picture.

    I don’t know, but it is interesting. It is particularly interesting because we have some groups (plural intended) around here that some of us are not too interested in seeing their life style or their thinking influencing the young’uns. But then, my parents certainly did not want anything catholic to influence my thinking but it did none the less. Not from lack of being warned against it at home.

    We have a lot of home schooling going on around here for lots of reasons but this is perhaps one reason. Ideological segregation? Based on my experience however I am questioning how much what goes on at home influences a kid as compared with what sort of community they grow up in.

  468. @ Nancy:
    I had Jewish classmates, Jewish friends all the way through school, and my parents were good friends with a number of Jewish people. We had Jewish next-door neighbors who were like a second family. To this day, i feel more comfortable with a lot of Jewish people from the East Coast than i do with people from the same local background as me.

    Funny how that works.

  469. Nancy wrote:

    Based on my experience however I am questioning how much what goes on at home influences a kid as compared with what sort of community they grow up in.

    My own experience was shaped by the openness of my parents. My mother had grown up a very sheltered Southern Baptist but went to college and became very independent. My dad was a traditional southerner, but he had a desire to see new things as well. Both of them enjoyed traveling and meeting with locals rather than hanging with the American tourists. Maybe it is that attitude more than the environment around a child. Curiosity and independence are not universal, though. There are others in our extended family who never, ever wanted to travel more than a few hours from their home, if that. So, go figure.