“The scars from mental cruelty can be as deep and long-lasting as wounds from punches or slaps but are often not as obvious. In fact, even among women who have experienced violence from a partner, half or more report that the man’s emotional abuse is what is causing them the greatest harm.” Lundy Bancroft, link
Sometimes I feel like I have entered the Twilight Zone when it comes to church leaders and their response, or is it their lack of response, to abuse by the church. Yesterday, I found myself transported to an alternate universe when I found this Gospel Coalition hyped post from the Leadership Journal, published by Christianity Today. The Loving-Kindness of Covenant Membership was written by Aaron Menikoff who is the pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Also, one of our readers, the always alert DaveAA, called our attention to this post.
Over the last few weeks, we have been covering The Village Church/Matt Chandler's gross mishandling of Karen Hinkley's church discipline and the subsequent public apology. For those of you who have yet to hear of this situation, start reading here, here and here.
Menikoff, whose church is a member of The Gospel Coalition, admits he was aware of the TVC situation in the following statement.
In light of recent events, many have objected to the practice of church discipline, an integral part of covenant membership that many find uncharitable at best and oppressive at worst.
He goes on to extol the benefits of membership covenants which allow for church discipline. He did not address the frequent mishandling and downright abusive actions by churches that apply these supposedly biblical, disciplinary methods. In fact, while acknowledging the Village Church debacle, he quickly overlooks it and goes on to positively present his take on church discipline. In fact, he calls such discipline *lovingkindness*.
In the following statement and in the rest of the post, he appears to believe that such abuse is infrequent and not worth mentioning, except in passing.
In spite of the risk (and at times, reality) of pastoral misuse and misstep, I believe covenant membership to be a biblical and incredibly useful model for carrying out pastoral care and encouraging church community. To abandon covenant church membership is to lose an opportunity to shepherd souls.
I have made it clear that I believe that church discipline can be effective but should only be applied in situations of gross misconduct. In fact, that is precisely what Paul had in mind in the incest incident in 1 Corinthians 5:1,2 (NIV, Bible Gateway). Incest is pretty over the top in most people's eyes.
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?
Menikoff goes on to to discuss several examples that were supposed to make his case.
The intentional approach to soul-care fostered by covenant membership caused me to delve into Sam’s life, and God used it for good.
I don't think his examples help his case. And, as you will see, even Menikoff admits all but one occurred "prior to membership".
Case 1: Rob wanted to join the church, but he was living with his girlfriend. Menikoff told him that he would have to move out or marry her in order to become a member. Rob ended up marrying her two days later. Case closed.
Case 2: Sam wanted to join the church, but he had no biblical grounds for his previous divorce. He was convicted that his divorce was unbiblical by participating in a Bible study with his pastor. He then reunited with his ex-wife and got remarried.
Case 3: Dave wanted to join the church. He admitted to numerous affairs and was currently living with his girlfriend. He refused to move out, and the church refused his membership.
Not everyone responds the way Rob and Sam did. I’ve encountered more than one person who felt I was unfairly questioning their salvation when I suggested they study the Bible with me or someone else before they join the church.
Finally, he gives one example of an after church membership discipline.
Case 5: Unnamed husband was deemed *didn't know how to lead* which apparently *caused* his wife to flee into the arms of another man. There were children at home. She refused to leave her new paramour so she was voted at of church membership. Assuming Case 5 unnamed husband was not abusing her, I have no problem with this decision. However, I would love to know what the church means by the husband "not knowing how to lead".
Menikoff appears to overlook the seriousness of membership abuse.
I find the timing of this article interesting. Its appearance on The Gospel™ Coalition website is significant. Matt Chandler and TVC have close ties to The Gospel Coalition. Some consider Matt the leader of the younger NeoCalvinist movement in the Southern Baptist Convention.
I think the Matt Chandler/TVC abuse of Karen Hinkley and their subsequent apology has struck fear into the hearts of TGC and authoritarian churches everywhere. They have a problem. Chandler admitted to their failure in caring for Karen. He also admitted that they ignored the serious nature of Jordan Root's problem. Yet, TGC, Acts29 and 9Marks are devoted to the concept of membership covenants, undefined church discipline and the plurality of elders. These all failed in a church that many in this movement see as a leader in church covenants and discipline.
Also, many in TGC, 9Marks (including Mark Dever), and Acts 29 have unwaveringly supported CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries in spite of the national media attention on the number of purported child sex abuse cases in that group. Now, one of their leaders admitted that they screwed up in handling a child sex abuse voyeur. This group does not want to be identified as having a child sex abuse problem like the Catholic church.
So, perhaps they turned to the only option open to them. Obfuscate so the real issues are overlooked. It is the "nothing to see, move along" approach. It's all going to be OK. We are only going to discipline those people who are carrying on affairs, etc. Right?
What The Gospel Coalition and authoritarian leaders everywhere do not want you to know.
TWW has written story after story of abusive church discipline. Some of those involve member churches of TGC. TGC has posted a plethora of articles dealing with positive aspects of covenants and church discipline (306 to be exact.) They are studiously ignoring the numerous complaints of church abuse masquerading as church discipline.
The TVC story confirmed TWW's concerns about church discipline. In fact, I believe it ties a bow on all of the information that we have been collecting. We will be developing a resource page as soon as possible. The various negative, abusive actions in Hinkley's case have been documented in a number of TWW posts on other churches.
- The plurality of elders did not prevent the abuse of Karen because all of them are "yes" men to the pastors. They allowed and even encouraged this discipline to go on without questioning the wisdom of their actions. I find it hard to believe that none of them had any qualms about what they were doing.
- The under-pastors carried forth the discipline with the full support of one another and little input from Matt Chandler. No qualms or hesitation from this group either.
- The church membership stayed largely silent and parroted the unbiblical declarations of church covenant and marriage covenant obligations. However, we heard from a few members that they didn't like what was happening but they had little say in the matter. I am sure they didn't want to be on the receiving end of discipline either.
- The leadership refused to accept Karen's resignation and put her in discipline AFTER her resignation.
- The pastor kept texting Karen after her request to leave her alone.
- Membership meetings were called in the church so that all 6,000 members could be apprised of Karen and Jordan's situation. Memos were sent out that poorly outlined both the issues involved and the biblical mandates behind the actions taken.
- Jordan Root, an internet voyeur of child sex abuse, was held up as a repentant individual which could have put the congregation at risk. The perp was protected and the abused wife was again abused, this time by her church..
- The church counseling group did not admit that they were not specifically trained in counseling a long time user of child sex abuse images.Their inability to say that this situation needed specific professional intervention is concerning.
The Gospel Coalition is an ardent supporter of 9Marks (Mark Dever) and their view on church discipline.
9Marks, in our opinion, abusively handled Todd Wilhelm's situation, and the church leaders have yet to apologize. (They really should do so.) You can read his story at My My Dubai: 9 Marks Plays Hardball.
Todd was a member of the 9Marks UCCD which is John Folmar's church in Dubai. John is a BFF of Mark Dever and parrots his views on discipline. Todd is an American working in Dubai. He is a former member of an SGM church and a staunch supporter of those abused in the SGM system. Todd was coming up for deacon and was told he would oversee the church's bookstore. He realized that the store had a plethora of CJ Mahaney books. (Can you imagined?!!! Mark Dever is a BFF of Mahaney.)
Todd asked the church to remove Mahaney's books but they refused. So, Todd, acting on his conscience, decided to resign from the church. Although visiting another church, he refused to tell UCCD where he was attending, stating that his rights of conscience should have been enough to accept his resignation. Folmar refused and placed Todd on the *care list* which is his church's way of saying you are headed for discipline!
End of synopsis.
In order to understand what this all means, read the posts we have written on 9Marks views of church membership. Here are two – link and link. You will quickly learn that they believe they have authority over members in a number of ways since they hold the *keys* to the kingdom of heaven. This apparently means they can discipline their members for anything they darn well please. This teaching by 9Marks is permeating many churches today.
Here are some examples of reasons for discipline that we have written about:
- Not being supportive of the pastor's vision
- Asking too many questions about the budget
- Sinfully craving answers
- Being divisive
- Being a gossip
- Wife saying "Oh hush" to a husband
- Not repenting hard enough
- Not confessing one's entire history of sin
- Being prideful
- Discussing theology in a Bible study with men if one is a woman
- Not being submissive (women)
- Not leading your wife (men)
- Skipping church to take kids to a soccer tournament
- Skipping a small group meeting
- Refusing to return to an abusive spouse
Why TWW does not support membership covenants at this time.
- Churches will not define what they will discipline a priori. In other words, it's all up for grabs.
- It is a legal document designed, first and foremost, to protect the church.
- There are too many documented abusive discipline cases.
- The plurality of elders system is a failure in many churches because the elders are chosen for their support of the status quo.
- The celebrity pastor culture has led to sycophant members who rarely, if ever, question leaders.
- Far too many leaders are thin skinned and are threatened by reasonable questions and disagreements.
- Checks and balances are not in place. Leaders are sinners as well and the members must be protected from abuse.
- There seems to be a concerted effort to prevent members from leaving for any reason. Even moving to a new state is questioned since the local church should be first in priority
We believe that this article by Menikoff did not address the real issues of church abuse and merely parroted "Everything is OK. Don't worry." In many cases church discipline is unloving, mean, abusive and poorly applied. Sign these documents at your own peril.
The Brave New World of Monitoring Members
And now, here is a new product for church leaders who want to track whether their members are attending enough meetings. Introducing Churchix. No more pretending you were in church since you can easily hide in a church with 6,000 members and 5 weekend services. What a tool to increase the number of people that a church can now *lovingly* discipline!
Churchix is a face recognition event attendance desktop application. Churchix identifies event attending members in videos and photos. All you need to do is enrol high quality photos of your members into the software data base, then connect a live video USB camera or upload recorded videos or photos – and Churchix will identify your members!
Churchix is designed for Church administrators and event managers who want to save
the pain of manually tracking their members attendance to their events.
First of its kind, Churchix provides you with accurate data on members attendance in your events and services.
Now to read the post.
… as it’s 20 minutes to midnight here (but still light, as it’s nearly mid-summer), I’m aff tae ma bed the noo. I’ll actually read the post themorrer.
I wonder how many churches will be transparent with their members and let them know that they are being tracked by Churchix. I predict this will backfire. People will not like being tracked one bit. I would never attend a church that did this.
Churchix- 1984 anyone??
I spent a fair amount of my youth (I am now 55) in a GARBC church, and attended a GARBC high school. While not having a “membership covenant” and allowing members to vote on the budget, they followed all of the points listed above… This behavior is not new, it has just been “repackaged” by young faces using modern technology. What you did not mention in your list above is young earth creationism, which has been elevated as almost equilavent to the trinity. In some circles, it is equivalent to the trinity.
As my hair grays, it is all clear to me that it is all about power, control, and the people that push this the most are either: narastisic , increadibly insecure, control freaks, have REALLY shallow faith, are just plain un-christain, or all of the above. And, what I find most interesting, is how thin skined they are.. not just the leaders, but the followers… That further underscores to me how inscure they all are… If they really had “the peace” of JC, they would not get so worked up about it all. After all, if you really believe in GRACE, and that JC paid the price, why are this individuals so worked up about it??
We have lost power in Raleigh due to severe thunderstorms. Please bear with us. They expect us to be out most of the evening.
I think church discipline for sins which bring shame on Christ’s name is biblical. I think that the Acts29/9Marks model is not biblical, not least because it is not reserved for sins which bring shame on Christ’s name. A woman seeking an annulment of a marriage which she entered due to fraud by the husband is not bringing shame on Jesus’ name. On the contrary, the ELDERS at TVC brought shame on Jesus’ name by the way that they enforced the Acts29/9Marks ecclesiology.
Same with Mahaney. How many people were disciplined by SGM and Mahaney for sins which did not bring shame on Jesus’ name? Yet, Mahaney skips town when the heat was on and got sheltered by Mark Dever at Capitol Hill from any discipline or accountability from the elders and pewpeons at CLC. This makes no sense in view of the doctrines of Acts29/9Marks regarding church membership and church discipline. Why does Mahaney get protected while Karen Hinkley is persecuted? What kind of a system produces these kinds of results?
I don’t think a biblical system would produce either the Mahaney or the Hinkley disasters. Ironically, the practice of church discipline which was supposed to protect the honor of the Lord Jesus Christ was weaponized to bring great dishonor on his name in both of these instances as well as Todd Wilhelm’s. So, I wonder when someone who follows Acts29/9Marks doctrine and practice will acknowledge these rather glaring disconnects?
The joys of thunderstorms. I do miss them.
Not until people stop participating in these churches. Then, maybe, these
The idea that covenant membership is necessary in order for the elders to know whom to care for makes me think of the parable of the Good Samaritan. The people who were “in covenant” in some respect with the man who was mugged were the very ones who passed by on the other side. The Samaritan, OTOH, was not “in covenant” with the mugged man in any respect. However, Jesus taught that we are to show neighbor love to those we come across.
Applying that principle in today’s church, ISTM that a church, which consists of the people who self-identify with that congregation, should be prepared and willing and even eager to minister to whomever the Lord brings to their attention. There is no instruction in the bible for covenant neighborship before we minister to people.
Another reason often cited for covenant membership is so that the elders will know for whom they shall give account. However, I doubt that the Lord keeps membership rosters which he will check for names and dates in order to assign responsibility for their care. I think that each believer as a Covenant Member of the New Covenant is a priest and is accountable for doing what Christ would have us do in the situations in which we find ourselves. Without checking membership credentials.
A better model, IMO, for conceiving of church membership is iron filings and a Magnet. We are drawn to one another because we are all drawn to Christ.
Oops, half-baked post.
. . . these institutions will get the message.
Churchix- does anyone see a parallel connection to the “mark of the beast””?
Menikoff’s article was very dismissive of Karen Hinkley and minimized to the vanishing point the great wrong which was done to her in Jesus’ name by men whom she trusted–first her husband and then the ELDERS. He did not even mention her name or the great failure of these men toward her, their sister who is their equal before the Lord. ISTM the very least that a pastor could do is to mention her name. Therein, I suspect, is the real problem which caused the sins against her by the ELDERS and now this omission of her personhood. She is a woman who acted in a way that was not deferential as they believe she has a duty to do as a woman. She was not being a Biblical Woman.
The thing is that I don’t think that this was intentional toward her. I think it is just the way that these men have been taught to think by Piper and Grudem and Ware and the others. They are fish who do not know they are wet. That is very sad for her, other women, and also other men who are taught this. An example of this is the husband whose wife was an adulteress due, at least in part, to his failure to “lead her well.” Maybe the husband was a prince and she used and abused him. Her moral failure was most probably not a result of his “leadership” or what that looked like. Imagine how that husband would feel thinking he was responsible for his wife’s failure and betrayal of him! According to the Bible, the fact is that each of us, whether male or female, is called to imitate Christ rather than imitating the photo-booth cutouts of “Biblical Manhood” and “Biblical Womanhood” taught by the Complementarians/Patriarchists.
According to one article I saw, to get the system to work, each church member has to pose for or send the church a “passport like” photo. So, I guess they would know up front.
However, one of my most disturbing things about the article I read? The company who makes this software – they make facial recognition software to spot problem gamblers at casinos, terrorists at air ports etc – is they said they had no intention of making a program for churches.
They claim they were approached by a significant number of churches. The churches wanted this and requested it!!! It makes my skin crawl.
That was unclear. I was referring to the husband cited as an example by Menikoff. I do not believe that this husband’s leadership was responsible for his wife’s affair. Or at least we don’t have evidence that was the case.
Someone was telling me about that software used in megas for “security” purposes. IOW, that is what they might be telling people. However, most have had security cameras everywhere for years.
But it is quite disconcerting to see it explained as a tracking device on attendance. I hope someone says, “but, but, I was at home with Jesus”!
“samster” (formerly known as sam, not to be confused with sam #2 in article
the timing of all the pro-contract things seems to me like a bunch of pastor/elder/ceo’s running around trying to put back up the fences they had to keep sheep in, after the Shepherd just knocked them all down.
and ok, so they use the name 9 marks, or was that 6 marks, and they are introducing tracking software to make sure where people are? “Churchix is designed for Church administrators and event managers who want to save the pain of manually tracking their members…” eeeerie
Wait. I did think of one possible positive use of the Churchix Face ID software.
I’m not quite sure how it works or if this is possible, but, if churches could get that software, could they set up computer alerts?
Like, if the cameras capture a known pedo with children in any area of the church grounds, and their system is set up to send out alerts for that particular person if he is with members under the age of X, all adults would get cell phone or desktop alerts notifying them of that immediately?
It reminds me of the toll booths that recognize your vehicle and deduct the toll from your account. Or send you a ticket/bill by mail if you don’t have an account that can be automatically debited. Seems like a very practical solution to enhancing revenues. Now, why a real church would do that, I have no idea.
from the article by mein kampf (however you spell his name)
“The believer commits to attend, pray for, uphold the doctrines of”
this means that people that attend these churches had better really know what doctrines they are contracting to uphold, not just the doctrines the leaders sugar coat either, without seriously finding out the beliefs and actions of the staff i would not sign anything, well i won’t sign anything anyway, but for those tempted to, its a legal binding contract and a serious agreement in the spiritual realm you are agreeing with. My covenant with God is written in blood, His Son’s blood. Its the new covenant:
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jeremiah 31:31-33 (KJV) Hebrews ch 8 to Hebrews ch 9 says the same thing.
3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 2 Corinthians 3:3 (KJV)
The more coercion these churches use to enslave and bring into bondage the members or seekers, the more evil it looks to me, and hopefully to others that are in a cruel world seeking Jesus and Truth.
I have no words for this one! No one is responsible for her choices but the woman herself.
just to clarify that Aaron Menikoff was in full knowledge of the matt chandler fiasco with Karen Hinkley, in the following statement “recent” is underlined and a hyperlink:
“In light of recent events, many have objected to the practice of church discipline, an integral part of covenant membership that many find uncharitable at best and oppressive at worst.”
the hyperlink goes to:
also this quote from his promo of covenants sticks out to me:
“Before someone joins my church, they meet with me and another elder. These conversations are the highlight of my week. I get to hear how a person came to know the Lord and how the Lord has been at work in his or her life. I’m better able to shepherd each individual member by knowing their stories.”
dunno how big of a church the guy has but its like he is rebuking chandler and other mega pastors, (if he is serious), i would love to see matt chandler meet with each person that wants to or has joined TVC. it would be the end of mega churches cause they could only meet with so many people individually at a time and even 10 a day would mean a membership of less than 365 members a year cause they gotta take the sabbath off. i am thinking he isnt serious but instead is using whatever he can to keep the contracts seeming legit and its just what Jesus said, a kingdom divided against itself, will fall.
Church covenants are unbiblical, legalistic and controlling. Individual believers are in covenant with God and His church by faith, not by terms and conditions of institutions. Church covenants are not supported by the Bible. This ecclesiological system is wrong.
Bottom-line: don’t sign a contract with your local church. There is already a covenant in place for you, signed with a nail-pierced hand:
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20).
I put this remark on the article’s site, but I’ll put it here, too.
If written signed church covenants aren’t mentioned in the Bible, then they’re man’s invention. I’ll sign my Bible, but I won’t sign a church covenant, ever.
Any church that required that isn’t a church I’d care to belong to.
I think most cults have been founded by individuals who wanted sex, power, and money (not necessarily in that order.) It seems to almost be requirement. Whenever I hear of a religious organization that has elevated someone to that kind of standing, I am instantly wary. Perhaps it is a good thing I am a protestant. The distinction that Catholics make between clergy and laity makes me sick. As a protestant, I don't believe in a strong distinction between them. I believe in a priesthood of believers. I think it is well and good for there to be some structure in a church to help get things done in a practical way, but, having worked for a living, I know that bosses aren't necessarily better than me just because they have authority over me.
And I see this as the basic problem. People think that a position of authority implies that the person in authority is in some sense "better" than the person not in authority. Even though they have many, many, examples in life – politicians, bosses, etc. that prove this is a lie. Additionally, I think a basic requirement of any pastor ought to be that they have to have worked for a living for at least 5-10 years before they are ever confirmed as a pastor.
D@## straight. the Bible says nothing about membership covenants, it's a made-up 'rule' to let some megalomaniac control your life. Church discipline is also a crock. Matthew 18 and all the other so-called proof texts supporting a church dictatorship say nothing of the kind and claim they do is biblical fraud. The only thing the Bible says is that, in extreme cases, you can boot them out of the church. And that is a power given to the church as a body, not to some self-appointed judge and his minions.
I have been a witness to church discipline leading to the person being disciplined committing suicide. The parent of a 10 year old ( who was a good friend of my daughter) and a six year old. A terrible, terrible time. My husband, myself and our children are still not over the repercussions of that. And it happened 22 years ago. It affected 5 of our 6 children. I would share more, but do not want to inflict any more pain on the family if by chance they follow this blog.
Waitaminnit… they told “Rob” to either separate from his girlfriend, or get married… when she was still an unbeliever?
@ Bob Cleveland:
Great comment! What concerns me is that so many of these congregations are comprised of young people who have limited life experience.
Not only that, they are idealistic and have great reverence for their church leaders.
I wonder if they are pressured to join the churches they attend (which means signing the church covenant!).
I think many of them are young and enthusiastic and idealistic. In addition, many of the older, SeasonedSaints are leaving which then makes the younger ones who remain even more homogeneous. And when all the “lukewarm” and “non-serious” or “liberal” ones leave, the congregation who stays more “pure” and more convinced that they are the True Remnant. And in addition to that, those who are already convinced of the rightness of their doctrines and practice seek these churches out via the online directories which list “safe” or “approved” churches.
This happens with ideological movements, and so it isn’t just the YRR. They are the ones making the most noise now in the conservative churches. I wonder who among the aficionados of this new movement will be the first to emerge from groupthink hypnosis, to examine the Bible, and to say, “Enough. We.Were.Wrong.”
1) The fact that they have to invent language like “covenant membership” to get their point across is a red flag. Why, exactly, can they not use the language in the Bible? Is the church member relationship more complicated than the Trinity?
2) Standard abusive behavior is to take something and describe it in opposite terms. For example, telling your spouse or child that you are beating them because you love them. Unfortunately, this article utilizes the rhetoric of abusers.
3) The paragraph that begins “In spite of the risk” is a virtual non-sequitar. This is the classic equivocation fallacy – it assumes that those who believe in this doctrine are carrying out pastoral care, encouraging community, etc., etc. And frankly we haven’t actually seen any good fruit come from this nonsense. It isn’t as if the Karen Hinkley situation is the rare exception.
4) Which feeds back into #2 – what the elders at TVC did, for example, was “none of the above”. It was harsh, manipulative, controlling, and essentially unchristian (especially for those who see marriage as a sacrament, sacramental, or at least sacred). But you will hear people use language like “caring for your soul”, etc., etc. IXMarks is famous for this. ‘Tis too much proved, that with devotion’s visage and pious action we do sugar o’er the devil himself.
It would be very helpful if someone in the Acts29/9Marks sphere would explain how and why the “lovingkindness” exhibited by the ELDERS at The Village did not look *at all* like the loving and faithful pursuit of a Loving and Faithful God for his wayward and rebellious people. The fact sets at The Village, with Mahaney and Dever, with Todd Wilhelm in Dubai, and with Driscoll do not fit the Biblical picture of Yahweh’s chesed toward his people. Did the “elders” demonstrate chesed toward wayward and rebellious pewpeons, or did arrogant and wayward elders pursue pewpeons who had done nothing wrong, or at least nothing that warranted the dogged pursuit of them?
The first among those who support these doctrines and practices who wakes up and realizes the gravity of the *real* issues of spiritual abuse in these situations will be the first one with the ability to say anything meaningful to his fellows about the issues. This is spiritual abuse. Not misuse. Not a pastoral misstep. Not mishandling. Not insufficient sensitivity. Abuse of the flock by those to whom the sheep have been entrusted.
Just read something in my studies about legal rules for tech like Churchix and I don’t believe it can legally be used to identify anyone without their permission. I may be wrong. The easy way to get around that though: covenant membership.
You can have ours from San Antonio. We sure aren’t in Lost Wages anymore, that’s for sure! 😉
Churchix: Alert! Alert! Michael Servetus has entered the building! Code Red!
Calvin: Get the torches ready brothers, we’ve got a heretic to roast.
I do understand the idea of identifying pedophiles or terrorists though. Some churches are thinking of this, as some do active shooter training, for good reason. The issue IMO is the amount of power the church is willing to exert more than the use of availability of the tech itself…depends on the church how it would be used.
Oh no, Satin! May you at least have hot coffee.
I will say it again: Why oh why didn’t I take up Sunday bowling. I would have at least gotten a really cool shirt with my name on it!!
Here is the latest post I wrote. This examines and looks at how a Care Group Leader from Redeemer Arlington should have engaged an agnostic. It examines the problems of Neo-Calvinist theology in the process.
david brainerd wrote:
Pretty much. I’m eager to see if it catches on or not.
One of my friends replied to the Churchix blurb with:
“Cultix–so you can identify absent members and declare them Suppressive Persons.”
Sigh….This is a revision of the old Shepherding movement from the past (been there got the tee shirt). It seems every so many years the enemy just revamps it and power hungry "leaders" jump on board.
I'm thankful TWW is fighting the good fight – Thank You!
Yes. Yes. Yes. That was my first thought!
I don’t think that pedophiles and terrorists are going to submit high-quality and high-res photographs of themselves to the church, in order to make identification possible. And not every terrorist can be identified before he (terrorism is also a largely complementarian business, with manly male leaders) strikes the first time. As can be seen from the Charleston shooting spree.
A question: don’t many American churches publish church directories for which they ask members to submit photos? I see that as a legitimate request – after all, in a larger church it helps the pastors get to know people more quickly and put names to the faces they know.
So they already have those photos. If they then use them for putting them into the churchix software would be a massive breach of trust, because they use your private data for something different from what was originally claimed.
david brainerd wrote:
Churchix – we make shunning those unrepentant independent thinkers even easier!
Quotes from “Finding Church: What if There Really is Something More?” by Wayne Jacobsen
“On the darker side are those congregations that are simply fiefdoms for bullies or insecure leaders that take people captive to their will by manipulating them with fear and guilt. I’ve been in the wake of such groups to help deeply scarred souls find healing. These groups often use the language of radical Christianity and attract passionate people, but that passion is soon twisted into legalism as everyone is told to follow the leader’s vision exclusively, to view other groups with disdain, and to abuse others by overtly or covertly marking and shaming people who do not conform. Sadly, some people enjoy abusive congregations, either because it makes them feel superior to “less-committed” believers or because they think their personal spiritual failures merit a weekly berating from the pulpit.” (Kindle Locations 2509-2515)
“What about church discipline? I’m certain that the discipline process of Matthew 18 was never to be applied in an institutional setting. I’ve never seen it done that didn’t result in abusive treatment, designed to manipulate people’s responses out of fear instead of inviting them into transformation and freedom. The things I had to do as a pastor to protect the environment now make me cringe with regret. The language of Matthew 18 and I Corinthians 5 are far more powerful inside a community of friends.”
(Kindle Locations 2835-2838)
“How do we know who is a Christian if they don’t belong to a recognized group? My question now is how do we know if they do? Many people are part of congregations for social, religious, or cultural reasons, but have no desire to follow Jesus. We know someone belongs to him not by the group they identify with, but by the love and life of Jesus that emanates from them. It is not so hard to tell in most cases.”
Kindle Locations 2844-2847)
“Third, who genuinely cares about others and who is not living by obligation, commitment, or covenants? Accountability attempts to change people from the outside and if you are pressured with guilt and fear, you won’t grow to know him. Genuine compassion for others spawned by grace working in us will invite us into the most productive relationships.” (Kindle Locations 2535-2538)
“Fifth, in whatever group you find, is everyone respected or is there a hierarchy of spirituality that elevates some over others? Do people talk down to you as experts or laterally with you as fellow travelers on a journey of faith?
Sixth, does it find freedom and order in mutual respect and love or by the demands of leadership? How are you treated if you see things differently than others? One of the earmarks of broken leadership is their demand for conformity and their appeals to personal loyalty if you express concerns or ask questions. If they get angry, belittle you (“ If that were true don’t you think God would tell me first?”), gossip about you, or marginalize you unless you silently submit, you’re in a dangerous environment. Run! To grow you need to question what you need to question and struggle where you need to struggle in an environment of love.” (Kindle Locations 2542-2548)
“Eighth, are people being equipped to have their own spiritual journey, or are they encouraged to be dependent on the leaders? If they forbid you to read books that make them uncomfortable or if you are told you will wither spiritually if you don’t regularly fill your tank at the meetings, you’re already being taught to be more secure under human leadership than from following Jesus. Perhaps the best way to tell if you’re in a healthy environment is to take your internal temperature every few months. Is your heart growing increasingly full and is God becoming clearer to you, or are you finding yourself exhausted and no closer to God than you were months before? As best you can, ignore the institutional chatter especially if it is laden with guilt and commitment. I find the most fulfilling relationships in a congregation tend to avoid the politics of leadership teams and planning groups because that’s where manipulation and obligation first assert themselves to keep control of the group. In the end each of us has to decide at what point the institutional side of congregational life overruns the relational side. When it gets to the point that you spend more time recovering from a service than it took to get ready for it, maybe it’s time to disengage from that system.”
(Kindle Locations 2554-2562)
“As we come to possess the mind of Christ, we view our lives and growth in the Spirit quite simply. We know, to paraphrase Pascal, that all the liberation and revolution theologies, all the charismatic, Asiatic, and apophatic spiritualities, all the burial mounds of rhetoric and enfeebled good intentions, all the mumbling and fumbling of cerebral Christians busy cultivating their own idolatries, are not worth as much as one loving act that emancipates one slave from one moment of exile in Egypt.”
“The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus
Protip: If your church asks you to sign a “covenant” AND/OR asks you to pose for/send a portrait of yourself for the leaders, run away as fast as you can.
Perhaps it will get to the place where those who 'covenant' with a church are required to submit photos and bank routing numbers/checking account numbers to church officials.
"Stupid is as stupid does…"
Excellent comment. Idealism can be a dangerous thing.
Lori Desimone wrote:
We have said numerous times before that those who are predominantly attracted to the YRR movement are too young to know anything about the shepherding movement (from the 70s and early 80s). Looks like we need to revisit this topic soon.
In the meantime, here are two posts published only weeks after we launched TWW. We recognized what was occurring over six years ago.
Part 1: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2009/04/09/the-shepherding-movement-%E2%80%93-reformed-revamped-reee-diculous/
Part 2: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2009/04/14/the-shepherding-movement-reformed-revamped-reee-diculous%C2%A0-part-two-%C2%A0/
Well put, Gram3. Asking for covenant membership so that elders may know of whom they must give an account is parallel to the man who asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” It’s the attempt of legalists to limit their obligations so that it is “doable.” Calling “care” what most people outside the “in group” would call “control” is Orwellian. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the email asking whether they had yet tried to “push” Karen “under their care.” It’s a poor substitute for the call to love as Jesus loved us.
At first I thought the Churchix video was going to be a parody. Then I watched it. Just creepy; I immediately thought of Minority Report. These days we’re all getting recorded and tracked in so many different places, it’s nice to have at least one where we can have some privacy other than our homes.
I also couldn’t help but notice that for all his claims to covenant membership being implicitly biblical, there was not a single reference provided. Somehow the body of Christ got by just fine for almost two millennia without these legal documents. If anyone wants to argue for their prudence in our modern context, they need to come up with something better.
Finally, I am not against all church discipline. The examples provided, if accurately represented, are pastoring done right. Menikoff would have done himself a huge favor though, to at least acknowledge the true extent of the problems. Minimization of abuse equals its dismissal.
Jeff Chalmers wrote:
As you may know, I totally agree with you. Our friend, Old John J, has another post on the subject waiting, and we will get it up ASAP.
I am willing to bet that Menikoff has *disciplined more than marital affairs. There is a reason he minimized it.
Thank you for picking that up. Can you imagine attending a church that utilized this garbage. I would be so gone.
Now, now Lydia… You know 9Marks and others have said that you are not being biblical since you must be under the authority of the local church at every moment of every day.
Or, as Todd writes, 9Marx. samster wrote:
New TWW rule-do not sign covenants or attend churches which use facial recognition. Things are getting really, really weird out there.
The system is set up so the pastor is merely a talking head and the “fixer” for major problems. Other than that, they are at conferences, writing books, traveling to inspect mission fields and taking sabbaticals.
I will never sign one again. There are far too many men who are drunk with their own vision of authority.
Bob Cleveland wrote:
I’m with you.
As I’ve said in another thread (http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/06/10/an-apology-from-matt-chandlerelders-of-the-village-church-and-a-statement-of-forgiveness-from-karen-hinkley/comment-page-1/#comment-201078): Her value is practically zero, which is also
I like this idea.
We have a number of stories backed up that will continue to demonstrate what is really going on with these contracts. It is not pretty.
Your comment made me start to cry. How dare they! I stopped and prayed for the family after reading the comment.
Ben Denison wrote:
Sex and gender rules take precedence over anything else in this sort of SBC church. He had sex with her. That is unforgivable so they must marry. The fact she wasn't a Christian was not a concern.
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
That is why we continue to write these stories. The more we write, especially now since the TVC incident, the greater the chance that the word will get out.
Yep-write it into the contract and it is legal.
@ david brainerd:
Your comment made me laugh. I am sure they would have my name on the “10 most wanted” list.
Power on. The daughter of Stan is enjoying her coffee. It was quite a night!
I would so love to be called a “Suppressive Person.”
Lori Desimone wrote:
This is a great comment. History always repeats itself.
Max, Beautiful! Thanks for the reminder.
@ Todd Wilhelm:
Todd! I am glad you saw this post. Let me know when 9Marx apologizes to you! 🙂
I thought it was a parody at first as well. I did check it out but even after I posted it, I was worried I would find out that it was all a big joke. I guess it is not, unfortunately. Instead, it illuminates what I see as a worrying growth of hyerauthoritarianism in the church.
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
I like that. I'm curious, what's the source?
I’m glad you have seen my email. The future post is not about YEC although I did put in a little dig at it. Sadly, the mindset that ignores all the science, simply a careful consistent study of the universe God made, pertaining to creation will cause the message in the proposed post to be ignored also.
One thing that I don’t see when people talk about the “need” for “church discipline” is the need for it to protect the congregation from abusive/sinful etc. leaders.
I remember CLC a long time ago handing out the church discipline statement from a New Wine Church that included this need. In a lot of ways the sins/abuse of a leader are much more of a danger to a congregation then the sins of a regular member.
I imagine the reason we rarely if ever hear about the need to impose church discipline on leaders is that it is typically church leaders writing. Thus only share the side to protect themselves and their position and not the whole church’s.
Also, on another blog pointed out that most “church discipline” isn’t really church discipline but leader discipline. It is something that leadership does with little input from the congregation. To really call it “church discipline” they need to have a church meeting and see if the regular members agree that this is something to impose.
Redefining concepts and words is one of the marks of thought reform. Look at what they have done to “Gospel” and “Grace”. I got chills when I read this and saw they have hijaked Hesed. My all time favorite OT word describing God. From my research not even the typical translation of “loving kindness” quite captures the essence of hesed. It would include long suffering, patient, compassion, etc.
Not even close to their typical use of membership covenants, is it?
It is horrible how they take familiar words from scripture and hijack them to mean something else so as to benefit their power stance. How ever will subsequent generations from these movements know the truth of these words and not equate them with human power and position? A lot of debriefing from the brainwashing will have to occur and that can take years and years.
Dee, if the truth were known some New Calvinist “elders” may literally be drunk on occasion. Thanks to Acts 29 influence, Dricollites who have been released within SBC and elsewhere have no problem imbibing (and I don’t mean drunk in the Spirit!). I can see them now (20-30 year old lead pastor and elders of a new church plant) sitting around a draft membership covenant with a draft of beer trying to think up new terms and conditions to control church flesh while they can’t control their own! Of course, these young conservatives try to drink in moderation, but their youth gets the best of them sometimes. Good Lord, when will this madness end?!
“Save the pain of manually tracking their members.”
Ok, so there is a basic assumption here that is so wrongheaded that it makes me want to say”why, oh why, do you think you need to track your members’ attendance at events?
Are you that insecure in your ministry, that unsure of what you are doing, that you have to track how many and which members attend? That is like the Bill Clinton political practice of changing policy based on polls, so you incessantly poll to see how people respond.
They have literally been told at seminary, youth group, college group, conferences and in popular books by the gurus that “they have the true Gospel”. So the dynamics are are in place. That they…these very young people….have truths their older wiser parents, pastors, teachers, etc….do not have.
Think of the implications of that in so many ways. Most young people think their parents are ignorant. Take that and multiply it by 1000x including pastors, teachers, etc. This is tyical of youth but rarely do we see a youth movement gain so much power so quickly while believing that! (I can think of one…Khmer Rouge)
And all of this was pretty much ignored until it hit the church scene with a vengence and started wrecking families and churches. By then, it was too late. A lot of damage has been done. To give you an example of how this works, a young man here split two churches and you would think he would be out of a job. No way. He was appoionted by Mohler to a powerful state position within the SBC. That his how it works.
I would caution folks that these young men have arrested development in ways that are worse than the typical 20-30 something finding his way in the world. There is nothing worse than giving power to an entitlement mentality who is convinced only he has truth and must make others see it. There is a spiritual and emotional arrested development that is dangerous to those around them because they have been given power with a bully pulpit.
There are older men who have used these young men horribly to advance a movement of power and fame. Mohler is the worst of them using his platform for years to coordinate so much of this. But he, too, was given way too much power too young. And loyalty to him (not Christ) has been the key to so much of what has happened …just in in the SBC.
I wonder if going out into the real world to earn a living might be the only cure for this spiritual arrested development. I would venture a yes on that.
The other thing that many of these young men might not be aware of is that when you follow a guru, the guru is always about his own power. Gurus have been known to change direction once the $#$% hits the fan and the costs start piling up with lots of pushback. I am already seeing it in a few instances.
When I first heard of it a few years ago from a mega security person it was in relation to “security” concerning parental custody issues they had problems with. Well, based on my experience I did not believe that for one minute. My guess it was mostly to track known dissenters and who what groups they are hanging with. Every mega church pastor out there is scared to death and has personal security just to walk through the church on weekends before and after service.
(And someone I know was asked to provide a picture of a member they did not have one on file for preferably from some church function. Evidently, this person showed up at the mega pastors home without an invitation needing to talk and was considered a threat for doing so. In any event, It is incredibly easy to get pictures these days from social media. Keep that in mind, folks)
Yes you are right – many are too young to even be aware of the Shepherding disaster.
That being said, looking back on my experience in it, I learned some of the hardest yet most important lessons of my Christian life. I learned to never allow man to ever have too much power over me and my walk with the Lord. It was a painful lesson but one that has served me well. Many though struggled for years and some walked away from their faith because of what happened. Hard hard lessons but God will bring good out of it if you lean into Him.
It seems to me that in the revamped and reformed shepherding movement, the leaders are attempting to replace the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. 🙁
I think the churchy equivalent is probably “heretic Jezebel.” I’ve been called that too (by followers of Kent Hovind).
We are all too aware of this recent development. At least one Acts 29 church showed a charge for liquor on its financial statement. Here is the pertinent excerpt from a post we published back in 2013.
Apparently, pastoring hath its privileges. 😉
Hitler’s Youth Army is another example of a youth movement gone bad. Actually, there are similarities of indoctrination techniques for neo-communism and neo-calvinsim. The strategy includes herding young adrenaline into an educational setting (seminaries) or cool conference (e.g., Acts29 Resurgence Event, Passion Conference, Together for the Gospel, 9Marks, B21, etc.) and unloading Biblical aberration on young minds. The out-front leaders may look like the youth they attract, but the old guys are in the background moving things along (Piper, Keller, Mahaney, Devers, Mohler, etc.). A good example of this can be found on John Piper’s youtube video interview of Matt Chandler (Piper’s influence on Chandler’s ministry is clear).
There is an interesting dynamic within SBC in this regard. For years, SBC’s “Old” Calvinists have been conducting a “Quiet Revolution” (that’s what they call it on the Founder’s Ministry website). It’s been a relatively harmless effort which has been largely unnoticed by SBC’s non-Calvinist majority. “New” Calvinists entering SBC pulpits have developed a strong allegiance to these SBC reformed “influencers” (e.g. Mohler) and a closely-connected non-SBC network of reformed organizations. While most “Old” Calvinists may be opposed to the message, method, and mission of their neo-brethren, others in the old guard appear to be putting up with this new brand as long as the essential reformed message moves forward in SBC ranks and elsewhere. These young folks are spurred into action by old reformer rhetoric that says the SBC has lost the Gospel and the neo-calvinists must recover it! After all, Calvinism = Gospel they preach. And their favorite icon Dr. Mohler tells them ““Where else are they going to go? If you’re a theological minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you’re committed to the gospel and want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ … your theology is just going to end up basically being Reformed, basically something like this new Calvinism … there just are not options out there …”
Well, there are other options out there, but majority Southern Baptists are not exercising them as they ought. Probably too late to do that now, and so the beat goes on. Next thing you know, these young radicals will try to put church members under bondage by requiring them to sign a membership covenant to control their followers as they have been controlled (oh wait a minute, I forgot, that’s already happening!).
I read all your posts, the comments as well. There are some great comments authored by thoughtful people. Someone has usually said what is on my mind, and said it much better than I could, therefore I don’t always join the conversation.
Do you remember the post by “Crazy Busy” Kevin DeYoung a few years ago dealing with church attendance? His homeboys will love the new face recognition software.
One other thing – I cannot take credit for the term “9Marx”. I believe I first saw it used by one of the commenters on TWW. I loved it and have continued using it.
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
* Paging Dr. Fundystan, Paging Dr. Fundystan *
(and if HUG is present, paging HUG too, because we all snicker at Christianese)
What do you make of the phrase “soul care”-
I enjoy how some Christians, usually church employees, create their own religious jargon.
I’m not terribly sure what “soul care” means. I can probably guess at what he means by it, I think I know what he’s getting it, but it sounds silly.
If you reply, Dr. Fundystan, try to keep your reply winsome and Gospel-centered!
You made me laugh. Church covenants should come with the disclaimer: “Drafted under the influence!”
Bob M wrote:
You do know that there are leaders in the current NeoCalvinist crowd that propose disciplining members who miss a certain amount of church meetings. I can't wait until they release the amount of calories each member is allowed to ingest daily.
Certainly wouldn’t want a hurting member of a church to think they can actually go to a pastor’s home and ask for help.
Good point on Facebook.
Wow! Hovind’s group called you that. Talk about a bunch of loons…
I forgot about that! Benny's Beverage Depot- they actually had the receipts. This was another massive fail for Acts 29-both on losing members and shutting down the church while continuing to abuse members. I wonder if Chandler will apologize for that one. Doesn't he still use the dude who screwed up the entire thing as a church plant trainer? ROFL.
Todd Wilhelm wrote:
Bless his heart-it will save time by creating lists of who is and isn’t in church. He could then set up a tribunal to determine how many meetings one can miss before being disciplined.
However, pastors will never be disciplined for not being around because they are attending important conferences, speaking at other churches (honorarium’s included) taking Sabbaticals, and writing books.
That is the work of the Kingdom.
True story: My friend lost her husband to cancer. her women’s Bible study leader called her and chastised her from missing too many meetings. I will not swear, I will not swear….
I do think these days that taking a trip to a bowling alley on a Sunday morning would be more profitable than going to most church services.
Though I am awful at bowling and would probably opt for a video game arcade or movie theater instead. 🙂
I don’t know why some Christians get so legalistic about attending a brick and mortar building once a week (must be greed -they want tithes). I could write volumes, but will only discuss one or two points.
Most churches I’ve been too, you show up on Sunday, sit there and listen to a choir and some preaching for an hour, shake a few hands, go home.
That’s all there is to going to church, really (if you are a lay person and not on staff).
I’ve opened up to other church members when I felt I had known them long enough, and it was safe to talk to them, and had that thrown back in my face, when they criticized me in return for whatever personal business I shared with them. (I was expecting compassion and understanding from them, not criticism.)
I really do not feel inclined to associate with people, once a week or more, who are going to turn on me when I get vulnerable with them.
If you choose to decline that event (the church services) – stay at home watching Matlock reruns instead of going to church – they ream you for that.
You’ll be told there is no such thing as worshiping Jesus alone, saying you can worship God anywhere isn’t a good enough answer, God demands attendance (cue the quote from Hebrews about assembling together), there is no such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian, etc.
And you can’t explain that you get nothing out of church, so you skip it, because
1. church is supposedly only about God and nothing else (my needs don’t matter) and
2. cue the it’s- not- even- in- the- Bible cliche’, “You should go to church to serve, not be served” response
Do you know, I have offered to volunteer at various capacities at a church or two I went to (including using my particular career-related expertise for free, which can be quite pricey from others in the same field, and I do quality work), and the church staff did not take me up on it.
Some churches gripe all the time about not getting volunteers, but when you volunteer for something or the other, they are uninterested.
They don’t like for average members to know where they live. So the fact that someone found out is very scary to them. When they preach from the pulpits something like “God protects you”, they don’t believe it for themselves and take serious measures and precautions for their own “protection”.
Or, perhaps they believe God gave them the position and resources for their own protection and if God likes the others, He will do the same for them, too?
Maybe 20 years from now when the SBC is so small as to be totally insignificant with no ELRC to tell the world what individual Baptists think, someone will write a tome titled, "What I saw at the Neo Cal Resurgence". There is plenty of material.
@ Jeff Chalmers:
Hi Jeff, I was raised in a GARBC school, too. I am 54. Your comment made me look at my yearbooks. I still get a lump in my throat to see the board pictures. A whole page devoted to them, all men looking pretty proud and with the same mindset as the these SBC problems we blog about today.
P.S. And can anyone explain why some Christians insist you attend a local church at least once a week?
Who determines the frequency must be once a week?
Off hand, I do not remember the Bible stating that God expects, demands, or asks, for a particular number of community worship meetings per week.
Do Christians just assume God sets it to once per week, because Sunday is the ‘Lord’s day.’?
Maybe I am remembering wrong, but I do not remember an explanation or demand by God in the Bible that says, “If you worship God as a group, it must be X times per week. And it must be at a brick building with a steeple.”
Aren’t Christians who believe strongly in the “at least once per week” attendance at a building limit just assuming God expects a once per week deal?
Who is to say God isn’t fine with a once per month, or once every three months, schedule? Or once per year?
Where does the Bible explicitly state that believers must or should meet once per week? I don’t think it does (but I could be wrong).
I assume Christians assume this only because God cites the seventh day of the week as being a day of rest, so Christians just extrapolate from this that God must mean for folks to go to church once a week. IMO, that is a leap, quite a conclusion to make.
In my example above, I used “known pedos.”
For example, Jordan Root at TVC. TVC knows that the guy is a pedo, because he admitted to pedo tendencies to Karen.
If Root is serious about repenting, you would think he would willingly submit to a photo for his church, then having it uploaded to the software, so if the computer system detects him hanging out with a five year old kid (her photo would have to be in the system as well) on church grounds, a warning bell would go off.
Todd Wilhelm wrote:
Your post had many good quotes in it, and regarding this one.
I just wanted to say I read articles beginning about two or three years ago that attending church is very popular with atheists!
I remember reading an interview with an atheist lady who says she attends a church almost every week.
She says she doesn’t believe there is a God, but she attends the church for the community, the friendship, and I think she mentioned she liked the singing, the music, the peace she felt while there, etc.
So, it’s very true, you are going to get people regularly attending who aren’t even believers.
I’ve found that attending a church to get help (in my case, emotional support) is a waste of my time, most Christians don’t want to provide that but prefer to scold me for that, and pressure me to work at soup kitchens, or, the other extreme, ignore me and not include me in any ministries at all.
@ Todd Wilhelm:
Beautiful quote, Todd. I love that.
“Churchix…. – they make facial recognition software to spot problem gamblers at casinos, terrorists at air ports etc – They claim they were approached by a significant number of churches. The churches wanted this and requested it!!!”
If anyone is interested, the article I read about this is at The Mirror.
If you visit the page, you can click the “Skip survey” option at the bottom of the list you see which will then allow you to read the article.
Churches introduce FACIAL RECOGNITION to keep track of members’ attendance
Do you know I find this line from the article funny (or funny-sad- horrifying), in retrospect:
Can you imagine that?
The same sort of software that tracks criminals is the same stuff churches want to use to track “Average Jane” and “Average Joe” pew sitter. I find this vaguely insulting.
Jeff Chalmers wrote:
Thank you both for your comments.
I just thought of something else.
Even though the article I read said this is all “voluntary.” -that your submission is voluntary-
That doesn’t work out well with Christian gender complementarianism, does it?
Even though passages in the New Testament about wives submitting to husbands are aimed at the lady readers, and even though it’s framed in terms of being voluntary (“won’t you please consider doing this”), look at how many gender complementarians legalistically demand submission from women to men in churches and marriages.
If so many gender complementarian churches make voluntary submission from a woman to a man mandatory for women, you just know the chances of them taking the same tact with passport like photos will be similar.
I wouldn’t be surprised if churches try to pressure members into submitting to a photo software program by quoting out- of- context or misapplied Scriptures at them.
Of course, only the women would be required to submit to caloric reporting. 😉
“It reminds me of the toll booths that recognize your vehicle and deduct the toll from your account. Or send you a ticket/bill by mail if you don’t have an account that can be automatically debited. Seems like a very practical solution to enhancing revenues.”
All of this… all the things in place to control people… is because of money. To keep it coming in. So all the superfluous pastors can protect their jobs and their grow their salaries. Dressing it up as noble and godly,… it’s as repulsive as the smell of fermaldehyde. Nausea & all.
Be sure and sign up at the photo kiosk in the atrium. Remember, you were created in His likeness!
Abi Miah wrote:
Very well put.
Every time I read the “push her under our care” phrase, this scary movie I saw years ago comes to mind.
The movie is called “What Lies Beneath.” It was about a guy who killed a mistress by drowning her.
I think in the film he tried to shove his wife under a tub of water, too?
The movie poster showed a hand grasping the edge of a tub. I’m pretty sure someone in the movie was killed in a tub, or the evil husband tried to kill someone in a tub by drowning. It’s been awhile since I saw that movie.
If you like scary movies, that was a very good one.
But I think of the spouse trying to drown someone in that movie, when I hear the “push her under our care” comment, and I find it so creepy.
My hubby and I watched that movie recently. We didn't see it back in 2000 when it was released. Harrison Ford as a bad guy was pretty shocking. You're right, it was very scary.
Will one of you Southern ladies kindly explain to an injun from a Yankee State what ‘Bless his-her-your-heart’ means? So far I have conflicting info. Some say it’s a subtle/not so subtle barb, while others will insist that it’s a full-on insult. Anybody here got the real skivvie?
I agree there are instances where church discipline is necessary and can be redemptive if properly applied. A man I knew some years back was removed from his lay leadership position after committing a felonious act at his workplace. He underwent one of the most remarkable transformations I’ve ever seen and became a much stronger Christian. He even told me how grateful he was to go through the ordeal even though it proved quite costly. Not only did he undergo church discipline; he also spent time in prison.
On the other hand, I’ve been on the receiving end of several instances of misapplied discipline: one in a parachurch organization; another in a ministry setting; the last in a church singles group. In the first instance I was a young Christian who frankly deserved a rebuke, but the punishment was disproportionate to the offense I’d committed and a couple of the leaders engaged in character assassination during the process. I’m still not sure what I did to deserve being removed from my role in the ministry setting. As for the singles group, I was disciplined based on what turned out to be an exaggerated story and one of the leaders later apologized for mishandling the situation. The group was eventually shut down.
Speaking of The Minority Report, which kind of gets into the ethical question of, “if you could go back in time and off Adolph Hitler when he was a baby to prevent millions of murders he did later, would you do it?”
Aspects of the story Dee linked to remind me of this in a way.
Why is a church limiting before-hand who can join?
It’s like, in some cases, they are punishing people before they have had a chance, or been proven guilty.
So you have a guy “living in sin” with a girlfriend.
Why can’t you educate this guy upfront, at your first meeting with him when he says he wants to join, that living with your girlfriend a sin your church won’t put up with, you will allow him to join your church, but if it continues after he joins, you will have to boot him?
Isn’t kicking the guy out before he joins in contradiction to the churches who teach, “Come to Jesus just as you are. Don’t clean yourself up first, you come to Jesus first, then Jesus cleans you.”
So, are these churches expecting only perfect, sinless people to join?
Or “little” sins are okay with them, just not the ones they consider “biggies”?
I do kind of see the need for church discipline at times (the Bible says there is a time and place for it), and because there are people who claim to follow Christ and live nothing like it most of the time, but I’m not comfortable with how these churches are applying it, or to whom they are applying it, and they are sometimes inconsistent.
I read the CT article a day or two, and I noticed almost every single example he gave involved marital or sexual type sins or situations.
They were about women divorcing a spouse to run off with another guy, or the guy cheating on the wife, etc.
He didn’t present any more examples, none that could be more muddied, or not as clean cut, which kind of made it convenient for him, I thought.
These churches are not for thinking people. They always put themselves out their as being the most “bilbical.” Yet, the majority of what they practice has absolutely no point of contact whatsoever with the Bible. The day may come when you’ll need a lawyer to join a church just like you need one to buy a house. BTW, the whole church discipline thing is a joke. Ever heard of a prominent member (big-giver) getting disciplined?
I believe that tid bit was mentioned in the The Mirror article, which I linked to in a post to someone else, if you would like that citation, if you ever need it for another blog post.
The Churchix software really gives me the creeps. I understand churches need to be concerned about security these days, especially following the Charleston, SC church massacre. However, this software strikes me as nothing but a control tool.
Would the churches who use this software find it confusing if or when members walked past the cameras in Bat Man masks?
That sounds like a pretty sweet gig.
Nothing about that sounds like it is capable by being accomplished by men-only.
As a woman, I could do a once a week sermon and spend the rest of my work week with my feet up on a desk, writing book content on an iPad, or occasionally visiting a mission field.
But they keep wanting to define the role of preacher as being Man Only. I wasn’t aware that only men are capable of writing books, visiting mission fields, etc.
By limiting women, they are knocking down a lot of competition from the out-set. Maybe that is one of the real reasons behind gender complementarianism?
I too could write books, attend Christian conferences, and blather about Jesus in public or on pod casts; I don’t see how any of that stuff is “preaching” anyway or how women are unqualified for it.
It scares me….
Bob Cleveland wrote:
Someone on another site (or was it this one) said people were asking John Piper (or some other preacher) to sign their Bible copies for them.
And/or, didn’t some famous preacher release a Bible version in his name, with a faux copy of his signature engraved on the cover or something?
Just a thought experiment: I wonder how many NeoCals, 9Marks etc. people would react, if they were given a list of their own problems (as documented so well here) and told that they were all issues the Catholic Church had before the Reformation. First of all, that’s not the case except very isolated situations; second of all, I would bet money that they would be all over themselves denouncing such.
As to the Shepherding Movement in the ’70s-’80s, I remember it well – skated around the edge of it for a while. I was young, freshly committed to Evangelicalism, and impressed that “it was so scriptural!” ISTM that what is happening now is a combination of that and the extreme New England Puritans.
Your comparison and commentary on that are outstanding, G3.
And can I just reiterate that “covenant membership with one another is not called for in Scripture. We are in covenant with God and in fellowship with one another. (The Problem with Church Membership Covenants – bad doctrine hurts God’s people: https://timfall.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/covenant-with-god-not-church/ )
Dee, including the mandatory support of a Pastor’s “vision” reminded me of Steve Furtick’s church (Acts 29 or 9 Marks, right?) creating those coloring books for the children’s Sunday School classes. They indoctrinated them young when it came the primacy of not questioning church leadership. (Question for Steven Furtick: Is Your “Vision” More Important Than Scripture? https://timfall.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/steven-furtick-vision-more-important-than-scripture/ )
@ Muff Potter:
I wouldn’t call it necessarily an insult or even necessarily a barb but more like putting someone back in their proper place in a condescending sort of way. The way I’ve heard it is “Bless his little heart (he can’t help being so foolish.) Interestingly, there is a related expression which I’ve only heard in a positive sense: Well, bless your heart! It is an expression of appreciation.
So, for example, I might refer to one of our Usual Suspects as “Owen BHLH” because Owen BHLH absolutely loves to assume a lofty position of superiority from which he pontificates. I attribute his silliness to hypoxia at those intellectual altitudes. OTOH, I might say to my friend who brings me my favorite fudge cake from a local bakery, “Well, bless your heart! You didn’t have to do that!”
Now, that clears things up, right? 🙂
Muff Potter wrote:
I’ve heard it used in a wide variety of ways; sarcastically, endearingly, and my sister uses it regularly at hockey games when the goalie is being overworked! lol
Without spilling the beans, your comment may be prophetic. Stay tuned..it may be a couple of weeks.
@ Muff Potter:
From my parts it was a way to recognize how ignorant/mean a person is without saying so because that person may not even know that about themselves. So it gives them the benefit of the doubt for their ignorance of their own behavior.
@ Muff Potter:
Let me tell you how I mean it. It is a subtle way to say I disagree with you but I really don’t hate you.
After they had a seizure, they would talk their way out of it with sweat dripping down from their foreheads and armpits.
That’s why I think women should be pastors. The men shouldn’t get all the benefits. 🙂
if the pastor is supposed serve the congregation, why does the pastor surround himself with security? Shouldn’t the security be for the congregation unless the pastor is the most important thing about the church?
There may be more coming in the days to come.
To the person who emailed me regarding this post,
Do not worry. We have a strict confidentiality policy.
‘Bless your heart’ can mean anything you want it to mean from sincere condolence to ‘quit your whining’ and a lot of things besides depending on circumstances. It can often mean ‘that is a lot to have to deal with’ and is not infrequently used in the context of an appropriate word when there is really nothing else to say but something must be said.
It is often used as merely part of a longer statement. Well, bless your heart, I know that must be such a burden. That is frequently a genuine expression of sympathy. Unless of course the person claims to be suffering persecution because of hangnail in which case it is a jab at the person. On the other hand it certainly can be used a sarcasm, as in ‘bless you (little) heart’ which can be an insult and mostly is when I hear it. To say ‘bless your heart’ just before explaining things can go both ways. If the person addressed should have known the answer and had no business asking in the first place, it is condescending. On the other hand if the person had no way of knowing the answer (ESL maybe or walked into the middle of a conversation) then it could be a mild apology because the speakers should have made sure that the questioner was included in the first place. As in ‘Oh, bless your heart, I forgot that you were out of town when…’
The answer to the question is: how was it used in the sentence and what were the circumstances?
That was supposed to be addressed to Muff, not Victorious. Well, bless my own heart, I must be getting senile. I never heard that said that way, but it would not raise any eyebrows I think.
I went through the “The Loving-Kindness of Covenant Membership” document, the title reminds me of Kremlin speak.
I found 10 uses of the word care. In each case the need for a covenant was a non-sequitur. If you are interested in care, a covenant is irrelevant, the two are not linked. However when I substituted the word control, instead of care, it all falls into place. One fixed sentence below is an example:
“Covenant church membership encourages pastors to value member control more than retaining members.”
Now doesn’t that make a lot more sense to base covenants on control than on care? We need to remind them not to allow their auto-correct to substitute the word care when they type control, otherwise their documents sound like nonsense.
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
I like the IXmarks as in churchIX? This would be a great opportunity for an insider to play the part of whistleblower and release the client list for ChurchIX. If you want to create a stir, just release the names of all the churches that use this technology.
Same here, with the addition of The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay/”It’s All Gonna Burn — any minute now!”
SHEPHERDING(TM) IS A CONTROL FREAK’S WET DREAM. NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NORTH KOREA AND A SHEPHERDING(TM) GROUP.
Take The Mark of Our Covenant on your forehead and right hand?
I can relate to that.
One huge problem I’ve had with Christianity (and coming close to walking away) is the behavior of Christians, and at that, in specific regards to the garbage I’ve gotten from Christians after my mother’s death.
The vast majority I’ve gone to – family and church people – are absolutely terrible at handling a grieving person properly and with sensitivity.
Most I’ve talked to expect you to “suck it up,” just get over it, and move on – and do it all on your own, all alone. That attitude does not fit with the Bible’s “weep with those who weep” instruction at all.
I think I saw that movie (What Lies Beneath) on cable a few years after it was in theaters. I rarely make it out to movie theaters anymore.
It was a very good, suspenseful movie.
Ford was good in it, but I felt bummed out, because he’s Han Solo and Indiana Jones, who would rescue drowning people, not shove them under, but his character in that movie was drowning people! So that was a readjustment. It’s very hard to watch Han Solo drowning people.
“And if you don’t, our Security Cameras WILL KNOW WHO YOU ARE!”
— Grinning Ed Young, Auto-Payment Tithing Shakedown
And this is again just looking at Megacorporate America and going “ME, TOO!”
At one point, I did some Web Searches on Workplace Rage and got some interesting references from “corporate security consultants” whose only approaches were Increase Security, Facial Recognition, 24/7 monitoring software, cultivating and motivating informants to inform on their co-workers.
ONE EVEN SAID IN SO MANY WORDS “WHEN YOU VOTE YOURSELF SEVEN-FIGURE MANAGEMENT BONUSES WHILE FREEZING YOUR EMPLOYEES’ WAGES AND DOWNSIZING, YOU’RE GOING TO NEED SECURITY LIKE WE CAN PROVIDE.”
And Pastor commanded all to Take his Mark on their foreheads and right hands…
Like the young enthusiastic idealist kid singing the aria in this scene?
I’m still waiting for the day SkyNet becomes self aware and churches make an agreement where SkyNet issues each church its own T-800 Terminator to track down delinquent members.
Speaking of the Terminator. Arnold dressed up like his old T-800 character, pretended to be a wax T-800 figure at a museum and pranked a bunch of tourists who wanted to pose with him for a photo and thought he was a wax figure:
Arnold Pranks Fans as the Terminator…for Charity
You and I keep seeing the same things. Saw that clip of Arnold S. pranking people earlier today.
@ Todd Wilhelm:
9Marx. Haha! Just saw that and that it wasn’t typo. Yep.
9Marx: where some are more equal than others. 😉
The article didn’t specify.
All it said was
Oh my. And here I am feeling that forgiveness is beautiful but the families in Charleston have years of processing that ahead of them. I don’t understand the heartlessness of many in certain churches. There are some things people never can get over, although some people do handle things with amazing strength. We are all different. The biggest pain I’ve had as a sensitive person is this “get over it” attitude that doesn’t square with “Jesus wept”.
One personal issue I have with these things is the inherent assumption that everyone who walks through their doors will believe like they do, for the rest of their lives. Not only are they assuming the church’s doctrine is right and will always be right to begin with, it also naïvely assumes that the members are and will be “mature” in their beliefs the rest of their lives. That’s just not the case.
If I had joined one of these churches even a year ago, I would have since moved on from at least one of the main foundational doctrinal statements, complementarianism (plus YEC is certainly not an important doctrine to me). Leadership would have had me in discipline indefinitely, perhaps, and they wouldn’t want to let me leave. Apparently they’d insist on me “growing” to their standard even if I clearly no longer want to.
Most denominations, if you “grow out of” (rightly or wrongly) a teaching and want to move on to a better fit, you sit down with a leader and hash it out, and if you can’t come to an agreement, you both move on from each other, no hard feelings. It’s really not fair to the leading of the Holy Spirit and the individual’s growth and study to try to conform someone else to your vision and doctrine, against their will.
What looked like great solid doctrine to me a few years ago doesn’t look so good now. I’m very slow to process things staring me in the face sometimes, forgive me. If I had joined the 9marks place awhile ago when I thought I wanted it, I’d be nothing short of miserable right now. Trapped and miserable. I’m not a confrontational, scholarly type that can lay out my thoughts clearly when I’m on the spot. There’s no way in heck I’d be able to present my case to a board of elders. There’s no way I could have left that situation amicably.
Paul and Barnabas had a falling out over the usefulness of a man. Years later we see Paul coming around on that point. If these two pioneers of our faith could disagree, part company, and still be useful to the cause of Christ, then surely we shouldn’t have the arrogance to say that when someone departs our little vision that we can no longer affirm their salvation, fellowship, etc.
I guess I just don’t understand their vision of the Body. A tight community of members marching in step to the tune of a few men in leadership, only bringing in those who conform, just makes me uneasy.
Or even problems now: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08748a.htm
“while the clergy, even if only tonsured, have been raised by ordination to a higher class, and placed in the sacred hierarchy. The Church is a perfect society, though all therein are not equal”
These NeoCals seem to agree.
@ Daisy: and in cases I am also aware of some do want grieving people to do so on their own time whilst expecting them to turn up to meetings at church. That’s not church. It’s just not.
I was looking for more info about that software and found this:
5 New Technologies for Gathering Data in Your Church
It covers other stuff churches are using now or may be using, such as bar codes, finger print scanning, Proximity Software, etc.
The author has a link on her blog page to a “church software company.”
So, there are entire companies that do nothing but make church-centered software?
This is too much. Whatever happened to a few people just meeting together casually to pray, read from the Bible and just get to know one another?
THIS. @ GovPappy:
Thanks go out to Gram3, Lydia, Victorious, Nancy, & dee. Now I know that the expression does not have a restricted domain of meaning. It all depends on context and location, location, location, within that context (ed).
I do know that one mega was starting to implement bar codes screening for the children’s wing drop off and pick up. Who wants to argue with that? But there were also discussions on encouraging people to pay offerings and tithes with debit or credit cards in a kiosk on site for better tracking. But that can alter the outcome because they depend on the pewsitter throwing a check or cash into the plate when asked during the service. If the pewsitter has time to think twice on their own, the chances and amounts are dimmer.
The missus and I had a similar conversation the other day.
Lets say the forgiveness that the people of that church in Charleston showed is the gold standard for us as Christians (it truly is a beautiful thing. Shocking).
What some of these churches want to do is take that beautiful gold standard and try to force the hurting, the new Christian, the abused to instantly conform to that standard–to just manufacture it–with the assumption that they’re mature enough to handle it. It would be an amazing thing if we could all display such a level of forgiveness immediately, but we can’t force others to do that where it’s not there, where they’re not ready. The perfect becomes the enemy of the good. Hurt and grief becomes guilt.
I’d never really thought of it that way, and this recent tragedy shows it that much more. I honestly hope that the public response from that church doesn’t become the new gold standard for pastors and churches to use to guilt their members.
@ Muff Potter:
Well you know, Muff, it is a sin to call someone a “fool” but you can “Bless their heart”. :o)
We’re just online hipsters, I guess. 🙂
I found a few more pages at that blog I just linked to a post or two above.
I also just noticed that blog’s sub heading:
“How pastors and administrators can manage their church with technology”
This is a thing now. That makes me sad.
Some of their other blog pages include:
The Best Twitter Accounts to Follow for Church Technology Advice”
Some samples from that page (you can visit their page to get the whole list):
“The Top 10 Church Technology Podcasts”
You can find some of those on iTunes. A few include:
1. Church Tech Talk
2. Social Media Church
4. Church Tech Weekly
A few more page titles from their blog:
“Online Giving for Churches: 5 Donation Tools to Grow Your Contributions”
“6 Tools for Creating Great Church Apps”
“5 Steps to Effectively Advertise Your Church”
“The Epic Guide to Building a Great Church Website”
“The Top 3 Church Management Software Options by Customers: A Comparison”
“Does Your Church Need a Mobile App?”
@ Muff Potter:
Er… ah… context not contest. Dang blasted new overly touch sensitive keyboards! Gonna have search out an old IBM Unix workstation antique clunker-board more suited to an old goat like Potter.
Looking forward to it.
Yes, I’ve gotten truck loads of the “get over it” attitude from Christians.
And I’ve been shamed for asking for encouragement or someone just to talk to. I’ve had some Christians portray my grief over the loss as “having a pity party for yourself” (when such is not the case).
I’ve gotten platitudes, cliches from Christians. I’ve had Romans 8:28 quoted at me so often I now despise that verse.
I’ve gotten the “go help those less fortunate than yourself” or “other people got life worse than yours, so suck it up” commentary many times from Christians (ones I know personally, at churches or family of mine).
You’re right, those folks in that recent shooting who survived have years of dealing with it ahead of them.
Grief is a process, not a one time event. I’ve yet to meet many Christians who understand that, so I had to do it all alone. And it was (and is) very, very, very hard to go it alone.
I related to so many things in your post, and I sound similar in other aspects, like you said you’re not good in “on the spot” confrontations and/or don’t enjoy them. I am the same.
Also, there were views up until a few years ago I thought were biblical but now I realize they are not, or I am re-examining some things I used to believe.
I just so relate to so many of the things you said or experienced.
The expression “Bless his/her heart but” is sometimes used to precede a bit of gossip, etc., concerning that person!
That makes me feel ill and thankful that I don’t follow social media. I dare not venture into “church leadership” areas. I am not a Luddite, but what in the world?
If you don’t mind me asking, what caused you to re-think certain doctrines that you would have found acceptable before? For me, it was hearing something truly outrageous in the absurd sense of that being taught as Biblical truth. That along with seeing the fruit of authoritarianism and its subtype, Complementarianism up close and personal and having to deal with that fruit.
Not to be a broken record, but a lot of Christians are already at that mindset.
I was expected (and again, this is by Christians at a church I went to and family who profess Christ) to get over Mom’s death pronto immediately.
And, I was to get over it all by my little self.
Even though I need and prefer another (non-judgmental and sympathetic) person to talk it over with.
I also read some books by Christian psychiatrists who discuss all this stuff who say most people (this includes Christians, they say) do need to take their grief or other pain to other Christians and be heard, that it is dangerous or unhealthy for most people to go it alone.
But so many Christians expect you to grieve only in quiet and shut up about it when you are around them or in public.
No way in heck we’re alone there, if folks are honest.
I remember seeing an idiot IFB pastor (and I don’t use that term lightly) on twitter say this: “I’m never gonna change – if I change, that means I was wrong once.”
I despise everything about that statement.
I know. I am on social media, different platforms, with many different interests, and I’m fine with technology to a point, I enjoy some of it, but I think today’s churches have gone nutso whacko overboard about it.
When I was a kid, a church we went to for a few years (this was in the 1970s, prior to the internet and cell phones) just had an old lady on a piano, ten member choir. No tech. And we got along just fine without any gee whiz gizmos.
Churches are taking something that should be simple and making it overly complicated.
It all seems very impersonal (on top of being creepy), as well.
I don’t want to be thought of only as a giving unit, a finger print scan, or a bar code.
I have an internet friend, a person who is very intense about religion and political matters (she is very right wing, I’m right wing too), who I had been very good to for several years, when she was going through many minor crises, but she treated them all like they were major ones.
Anyway, she instantly turned around on me like a rabid dog a few months back, all because she was very offended that I have questioned the Christian faith on some points, or that I am a bit more moderate on some of my politics than I was before.
She cussed me out (really, she used vulgar language while screaming at me for having doubts about God or the Bible).
She thinks I am a traitor now, that I am a far left wing, liberal, Obama- voting Democrat who is also a committed atheist. Even though I told her 50 times over I don’t subscribe to any of those views.
I got chewed out real good by a person who I thought was a friend, and all over me changing some of my opinions on a few things.
I felt as though I had been hit by a bus. I was completely taken aback and by the amount of her hostility. I had only been nice and soft spoken with her over the years, even when some of her views had changed.
I don’t know why some people are so insecure over people who change their views on stuff.
I am wrong at least once a day. That man was delusional.
Muff Potter wrote:
May I be as nice of an old goat as you are!
Where to begin?
Complementarianism: I gotta give Christian Janeway almost all the credit on getting me to rethink my views there. To start with, I saw an alternative viewpoint being lived out that seemed more attractive than what I had been taught growing up. I started questioning and researching and reading (her story still is hugely inspiring to me) and I’ve slowly come around to an egalitarian position. It’s an odd approach to studying theology–spotting folks who I believe are living out the Christian life sincerely and with feeling and then deconstructing how they got to be like they are–but cautiously it’s serving me well. I hate to sound like a fruit inspector, but if institutionally you’re producing some bad fruit, I have to discern if the tree has a disease.
YEC: Still hold to it, but it’s not remotely a big issue to me anymore and I understand why others no longer believe it.
King James Only-ism: Umm, common sense.
Membership covenants/elder rule/9marx: Attended a “solid” 9marks church for 6-8 months before I really knew what it was, and both the wife and I were completely turned off to it by the time we left. She was in tears several times after Women’s events and such, just from the subtle pressure to conform to their image. To my shame, I didn’t pay much attention to that aspect until later, and, tying in with the Complementarian thing, the fact that I wasn’t giving proper weight to my wife’s feelings and thoughts was disgusting to me. No way we can do that again. I’m almost in tears thinking of it. Months later I discover TWW (also through Janeway), and here I am.
So there you go.
Insecurity. It explains a multitude of behaviors.
I think I’m going to cry,….GovPappy, you are a true friend, and I’m so thankful for you and the Missus.
The women’s events/classes/studies in the Complementarian churches did not make me cry, but they bored me silly. These were educated, competent women who lost all critical thinking ability and curiosity in order to fit in with the culture and *not* be assumed to be rebellious or a Jezebel. Seriously, I am extremely conservative but I think God gave us minds, and I think a curious spirit is part of being created to reflect his image. He creates, so we are curious about the way things are that he created. He creates, so we create. These women were so cookie-cutter that it made me very sad to see that they had given up the very things which bring God glory in order to pursue what their leaders taught them to do and believe in order to, supposedly, bring God glory.
Thank you for replying so thoughtfully. You should cut yourself some slack over the Complementarian thing. I think it was Maya Angelou who said we do better when we know better, and I think you have done better now that you know better. And now you know how to help others, having been through what you went through.
Seriously, thank you for your friendship, for your encouragement, and for your constant unyielding perspective on why this stuff matters.
Muff Potter wrote:
As another old goat I can identify with this. I’ve been a UNIX user (several flavors now) for over 40 years and I don’t see any reason to change to a new fangled systems like windows or apples.
Also your tender heart toward your wife shows that the Complementarian system is not necessary for Christ-like men and it is of no avail for men who do not care to imitate Christ. If they won’t listen to the words of Scripture, then they certainly will not listen to the likes of Piper. It discourages the good men and puts them under a burden of guilt.
Similarly a good woman who respects and loves her husband does not need to be conformed to the image of Piper and Grudem’s “Biblican Womanhood.” She will want to be conformed to Christ. A woman who has no desire to respect and love her husband is not going to do that because Owen BHLH says she must be subordinate. Again, it is the women who most desire to be Christ-like who are burdened by these man-made laws. They do not need laws because they, like the good men, have the Spirit of Christ living in them.
It is a system without benefits and with significant burdens. Well, it does benefit those who profit from putting other people under burdens they are unwilling to bear, as so many here have observed. But for the pewpeons, it is just more hurdles to jump so that we can enjoy the approval of these men.
Physical and mental abuse of “church” members, membership covenants, authoritarian “senior” pastors, “yes men elders”, “mega-church” campuses with their coffee shops, gymnasiums, and baristas,… maybe we should all back up and decide if our 21st century concept of “church” is the same entity Christ had in mind when He spoke of “the church.” I am beginning to think, perhaps not, that once Christ’s church became an INSTITUTION, somewhere in the 3rd century, “the church” began to go awry. We spend so much time and angst pointing out very real, very disturbing problems in our “churches.” But have we examined the concept of the institutional church as manifested in 2015 and compared it to the first century church? Perhaps this is where the ultimate problem lies; the “church” we have always known is not Christ’s church but a very poor facsimile….
Yes, yes, yes, and YES. Exactly. Thank you.
Same on all counts. I’m one reason why y’all do this. I’m grateful.
Bilbo Skaggins wrote:
That would be Polonius, from Hamlet.
Winsomely bangs head on gospel-centered desk…
worth saying again
“Covenant Membership” is really, actually biblical. That’s because the covenant from which membership stems is the New Covenant. 🙂
Membership is an action of the Holy Spirit, not of elders who demand that people sign on the dotted line: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…” 1 Cor 12:13
We are already members before attending any specific church; where we assemble is also an act of God, not of men: “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.” 1 Cor 12:18 Since we are already existing members before attending any given church, we are members of that assembly simply by assembling.
comment not directed at daisy but i have seen this aproach used before.
i think more evil has been introduced into the world by playing off of peoples fears and by saying that ‘it will keep you safe’
in 2002 after a child abduction in the UK some parents had their children microchiped. i will look for the link in a sec.
churches using facial recognition software will not solve the problem because TVC already proved that the leadership knew jordan root, knew his sins and not only knew where he was but had him introduced into home fellowships. this to me clearly says that there are many jordan roots at TVC and other churches but also many that have gone farther into abuse than Jordan.
The problem has been that people dont stand up to it and kick them out of the church. if the apostle paul said to excommunicate an adult man and an adult woman in incest then what church on the planet thinks an adult sinning with a child should be allowed to remain in church?
I hear ya’ oldJohnJ. There’s much to be said for a good UNIX based GUI (graphical user interface), but there are times when it’s still faster to just do an [Esc] ‘k’, bring up the command stack, and goto town with the vi editor from there.
Muff Potter wrote:
Can I recommend a mechanical keyboard? I was lucky enough to be hooked up with one a year ago and you’ll never see me go back now. http://www.corsair.com/en-us/vengeance-k70-fully-mechanical-gaming-keyboard-anodized-black-na-layout
I’m sorry. Since your ‘friend’ perfectly described me; and I know we disagree on a lot of things, can I testify that you haven’t gone to the dark side?
Just this week there were significant developments in facial recognition and privacy rights. Last Monday a group of privacy rights activist walked out in protest over the failure of a Commerce Department process to develop a voluntary code of conduct regarding facial recognition. Like so many things there is little concern until there is a tangible story showing abuse that catches the public attention. As the technology becomes more pervasive abuse seems to me inevitable.
Hopefully someone will eventually produce a story exposing names of organizations that use this technology to track people’s behavior, a clear invasion of privacy that most everyone will find distasteful. When this becomes a big deal most will likely run away from and denounce the use of facial recognition. It would be nice if the church would be clearly on the right side of the story when it comes but unfortunately it looks likely some churches will be on the wrong side.
Thanks to Dee for getting the word out, hopefully it will enable the more clear headed to dispose of this bad idea before it is implemented.
I’m not an expert on the law by any means (and don’t want to be) but from what I can tell, according to the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2008, use of facial recognition without informed consent is a violation of the law. Apparently Texas has similar legislation.
If I’m in error please provide correction, otherwise it would be interesting to know how many have implemented this in violation of law in these two states.
Rhonda Montgomery wrote:
“Casper asked me how I could follow someone who’s not around, and I told him that Jesus is around—he’s everywhere. “I’ve heard that before,” said Casper. “And I’m sure that Pastor Appel would say the exact same thing. So let me be more specific: If Jesus is everywhere, and everyone here is following him, what do you think this enlightened, impassioned, and above all, humble carpenter from Galilee would say about Plexiglas dunking tanks, millionaire pastors, camera cranes, and music coming straight outta Branson? Is this what Jesus had in mind for church?””
Jim Henderson, “Jim and Casper Go to Church,” -page 45-46
Bill M wrote:
Strong possibility that clause shows up in the fine, fine print buried deep in a membership contr–I mean covenant?
So, you know, we can look forward to some more “She signed the covenant, now she don’t want to deal with the consequences!” comments in the future.
I, for one, welcome our new robotic overlords.
“He does not readily admit mistakes because of his insatiable desire for the approval of others. Blunders damage his credibility. “We live in an age,” says J.B. Priestley, “when no man of importance ever admits that he is wrong.””
-Brennan Manning, “The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus”
I think we have all had our pix taken for the “church directory”….I certainly would not have imagined my photo would be used for tracking purposes.
I looked through TVC’s membership control er contract er covenant and didn’t see it but they way these guys can interpret the bible they can likely do amazing stuff interpreting their own documents.
Todd Wilhelm wrote:
“It’s Branson, Missouri. It’s what Las Vegas would be like if it was all run by Ned Flanders.”
— The Simpsons
Tim i am trying to be a rational sane adult who is not paranoid but your post and many others i have been reading on this blog the last few weeks keep making me draw these involuntary connections mentally to the third reich! wow, if i quit rationalizing away all the things that churches are actually doing these days: contracts, not allowing people to leave the church, discipline that you have to obey, facial recognition software, mandatory attendance (minimum of weekly, armed body guards around the pastors and their wives, i would be scared to go to any church. the worst part of all this is that my non-christian friends have been saying they would never step foot in a church and i always inferred that was a bad thing.
hehehehehehehehe yep cleared up perfectly and actually snorked cause i laughed so hard
Muff Potter wrote:
well i am glad you’re happy muff, i have been sitting here for a half hour wondering what my (now passed) grandma in alabama meant each time she said that to me!
very nice post and i hope it doesnt either.
Muff Potter wrote:
Blue has already suggested a replacement – let me suggest another one: http://www.pckeyboard.com/page/category/UltraClassic
They’re as straight out of the seventies and eighties as possible. Including the clackety-clack noise, I have to admit.
Bill M wrote:
google and facebook already use facial rec software to identify photos when posted or images are searched.
does ‘informed consent’ mean that i see a sign at the bank or store that says video surveilance and walk in anyway, thus consenting to the use of facial recognition software? for instance the bank/store is robbed while i am there and the police fbi whoever run the tape to see everyone in the places id?
on the internet its probably ‘informed consent’ if you want to use some web sites and click the ‘i agree to terms of service’ without reading the whole 9,000 page document on privacy policies.
also x-box uses facial recognition software that scans the whole room when someone is watching net-flix. they do this because everyone in the room watching the movie is supposed to be paying. x-box has used fac recog for several years for games and movies etc. that is part of the use agreement when you purchase x-box and also has been widely reported on in tech magazines and news sites whenever people bring up privacy concerns.
also the global player on video that you watch online is set to record anytime the flash player is used. if you are watching a show or playing an online game and right click your mouse over the screen you will see ‘global settings’ on the flashplayer that makes your phone or computer able to play the video. global settings is always by default set to allow the program to use your camera and microphone at will, unless you change the setting to never or by request only. that was news several months ago in the NYtimes and Uk press.
so i brought all that up to say that maybe biotech firms have to get consent but its used already without informed consent so much that it couldnt possibly be required to have consent everywhere else, or we give consent when we sign the 9,000 page ‘agree to terms of service’ agreements.
“All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them, irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them demand blind faith and singlehearted allegiance.
All movements, however different in doctrine and aspiration, draw their early adherents from the same types of humanity; they all appeal to the same types of mind.
Though there are obvious differences between the fanatical Christian, the fanatical Mohammedan, the fanatical nationalist, the fanatical Communist and the fanatical Nazi, it is yet true that the fanaticism which animates them may be viewed and treated as one. The same is true of the force which drives them on to expansion and world dominion. There is a certain uniformity in all types of dedication, of faith, of pursuit of power, of unity and of self-sacrifice. There are vast differences in the contents of holy causes and doctrines, but a certain uniformity in the factors which make them effective. He who, like Pascal, finds precise reasons for the effectiveness of Christian doctrine has also found the reasons for the effectiveness of Communist, Nazi and nationalist doctrine. However different the holy causes people die for, they perhaps die basically for the same thing.
Hoffer, Eric (2011-05-10). The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Perennial Classics) . HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
heres some links to facial recognition software uses and also privacy settings so you arent giving permission to websites to use your camera and microphone (the default settings are preset to allow their use unless you say no)
the first time i noticed facebook using facial recognition software was when i posted a pic of a family member and facebook popped their name right in there before i even had a chance to finish posting!
Google has a feature now on google search where you can ‘image search’ post a pic of someone on google search check image or photo and it will match it with other images of the same person online if there are any.
flashplayer global settings (allowing every website you go to to use your camera and microphone at will)
facebook tracking your locations
facebook using face recog not allowed in uk
this is a pbs newshour video, they did a couple, explaining how police are using facial recognition software with cameras that are in public places, (to keep us safe)
“Edward Snowden for president 2016, the only man to truly lay down his life for his fellow citizens in a hundred years” lol
Bill M wrote:
Better read the fine print on that membership contract – it probabably gives consent for facial recognition 😉
(Whoops – GovPappy beat me to it.)
Steve Scott wrote:
Of course, this is exactly right. But this paradigm, which is the biblical one, takes the control away from the local church leaders. They no longer control who is or who is not a member, that’s left up to the Lord. That would makes hem merely a fellow sheep following the one True Shepherd, no better or worse than the laity. They will never go for this absent true repentance.
You scratch someone a little, you find out what’s really underneath. The veneer was apparently just a thin layer of hypocrisy. This reminds me of the stories of many of the Christians who join cultic churches, plug into the care groups or life groups or small groups, or c-groups or whatever they like to call them, make some inconsequential-seeming objection to something a leader said or did or some pet doctrine of the church and then discover, upon being disciplined, shunned, excommunicated and slandered that they never had a friend there at all.
16 hours ago on FB, Leadership Journal posted a link to another of its articles (from about 10 days ago). Entitled “A Beautiful Calling”, it features vague jabs at critics and watchbloggers, while claiming to affirm its commitment to “publishing content that reflects both beauty and orthodoxy”. And yet they also defend an utterly unorthodox and unscriptural practice, i.e. “covenant membership”. I wonder whether they’ve considered that without this kind of hypocrisy, critics wouldn’t be nearly so active and outraged.
Here’s the article, for those who are curious: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2015/june-web-exclusives/beautiful-calling.html?share=9gN2sgy1dlBV+JCGoAAL999XeDvsdnUN
Rhonda Montgomery wrote:
I wholeheartedly agree
@ Serving Kids In Japan:
I did not see it as so vague. They are doing what has always been done; drawing the battle lines. They use these sorts of words to desribe those discussing the church’s problems: uncivil, mudslinging, attacking, blistering critiques, etc.
Did it occur to them that as the sort of Journal they cast themselves to be, they ignored Driscoll’s problems for a long long time? That is just one.
They are doing exactly what all of them do. They want to be the arbiters of HOW people are allowed to discuss church scandals, mistreatment, evil, etc. They get to define.
The Leadership Journal/Christianity Today makes money from the church culture so it is natural they defend the celebrity church culture as that is a big source of revenue for them. They are part of the problem.
Law Prof wrote:
I do not doubt that this is a painful experience, but it is better than getting sucked in deeper and loosing contact with (biblical) reality in the process.
@ Serving Kids In Japan:
Tim Aagard wrote an excellent last comment in the combox under that post.
There’s a company in my city that’s been doing it since 1976.
There’s one thing that needs to be said about mainline denominations – they have structures of authority and accountability.
There is – usually at least SOME – oversight from the denominational head office, at least once too many members complain or once a pastor’s egregious behaviour becomes common knowledge and too difficult to ignore.
Pastors can be disciplined by the denomination if they go wrong. Members have recourse to the denomination in such cases.
It’s easy to see why Driscoll, for instance, hated denominations (http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.co.at/2014/05/mark-driscoll-in-2004-1-timothy-61-10.html). There would be people above him to whom he was – at least in theory – accountable. As for bylaws, he wouldn’t be able to just make them up or change them as he pleased and as was convenient to him – they would be determined by the denomination’s bylaws. Ironically, he was about to start his own denomination with multiple campuses and church plants all over the place (just like CJ, I may say). But that was different – he set the rules and everyone was accountable to him.
That’s the problem with Baptists – they dislike structures. The can’t even be bothered to set up a database of pastors who molest children, because that would be infringing on the local churches’ liberty to hire whom they like.
“Ecclesiastical bureaucracies” – that doesn’t sound so good in the ears of the average churchgoer. Considering the huge number of pastors – pastor for this and that, including pastor for real estate acquisition, a real spriritual gift (pardon the abominable pun) according to one of the usual suspects – and assistants at some of those megachurches and the proliferation of mushrooming orgs like 9marx and their strangely bloated teams (http://9marks.org/about/our-team/), maybe a little bit of ecclesiastical bureaucracy doesn’t look so bad, if you want organised religion at all.
If ever. Some walk away, never to return, so there is no undoing of the brainwashing, no renewing of the mind, no replacing of the false, man-created doctrine with truth.
Oh, that was going on long before Driscoll, with the likes of Doug Wilson and Steve Wilkins and their ilk.
And R.C. Sproul, Jr. Let us not forget his beer chronicles, I think they might have been called? I still remember the photo of him with a massive collection of spirits (not the holy kind).
Poor man. With alcoholics in my family line, I pity him. May be misplaced pity. But I do.
I tried that. In the denomination the equivalent of the bishop told us to handle it ourselves even though the pastor was recognized as the sole elder. Yup a single 30 year old elder, makes a lot of sense.
I went to one of the other “elders” in the denom, this guy in his 60s, and he later called the 30 year old and told him that he would NOT be looking over his shoulder.
So my experience is denominational structure doesn’t necessarily help at all, if anything the opposite. The denominational structure gave the pastor the appearance of power and authority but provided few limitations and practically no oversight.
You would think that if you just stuck, assigned, a thirty year old into a church, and within a year or two half the congregation left, that you would exercise some oversight. You would and I would, but they didn’t. So much for denominations, more like a boys club.
Rhonda Montgomery wrote:
It didn’t take that long, a letter from Clement of Rome, roughly 90AD
“it behooves us to do all things in [their proper] order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times. … For his own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen.”
At least Clement had the excuse he didn’t have the new testament.
Oh yes, Aagard totally nails it. They coddle the systems that are the problem.
Law Prof wrote:
Like in the preface to Screwtape Letters:
“Over all this their good manners, their expressions of grave respect, their tributes to one another’s invaluable services form a thin crust. Every now and then it gets punctured, and the scalding lava of their hatred spurts out.”
@ Bill M:
My friends in the PCA tell me it can be even worse as you are expected to take things up the chain which can take ages and are often made up of those who want to protect the institution not the individual. So much for “oversight” and accountability.
“EINS VOLK, EINS REICH, EINS FUEHRER!
EINS VOLK, EINS KIRCHE, EINS PAS-TOR!”
It might be in the fine print when you have photographs done for the church directory.
Sam, I go to a church that is nothing like those uber-controlling ones. I take it from what the Deebs say that their present church experience is the same. We need to celebrate the great churches that are in our communities. I run quotes from things I’ve heard from the pulpit at church because they are wonderfully encouraging and insightful.
As for the bank routing (and account) numbers, that’s already being done in Grinning Ed Young’s Dallas mega.
“And if you’re holding out, OUR SECURITY CAMERAS WILL KNOW WHO YOU ARE.”
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
What a great word, too bad there isn’t an english equivalent. As I understand it Kirche translates roughly to church but due to usage and association it has taken on a large derogatory aspect of female subservience, what one called the equivalent of “barefoot and pregnant”. It seems to be an apt word as it captures the essence of how some leaders view the kirche, er church.
My Dear Wormwood,
I refer you to my previous epistle on Semantics; specifically, the redefintion of the Enemy’s words into their “diabolic meanings.”
Your Ravenously Affectionate Uncle,
P.S. That is the entire point of the exercise, My Dear Wormwood.
“We are told by the Commissar that we have Volunteered, Comrade.”
Penis homes gotta keep up those supermodel figures for their Real Man Husbands.
And Pastor’s Penis Home has to keep up that HAWT bod so Alpha Male Pastor can parade what he’s got (and they can’t have) before all those Beta’s to Omegas.
Doesn’t the AUTHOR normally sign copies of his work?
(At least that’s the way it works at autograph tables at SF, comic, and Bronycons. But then we’re all Heathens….)
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
I once read a church bulletin announcement describing an action the congregational governing body would take at its next meeting. The next sentence read, “Volunteers will be conscripted after the meeting.” The author intended that to be humorous, but some actions taken in modern-day churches are anything but humorous.
Sam, I’ve been attending a Catholic church (yes, Romish Popery) for over 20 years and have NEVER seen anything like this kind of control freaking. These days, The Reformation(TM) has come full circle; the air’s a LOT freer on the other bank of the Tiber.
Bill M wrote:
As a native speaker of German, let me correct your information. “Kirche” in German has no derogatory connotations, it’s used exactly as in English, with one difference, maybe: it’s more often also used for denominations, like in English, the RC Church, or the UM Church.
Only the saying “Kinder, Küche, Kirche” (translated: “Children, kitchen church”) for “women’s business” or “women’s conversation topics” has a derogatory meaning – the women’s sphere being all those things that are or no great consequence (household work and religion), as opposed to work, sports and politics, the important topics that men talk about. (I’m not making that up!)
It’s also slightly dated, because in German-speaking countries church is no longer as important as it used to be, and not every woman (or not even a majority) would go to church.
Hint for HUG:
“eins” is only used when you count – one, two, three. As soon as it is followed by a noun, the indefinite article (“ein”, “eine”) is used. “Ein Volk” but “eine Kirche”, depending on the gender of the noun. “male” and “neuter” nouns use “ein”, “female” nouns use “eine”. What makes German really difficult for foreign learners is that not all nouns denoting female persons are female in their grammatical gender, and the same is true for males. Also, things can be male, female, or neuter. Hence “ein Mädchen” for “a girl”, but “eine Tür” for “a door”. So you say “it” instead of “she” for a girl, but “she” instead of “it” for a door.
I hope, this didn’t come across as too pedantic!
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
I think you are right. The so, so many evangelical Protestants are either brainwashed or they are afraid of their churches. Literally afraid. And it shouldn’t be that way.
As a native english speaker who struggled with German let me say that grammatical gender can be a nuisance, but at least it can be memorized when the vocabulary word is memorized and it is not really an impossibility. The thing that makes German a nightmare to me is the length of sentences, with some sentences running on as long as our paragraphs, and in the midst of that what they call ‘separable verbs’ if I remember correctly with one part of the verb at one place in the sentence and another part in another part of the sentence. I had to draw pictures of sentences to try to make any sense out of them, and I kid you not. And I really did give it my best shot and was motivated and failed miserably. Again let me say I admire your command of English. Way to go.
That is useful, so it appears the German word Kirche is just derogatory in English. That may be because some influential English speakers associated the word with the worse aspects of German history. Still I would hold that the apparent English connotations of the word fit the twisted view of the church held by some leaders.
I’m third generation German and the native language is long gone from the family, the best I can do is quote Sgt Schults from Hogans Heroes. “I know nothing” which I often do
@ Law Prof Sun Jun 21, 2015 at 08:47 AM
Thank you for your concern and comments.
Another thing, too, that I forgot to mention is that this friend who turned on me out of no where for questioning some of my former beliefs:
She ditched the Christian faith for a couple of years herself. She declared herself an atheist, and spent the next two2 or so years, saying very hateful, or vulgar-filled rants, against Jesus and God. (She later said she accepted God again.)
During that 2, or whatever year, time frame, I was nothing but supportive of her. I did not chew her out, did not scold her, or insult her. I just listened and gave empathy. (This was all before my own crisis of faith kicked in later.).
I also supported her in her other problems in life, over job and family issues, etc, was very kind to her.
She treated me far differently than how I treated her when she had a faith crisis or other problems.
I have not been even a fraction as hateful, obscene, or polemic about my problems or doubts with Christianity or God as she was during her time as an atheist. The double standard she had going on with all that blew my mind.
@ Serving Kids In Japan:
The last paragraph of the page you linked: Ugh.
And that last paragraph gets into that ‘bride of Christ’ cliche’, which most ardent church-defenders trot out to suggest people cannot or should not ever criticize Christ’s bride. Double barf.
Regarding the author’s subheading on the page:
“In a time when it’s popular to critique the church and condemn its leaders…”
May I suggest that if critiquing the church or its leaders (and should churches really have leaders? I thought church members were all equal under the one true leader, Christ?) has become “popular” it’s because the church today has gotten really abusive?
I don’t think church critiquing has become popular in the vein of hula hoops, mood rings, or pet rock fads.
Jesus did warn in the book of Revelation, and I think Peter wrote in one of the New Testament books, that as the church age winds down, the love of many will grow cold, Christians will be attracted to false teachings, and so on.
The Bible predicted that there were going to be major problems in the church as years go by, and Paul told Christians to call it out.
The guy who wrote that page says:
So, where Paul tells believers to call out false teachers or to separate from false believers, this guy would refer to Paul’s teaching as “mudslingers”?
Serving Kids In Japan wrote:
“Leadership Journal”. Speaking of words and their meaning “Leadership” has taken on much negative connotation to many and for good reason. This word has been so badly used and abused that I wouldn’t recommend salvaging it but use servant instead.
Rhonda Montgomery wrote:
Bill M wrote:
In this same line of thinking about what the early church looked like we not too long ago were discussing that Paul’s discussion of what was going on the in the church at Corinth appears to be consistent with a different sort of church structure from what he was telling Timothy later about appointing elders. The issue discussed what whether Paul developed some thinking in his later ministry somewhat different from what he discussed in his earlier ministry or whether there may be something to the minority opinion that Paul did not write the pastoral epistles. Either way, Paul or somebody else, there is evidence even before St. Clement of Rome that there was an organizational structure of some sort in the church. That would be evidence in the NT itself.
If there is all this evidence of some sort of organizational structure in the early church from the get go, that is to say from the period in which the bible was written, and there is specific evidence of this in the bible, why would we then say that this is going awry? Was Timothy going awry to appoint elders, for example? Was St. Clement of Rome out of line in the first Epistle to the Corinthians to tell the church at Corinth that they had done a bad thing in the way they treated the elders?
More than that, if we ‘go back to how they did it in the early church’ just exactly how would that be; the charismatics of Corinth or the elders that Timothy appointed?
Then Brother Sproul must have bottles of “Calvinus” brand beer in his collection (I kid you not – Google it).
Nancy, the more I went down this road the more amusing it started to become to me. Frankly, Jesus left us NO official structure. He was all about relationships and of course, dissing the religious leaders of his own tribe. About the only thing he digs on the Romans about was to teach his followers “not to lord it over one another like the Gentiles do”. That sort of thing.
I see Paul just about frantic in trying to bring some structure/organization to this whole new thing that is so different from any pagan religion or Judaism in form and structure. I cannot even imagine how chaotic it all was.
There is a lot of freedom in not having an official structure. But instead of taking the route of growing in wisdom and maturity, we tend to go the other direction. Someone has to be in charge of the adults, you know.
What do I propose? Absolutely nothing. Go with Christ and fellowship based upon Him. That is about it anymore. :o)
Did you read his online book, Ligoneir Tales? Daddy made him take it down during the Ligoneir financial scandal and after his defrocking.
Agree….we found a new church a couple of years, and it’s a joyful, non – busy body group of worshippers, so wonderfully refreshing, and American Baptist to boot!( preaching is on the money too ) It’s not a big congregation, maybe 180 people if everyone shows up.
There are still good churches out there!
I need to separate out the discussion of organization and the notion of laity suggested in Clement’s letter to Corinth. In the 38th chapter Clement advises no one to exalt themselves above another but then two chapters later divides believers into laity and priests. I may misunderstand Clement’s letter, and with your comment I will study it further, but for now I’m all for organization but I’m put off with those who exalt themselves over others as priest, clergy, pastor, what ever name they want to call it.
Random observation: is the name “Churchix” meant to parsed as “Church IX,” indicating a link with 9Marks?
@ Bill M:
I would agree with you except we do have episkipos, presbuteros and doulos in scripture. I am thinking that the existence of differentiations of functions is one thing whereas the idea that one function is better than another is something else.
I am also thinking that the idea that there were no differentiations of function at Corinth during Paul’s time may be incorrect. He did not mention it but St. Clement did, so at some time really early on some structure started. The whole idea that Paul changed his mind about church structure seems to me to be conjecture based on a lack of evidence, assuming that if they had been he would have said so. Perhaps he did not mention any structure because that was not what he was talking about in Corinth, or perhaps he had not appointed anybody yet for whatever reason. I am just uneasy with the whole idea of a change of direction in the apostle’s thinking. Not saying it is not possible. I would just like to see the idea tied up a little tighter than it is.
We don’t know whether he did or not. We do know that if he did we do not have a written record of it. In the absence of some specific statement on the subject the closest hint we have about his thinking is that he passed on some authority?? or responsibility??? to Peter. We also do not know what he taught the disciples in the interim between the resurrection and the ascension.
Here again, I am uncomfortable with making assumptions in the absence of hard evidence. That is why this is not a hill to die on for me.
IMO Paul is misread on this topic and others because it is *assumed* that he is prescribing the way an organization should be organized, and we read into that our conceptions of what an organization should look like. I think that in many of the areas where he seems to contradict himself, it is only because he is giving pastoral direction according to the particular circumstances he was addressing rather than making universal dogmatic prescription.
If we start with the historical context into which he was speaking and without assuming he was writing chapters in a systematic theology or book of church order, he makes much more sense. And I think that the false presumption is made by *both* liberals and conservatives for some reason I do not understand. The false presumption leads liberals and conservatives to opposite conclusions, but it is still the same foundational error, IMO.
XD. “Winsome subliminal suggestions.”
I’m probably going off track again with topic of the post but thanks Gram, this seems to me the most sensible way to approach it. To me there doesn’t appear to be a nice neat and clean outline of church function but a rather messy one. I think it was Lydia who likened it to making sausage.
Bill M wrote:
I think you are totally on-topic, because this post is responding to a church leader who promotes a conception of the church which assumes a Western corporate organizational structure. I think that the NT church is modeled on a family where we are all children of one Father, the only kind of patriarchy that is God-ordained. And families are messy and different nuclear families within the same extended family have different issues that need to be addressed. But none of the kids has been put “in authority over” any of the other kids by the Father.
Bill, I will join you off topic but not really concerning functions with the Body of Christ being messy.
I was reading through Acts recently and it struck me what an unsung hero Barnabas is and how insight into how the Body of Christ functions. Here is a guy who gave Paul the benefit of the doubt when others were scared of him. A guy that later sought Paul out in Tarsus and took him to Antioch to help. Then when Paul did not want to take John Mark on another trip with them, Barnabas took him instead giving him another chance.
Barnabas was functioning pastorally as part of the Body of Christ.
oops, sorry Gram. I hit the wrong response button.
If that is so, then that lands one smack into the lap of hierarchical gender based patriarchy based on the family structure of that time period and culture. That would not only be in the authority of the father over the whole scene but also the rights of the firstborn male, and the differential inheritance rights of male and female children and even arranged marriages. I surely hope that is not what the NT had in mind, but if one must understand the NT in the light of the existing culture at the time, and if the idea of family is the model–I sure hope that is not the case. It would, however, explain some of the difficulty with the submission passages.
A passage near and dear to my heart concerning “family” is this one by Jesus in Matthew 12:
46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Seems like Jesus was acknowledging that “family” was going to look very different when it comes to believers.
I hope so!
I would say that the human institution of patriarchy is a human institution and one way that families *might* be organized. When it comes to the New Covenant, then I think that human institutional structures are irrelevant within the New Covenant family of God. I do *not* think that God models his family on human patriarchy or human egalitarian thinking or any other human cultural idea. On the contrary, I think that Paul and Jesus went to great pains to teach that our New Covenant family does *not* operate either by tribal rules, whether Jew or Gentile, or by imperial rules. Both of those human ways of organizing the church do not lead wnywhere good.
Another thing to keep in mind when looking at the OT narratives is to consider whether the material is descriptive or prescriptive. Or whether God is recognizing the realities on the ground at the time and ordering things differently. That does not remove all difficulties, obviously. With respect to inheritance, we also have to consider the possible typological implications. We are fellow-heirs with the Only Begotten Son because we are identified with him.
Left out that God does not organize his family by Western individualism ideas either. His family is unique, IMO, and puts us on the road to the New Creation. Which is why this whole YRR Complementarian legalistic System is so wrongheaded. It enshrines the sinful relationships resulting from the Fall as being God’s intention from Creation before the Fall. It is bad Systematics, and it is even worse Biblical theology.
And that is precisely why the Complementarians/Authoritarians must resort to the proof-texting and re-imagination of the actual narratives to make their System work with the appearance of Biblical support. That is why it is so brittle. And why they are so brittle. IMO.
The original Family of God was the Man and the Woman over whom the Father spoke his blessing. In human patriarchal cultures, blessing the daughter in the same way that one blesses the son would be unthinkable. But that is how God actually did it and what the actual text records. That, of course, is not the Complementarian/Patriarchal view. I guess they want to bow to the cultural influences of the sinful patriarchal and hierarchical cultures. I guess they have abandoned the authority of God’s word recorded in Genesis 1:26-28.
Who knew that the Comps/Patriarchs are the real liberals?
I don’t know how the OT got into the conversation, but as to the issues of prescriptive and descriptive why settle for only the option of either/or when a thing could be both. Why say that something that might be said to apply to some local situation would not apply either elsewhere or even universally. If the cure for foot fungus is good when told to a patient in South Dakota why assume that the same cure would (or would not) be effective in Alabama? I don’t really see why saying that something had a local application would mean that it did or did not have a general application.
Maybe that is what he meant, but there has been the understanding that this was a reprimand to both his mother and his brothers. This understanding of that is based on the statement that the brothers did not believe in him, apparently until after the resurrection; and also based on the reason that his mother and brothers had come there based on the rumor that he had gone mad. If it was in the order of a reprimand then he was saying that his disciples were doing what families ought to do-believing in each other- while Mary and the boys were not.
There is one more explanation which, when used with the issue of the woman who said blessed by the breasts you sucked and the womb that bore you he replied in much the same manner regarding doing the will of God. If you put both stories together, and if you say that Mary had not done anything to deserve reprimand, then he would have been saying, in saying the whoever does the will of the father. that just like his biological mother/family did the will of the father even so his disciples were doing the will of the father and it was this doing the will of the father that constituted familial bonds.
This explanation sounds nice, but it seems a bit more needs explained since we know that his brothers did not believe in him.
I think that a particular teaching might be prescriptive and universal and it might be pastoral for a particular church or even person. The context should give us a clue as well as the author’s other writings and the entire canon. I don’t think Paul disagreed with Jesus, and I don’t think he was either a person who could not reason or who did not know the OT which was the only Bible they had.
In general, I think that principles are universal while applications of those principles may be quite different. And that is why, IMO, we get the Complementarians making Paul into someone who cannot reason and who does not know Genesis in their interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11-15. Among others. They do not have a discernibly conservative interpretive method. It is totally ad hoc which is why they cannot defend it while being consistent.
It is also why we get hard cessationists who reason from the correction given to the Corinthians. Or Keepers of the Keys who do not understand what Jesus was getting at in that particular context including his audience. And I think that gets us back on-topic. 🙂
I think I brought it in to explain why I do not believe that God was ordering the church along patriarchal lines such as what we see in the OT narratives and other places in the OT. The Comps/Patriarchs/Authoritarians build much of their case on what I consider a misuse of the OT narratives which I take to be mostly descriptive, though they obviously do also contain prescriptive portions within those narratives.
They pick and choose what they want. I was just reading in Matthew and in two different circumstances Jesus says to the pharisees “And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” Given the recent topics here I couldn’t help but identify “condemn the innocent” with the treatment of Karen.
Your mention of the OT brought to mind one of the passages from the Torah Jesus was referring to, one in Micah:
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
It is pretty hard to get to abusive control of people if you use such passages as your starting point. Some of the modern day Pharisees should take a hard look at themselves.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Heh, does that mean all sermons on sin are a form of negging? ^_^
I think the Pharisee comparison works for another reason. At least some of the Pharisees, I believe, were motivated to be faithful to the OT Scriptures they had been given. But the problem is that their fear of being unfaithful to God’s commands resulted in an accretion of human teachings over the actual instructions from God. The thing is, if someone is so motivated by fear and focused on avoiding disobedience, it is very easy to slip into thinking that these “protections” are good things in themselves. Then, the person considered most holy or sanctified is not the one who most resembles God/Christ or walks feebly by faith, but rather the one who most scrupulously follows the system erected to protect God’s honor/laws.
Nicodemus was an example of the good Pharisees who truly knew the Scriptures backward and forward *and* wanted to know God and be in relationship to him. That, I believe, is why Nicodemus sought Jesus out. He saw God and was not blinded to that by the system of human understandings of what Messiah should look like or how Messiah’s people should look and think and behave.
I think there are both types of Pharisees in the YRR movement. There are some who have been and will be like Nicodemus and see that the system which they thought was a good thing which would bring God’s favor actually comes between them and a real relationship with God. There are others who will ultimately value the system which they suppose represents God’s thoughts, and the system will become more important than a simple walk of faith before the Lord. Those have come to mistake their system and the Great Men of the system for God himself. IMO.
The interesting question for me is which among the YRR will be a Nicodemus?
And Nicodemus had a lot of unlearning to do. That has happened with many of us who have unlearned what we thought was in the Bible and what pleased God. Obviously, Nicodemus was very confused at first, but he acted on what I believe he saw in Christ. Paul is another example of someone who got it totally wrong by being “conservative.” I pray that there will be a Nicodemus and a Paul for this generation. Soon.
In a similar fashion there are things I learned in the Bible that I later learned in earnest. The big problem with the Pharisees was their pride, and I was taught pride was bad. It was only till after I had close experience with the carnage created by someone’s pride that I understood why God hates it so much.
I have heard that taught (Not so much including Mary) and it might be correct. However it is an arguement from silence as that is not mentioned but has to be inferred. Anyway, it gives me comfort and I hope comfort to those who have abusive biological family’s.
I am considered by many to be something of a Luddite, because I refuse to microchip my cats…..But I keep thinking, if people wi;ll advocate for this, how long before they decide to microchip US? (I keep the cats in the house instead. It works well, & I need not fear the weans being use to watch me….and therre are several grocery stores where I pay the full shot instead of accept the offer for a "free regular shopper card" in exchange for them tracking every move I make. No thank you, I prefer my privacy. Odd, but there it is).
wow i bet your on to something! mark driscoll made all his stuff re- re-train, re-boot, re-swindle, etc. they get stuck on stuff like that and i bet it is tied somehow to 9marks.
i saved your whole mini thread because i think you got it exactly and i am posting again this part because i think that is the whole root problem. before the fall and after the fall. culture is based on patriarchy in almost every country, well all countries that i know of.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” Galatians 3:13 Women for some reason, seem to be able to be set free from the effects of the curse more easily then men but the men that stay under the law make it really difficult for them and also themselves to walk in the freedom that Jesus purchased for us all. thanks for sharing your insight on these things.
i think preferring your privacy is a great thing these days! i didnt find the links i was looking for because i have been following the Charleston 9 who were martyred but i did find a few that were talking about how people wanted to in 2002. they ended up not going ahead with it then but later in 2012 i had read that some children were chipped. anyway here is the buildup to the whole thing and as i said before, it was fear based and i think thats how alot of people get into doing things they shouldnt. i also saw some other articles that suggested it would be good to be able to chip child predators. there are very few people, in my opinion, that would want something like chipping people unless it was presented as a good thing and helpful and keep us safe etc. the same goes for surveillance of people with cameras or government wire tapping etc. america never allowed any of that until we were attacked by enemies on our own soil, then americans thought that it would be great if our government didnt need to have to go through all the red tape to get a warrant and that is how we got where we are today, even though the actual results show that not very many attacks have been prevented because of our allowing government surveillance. most have been prevented the good old fashion way, someone heard someone planning and called the cops. http://www.theguardian.com/education/2002/sep/04/schools.uk http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/europe/09/03/uk.implant/index.html?_s=PM:WORLD
“And, as you will see, even Menikoff admits all but one occurred “prior to membership”.”
To be fair, he was making the case for church membership, not church discipline, so these examples all make sense.
“Assuming Case 5 unnamed husband was not abusing her, I have no problem with this decision.”
I agree with church discipline for unrepentant adultery or abandonment.
These statements leave me very concerned:
“The wife felt neglected and unfulfilled.”
“The Bible was clear that she must not abandon her family.”
“I wanted to be able to look her kids in the eye and let them know I did everything I could to fight for their parents’ marriage.”
There is a lot of focus on helping the marriage, but I don’t see a statement saying they were trying to help HER. Yes, people should not abandon marriages. Yes, it’s sinful to do so (absent abuse, etc). But you are never going to heal a marriage if you make people feel that the marriage contract is more important than they are as human beings.
Anyway, this is not a great example without more information. I suppose if I trusted the church to deal well with abusive neglect, I could take it at face value, but I don’t.
Oh, and about case 1, that one boggles my mind, actually. That this guy would decide in a couple of days to marry his live-in unbelieving girlfriend, and *this* was the council of the church? Seems it turned out well, but the church should not be about fixing people’s problems with quick solutions before letting them in the door. I believe living together unmarried is unhealthy, but I would not say the first solution is to “make it official” until I had some idea of why they hadn’t gotten married, what was holding them back, what their thoughts about the commitment were, etc.
Marriage is a BIG DEAL. You don’t just enter it to “make it right” so you can sign a church membership contract . . .
Ah well, gender roles can hurt men too. Yes, if your wife is behaving sinfully, it is the responsibility of the husband in comp circles. I know this too well.
I was told my marriage would not fail if I learned to love my ex-wife with “agape” love (and whatever I’d been doing to that point was NOT “agape” love, because if it had been, it wouldn’t have failed).
Yes, women get all the time that they can “submit” to their man to make him change. But I can testify that men get the same treatment with “if you were a better leader”.
Very creative idea, but as far as I can determine, 9Marks has no association with Churchix, which was developed by Face-Six
Let's hope this doesn't become their tool for keeping sheep from wandering off. 😉
Jeff S wrote:
I agree with your comments. Since absolutely everything is framed as Leader/Follower, then every problem within the marriage must be addressed by more or better “leadership” and/or more or better “followership.” Which again puts the sole emphasis on performing one’s assigned role better, as if an important marriage is like a play with the actors following their scripts religiously. It also sets up an accusatory or transactional relationship where “I did this so you need to do that” or “You are not doing your role so I don’t need to do my role.”
What is lacking is the emphasis which the actual texts, read in context, actually say about all kinds of relationships, including our relationship with God. We are to be conforming ourselves to the image of Christ. Following his pattern in every way. Not in the blue way or the pink way. All of us in every way. And neither of us gets to pick how we want to be like Christ or how others need to be like Christ. In Comp/Patriarch circles the male is Christ as the Ruler while the female is Christ as the Servant, regardless of their chatter about “servant-leadership.” I think that no human should be imitating Christ as King but all of us should be imitating Christ as Servant.
Well, Gram3, this could play into the “two shall become one” scenario quite well. The servant is the wife and the leader is the husband. When they become one in marriage you now have a “servant-leader.” See how that works out for the comps? 😉 (snark off now)
Jeff S wrote:
I agree. They can harm everyone in the family.
Jeff S wrote:
I remember you sharing this in the past. How painful and sad for you to be told this. They don’t seem to realize that you can only support someone else’s journey to change, you can’t make the journey for them.
Thanks, yes it was painful. But pain can alert us to things we need to flee, fortunately 🙂
As for supporting someone else’s journey to change, that was also problematic, as the things I was doing to support her they thought were bad too . . .
“The Calvinesta Is My Shrpherd, I shall not Disagree?”
Those that let these calvenesta buzz@rds get a hold of their marriages certainly are need our prayers.
Parish the thought.
@ Jeff S:
Sounds like there was no pleasing those leaders. The Bible isn’t a “how to fix whatever manual” if we only apply it properly.
I’m wondering how well your former church leaders new your ex and how involved they were with helping her? Or, were they mainly telling you . . .
Yes, that’s a nice one. Where in English you can say “because I have not met him yet”, German asks for the part of the verb denoting person (1st, second, third) and number (singular and plural) of a verb to be the last word in a dependent clause, leading us to “weil ich ihn noch nicht gesehen habe” (because I him not yet seen have).
Compliments on your perseverance – I do think that German is a lot more difficult for foreign learners than English, but it is a lot easier than Hungarian, which really is nightmarish – not that I speak it: I tried to learn it once, some older members of my family spoke it as their second native language, but I gave up soon. It didn’t help that there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to practice the language, with the Iron Curtain and everything.
I thought this was a joke! Its not and there’s more
But should the church simply allow this individual to resign into thin air?
WHY YOU CAN’T LET PEOPLE RESIGN INTO THIN AIR
I think the biblical answer is a resounding “No.” Here’s why: When your church made that person a member, you were declaring to the world that this person belongs to the kingdom of Jesus (Mt. 16:18-19). By regarding this person as a member, your church affirmed that he is indeed a “brother” in Christ (1 Cor. 5:11-13).
So what’s the problem? Hebrews 10:24-25 commands us not to forsake assembling together. Therefore, any professing Christian who quits going to church is living in habitual, unrepentant sin.
excerpt: A quick way to get a handle on this is to consider church discipline. If someone tries to resign mid-process in order to “escape discipline,” should the church just let them go? Of course not. That would defeat the whole point of church discipline. Instead, the church must retain the right to refuse someone’s resignation and send them out another way—through excommunication.
apart from death, the only two ways to leave a church’s membership are being dismissed as a brother or sister in good standing and being excommunicated. If a church does accept a resignation from someone who’s disappearing into thin air, that church is telling the world that Christians are free to drop out of church with no consequences and no questions asked.
Of course a church can’t coerce people to stay. That’s not what I’m saying here. What I am saying is that the church has the responsibility to oversee the lives of its members as long as they are under its watch—which includes their trip out the back door.
The upshot of all this is that a church should not accept a member’s resignation who is not doing what Christians do—in this case, regularly assemble with a church.”
i have never heard anyone this insane folks
i tweeted him that he was either insane or a communist. i shoulda prob never gotten a twitter account but dang.
You have a way with words Sopy! Praying for you my friend.
They didn’t know her very well (it’s hard to since she wasn’t ever at church). Their idea of how to help her was to have the elder women of the church “come along side her” and teach her how to be a better wife. Which made me all kinds of uncomfortable like I was a misogynistic patriarch bringing in the calvery to “train her”.
After the third time she went to a recovery institution, I committed to divorce and said that she was unwelcome back in the home. One of the elders at the church showed an interest in letting her come stay with them. I met with them to help them understand a little more about her, and instead they used the meeting to rebuke me. Finally, they decided that it would be “enabling me” for them to provide her a place to stay. (Actually, they probably made the right decision, but for terrible reasons).
They also put her through Nouthetic counseling, which is how I found out about it. I remember seeing one of her worksheets when I was dropping of my son at her place. On it it said “I give up my right to . . .” and had a number of things that she was supposed to give up her entitled happiness to. Including “to be loved”.
Incidentally, my (secular) therapist didn’t see much wrong with the Nouthetic approach in her case. In his opinion, she needed to take ownership of her choices and behavior. Which I guess is fine, but “I give up my right to be loved” is pretty darn harsh if you ask me.
Obviously you never heard Mr. Jamieson’s former boss Jonathan Leeman.
There was a lively discussion in the comments when this article first came out. After Eagle pointed out that CJ Mahaney had slipped out the back of Covenent Life Church and hid out at Capitol Hill Baptist, Mr Leeman stepped in, deleted lots of comments, and published a couple of his own articles on “membership”.
BTW– notice how Mr Menikoff has yet to reply to several thoughtful comments on his recent article?
Todd Wilhelm wrote:
And Leeman’s current boss Mark Dever behind it all.
@ Todd Wilhelm
Thank You, Todd. 🙂
“Lord, grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,
by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Jesus.”. – ACTS 4:29-30
@ Dave A A:
I’m assuming those comments were questioning the consistency of the whole Mahaney-hiding-behind-Dever’s-skirt thing in view of their doctrine of church discipline which they apply to the pewpeons but not to themselves. Were there a lot of such comments that Leeman (presumably) deleted on that article?
quoting Jamieson of 9Marks:
This is a typically Olympic-sized logical leap that the authoritarians make. I would like to see the argument plainly stated along with generous helpings of thee way that they interpret this verse as a universal command to assemble together on Sunday morning. I’m guessing that there would be a problem doing both of these things, though one would expect a Ph.D./PhD student to be able to do that.
The fact is that Covenant Church Discipline, Covenant Church Membership and Covenant Authority Structures are the distinctives of 9Marks/Acts29. The obsessive focus on these distinctives has led them way down the path to WhatInTheWorld and TotallyLostThePlot.
again quoting Jamieson:
“Being Dismissed” sounds like something one does to one’s servants/slaves rather than something one does toward one’s brothers and sisters who are equal per Galatians 3:28. And I do know that they interpret Galatians 3:28 as only pertaining to salvation, though I also think they would have a hard time using a consistent method to yield that result.
@ Dave A A:
If you ever find one of the authoritarians/patriarchs actually responding thoughtfully and well to a thoughtful and reasonable comment, please let us know. That certainly will be news to a number of people. The fact is that communication is not communication between peers but rather direction from those up the chain of command to the peons beneath their feet. Kings do not respond to peons, regardless of whether the peons have good points.
@ Dave A A:
Is it just me, or does anyone else think it is odd that men who claim to be leaders and teachers of the Bible are so unwilling to engage with questions? If their system is so airtight and infallible, wouldn’t they eagerly embrace the opportunity to teach from the Bible rather than merely to dictate dogma or parrot what their teachers have taught them? Do they resent questions because they are not particularly adept at formulating reasonable questions? I really do not get this if they really do believe that they are to teach the Word.
“Practicing The Billy Graham Rule, Perhaps?”
“I will never meet, eat, or travel with a woman alone. – Dr. Billy Graham
Excellent comment Gus. Long ago I had a German prof. who taught us how to ‘think’ in German and avoid the internal ‘americanese’ translation phase as much as possible.
I never understood that verse to be a “command.”
I asked above, how do churches arrive at the conclusion that all Christians must meet once per week?
I may be mistaken, but I don’t think there is a NT passages that says how often Christians are to meet together a certain amount of times or that it has to be under a preacher and in a building with a steeple?
Jeff S wrote:
I think it is too.
It also reminds me of some religions that teach people that pain and sin are merely illusions, or that you should give up all desires in life.
Absolutely. This was actually the biggest lie I swallowed during the last part of my marriage- that the true goal of Christianity was to empty me of me- then only I could be like Christ. I wrote this song about how damaging that was for me (apologies for the self-indulgence here):
Who I Am
Does it matter who I am?
They told me it was ok
That the way that I was made to be
Should all be wiped away
I tried to remove that part of me
And swallow my desire for peace
But I never overcame my hope
That one day I might be free
I could not let all that I was be emptied and destroyed
A sacrifice to bring no hope, just one more broken toy
But a still small voice called out to me
And said I’m forever his
That he loved me and he knew me
And desired that I live
He wanted me to be loved
He wanted me to be whole
He created me to be who I am
And was is in control
For so long I believed the lie
I was nothing more than just sin
Instead of a life that’s been restored
With a heart that has been cleansed
Called out of darkness to this new kind of life
No longer to fear in shadows we are dancers in the light
Yes a still small voice calls out to me
And says I’m forever his
That he loves me and he knows me
And desires that I live
He wants me to be loved
He wants me to be whole
He created me to be who I am
And he is in control
Your voice is growing stronger and I hear you Lord
As you tell me that I always was your plan
So I lift up all that I have to worship and adore
And thank you for who I am
And your strong voice calls out to me
And says I’m forever yours
That you love me and you know me
And gave me life forevermore
You want me to be loved
You want me to be whole
You created me to be who I am
And you are in control
Billy was right for that. If a married man who is a conspicuous religious professional has to be ‘alone’ with some woman there is a problem. Alone being the operative word. And the problem may be that he is up to no good, or that she is up to no good, or that the watching public will get the idea that they are up to no good. If somebody is quite willing to place themselves in the limelight but not willing to do whatever is necessary to preserve their testimony while in the limelight they are asking for trouble, mostly because of their attitude of wanting the benefits of limelight without being willing to pay the price. If nothing else, celebrity has its price.
I think disallowing, ignoring, or refusing to respond to questions is another dismissive tactic. It’s like saying “your question doesn’t deserve an answer.” The other possibility is that the questions are perceived as confrontational or too much of a challenge to engage in.
Non-response is a response in itself.
Or his testimony could be that it’s possible to be alone with a person God created and not have sex with her.
No, not really Sopy. If a person is tempted in this way, or is attracted to a certain person then yes. But to make it a rule for everyone, everywhere at all times is silly.
Jeff S wrote:
I can see this. Many.people do need to own their life and choices. But who knows what said and advised in N counseling.
Yep. I think the core of his message to me was really more like “stop worrying about her therapy- work on your own healing”. 🙂
Jeff S wrote:
I can see this. Many.people do need to own their life and choices. But who knows what said and advised in N counseling.
Jeff S wrote:
It might be semantics, but I don’t see that we have a right to be loved as in someone “owes it to me.” I do believe that we all have a need to be loved which, BTW, is why we were created to be in family units and make new family units as we mature. But, as we have all too often seen, families don’t always function as they should.
The “never be alone with a woman” philosophy injures innocent unmarried women who may need to meet with a preacher in his office alone, or over a cup of coffee, to discuss whatever problems she may be having.
This also leads to problems with any unmarried woman who may want or need to chat with any married guy for any reason.
Most of us single ladies do not have sexy ulterior motives, and quite frankly, I don’t find most married Christian men attractive enough to want to steal from their sweeties anyway, so there is a lot of presumption (and ego from the men and their wives) going on there.
This is a point I’ve brought up before on this blog, so I won’t rehash it all here.
I kinda thought “soul-care” fell under the job description of the Holy Spirit.
It *is* semantics, but the nouthetic folks are the ones who phrased it that way on purpose, creating a semantic problem.
You see, who in their right mind talks about having a “right” to be loved? Only a Nouthetic person would talk about love in terms that evoke the idea of entitlement.
But the truth is, as human beings we posses the image of God, on which is the basis of human dignity, and we are all “due” love. If that sounds entitled, well the Nouthetic folks are just going to have to get over it. Because without basic dignity, there is no justice, and the Bible commands justice over and over again. We are to help the weak and oppressed, but if they are not worthy of love and belonging (yes, I’ve watched Brene Brown!), then why does justice for them matter?
Love is not a “right” we claim- it’s an inborn need that God has given us and meets, often through other people. A person without love is someone who is not functioning as God as designed us.
But for NC, it’s all about telling people that the reason they struggle is because they just haven’t done a good enough job emptying themselves of themselves yet . . .
@ Jeff S:
In Billy’s case he constantly was preaching ‘the bible says’ and explained to the public why he did that. His testimony needed to be that he himself believed in living what the bible says and that he was not just one more hypocrite. And the bible says to flee temptation. It does not say to prove that one can resist temptation while not fleeing. And the bible says to avoid the appearance of evil-not just avoid evil. So Billy held himself out as the “the bible says’ man, he needed to back it up with his life. As far as I can see he did that.
Christ somewhat taught against family, as in the nuclear family.
Your “family” (as Christ taught it) is really supposed to be other believers in Jesus, hence, people once cut off from society back then (and this holds true today), such as singles, widows, and the childless, could have “family,” in the form of other believers.
American Christianity today, though, completely neglects this and keeps promoting the nuclear family instead.
You have some Muslims who leave Islam and convert to Christ. They are then ostracized from their family of origin.
If Jesus’ teachings were actually practiced, these new converts could look to other Christians as their “new family,” but most Christians neglect this teaching. If you don’t have a family of origin still around, or don’t marry, you are out of luck.
That is sure my understanding from the Bible, but lots of churches and celebrity or authoritarian preachers feel differently!
@ Jeff S:
I forgot to mention this in my other reply to you, but I read a book by a Nouthetic counselor type of guy who talked about some of these things, and he even denies that people have a “need” to be loved.
I can’t remember if he talks about “rights,” but he did talk about “needs.”
It gets confusing, because IIRC his book correctly, he thinks God built other people with a need to be loved, but that God does not give YOU, the reader of his book, a need to receive love for yourself.
You have a need to give love to other people but not a need to receive it, is what he was saying in his book.
If this is true for anyone and everyone, it makes no sense to me. If every human has a need to be loved, that would include you, the reader of his book, but he denies that is so.
This presumes that all women serve as temptations that must be resisted. As for the appearance of evil, that appearance seems manufactured to me by a sub culture that regards women as sexual temptations.
Yes, this is what is so obviously nutso to me. If the second greatest command is to love people, how can we even get the idea that people aren’t intended to be loved?
“It’s super important to love other people. They don’t need it, really, but it’s more important than everything else I’ve said to you . . .”
Jeff S wrote:
Ooh, most excellent point. I didn’t see this the first time I saw your post.
In other books by other Christians (who are doctors/ psychiatrists), they explain that much of Christian counseling is in error because so many Christian counselors and preachers assume that the only way God meets a hurting person’s needs is through prayer, Bible reading, or church attendance.
The authors of one or two books I have explain that one method God uses to reach the hurting is through other Christians, ones who will listen to you pour your heart out and be sympathetic to you when you are in a crisis.
Some of these same books and blogs I read said telling people to just read their Bible, pray, or go to a Bible study can actually make their pain or problems worse.
But if you read Joseph’s story in the Old Testament, he did not flee.
Joseph actually practiced self control several times when approached by the flirty wife and told her to back off and leave him alone.
Only when the wife cornered Jospeh a 100 times, and I think in private, did he run away.
As a Christian, you are not supposed to treat the entire opposite gender (or whatever gender you are attracted to) like they are unclean or like an insurmountable temptation to be avoided.
I find it deeply insulting that so many Christians teach men, both single and married, to avoid me just because I am single and a woman, as though I am a temptress with no self control myself, or as though I am responsible for the guy’s temptation.
Jesus met alone with women, even let prostitutes and women shacking up with men talk to him alone or just touch him.
I think in how to handle relationships, Jesus is supposed to be a, or the, role model for people who follow him?
I agree. There is an entitlement way of thinking that says I have a right to: be treated nicely, be included in the group, get the promotion at work, have my plans work out, get well from this disease, you name it, I have a right to it. Then when I don’t get what ever it is I have a right to be resentful and a right to refuse to throw myself into whatever I do have, and a right to complain to God that he did not treat me right and a right to take it out on other people and certainly a right to this chemical happy juice/pill because I have been done wrong by life.
Rights come either from God or from the government. I do not see in the bible a right to be loved, but I see a command to love. I am not aware that SCOTUS has yet told us that there is a right to be loved in the constitution. It is nice to be loved, but since we have no control over that we are setting ourselves up for disappointment if we think it is a right that we are owed. I have seem some parents place love demands on their children as a way to control them. Look what I have done for you now you are required to love me in the following ways, for example. Bad business.
I specifically stated “family units” for a reason. I don’t think that Jesus intended everyone to negate their nuclear, or biological, family unit in favor of “only” other believers. He clearly taught an inclusiveness especially of believers. Maybe this was a case of getting the society of his time to think outside of the patriarchal mindset of family as everything. He clearly saw the broken relationships around him and was showing men and women how to love and be loved outside and inside the biological family.
Here’s the quote from Genesis 39 – observe how his first reaction was to reason with her, not run away:
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7 and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”
8 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care.
9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
The church is in the habit of using the term “family” to mean only one’s family of origin.
Jesus was not as “family friendly” as many Christians think.
Many Christians tend to block out Bible verses such as:
37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.…
Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35″For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; 36and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.
(the all caps comes from the web site I copied that from)
Ah, the comfort station…
Why is it that this sounds so much like Genesis 3:1-15?
Where was the Coral Ridge Eldership in all this? Members of Coral Ridge, did you know this? These are your “tithe” dollars at work…
Jeff S wrote:
Precisely. Thank you for mentioning this.
Yes! Yes! Some of the men at the church we used to go to seemed to think that even women who did not attend that church should be submissive to them. Lords of Creation, indeed.
Jeff S wrote:
Yes, that was pretty much the reasoning in that guy’s book, and I did not understand it.
Why would God expect people to show love to others if nobody really needs it, or only some do, but not everyone? His view didn’t make sense to me.
Jesus associated with women others back in that time thought had “questionable pasts.” It didn’t stop Jesus from talking to them and hanging out with them.
Women were actually cut off from their society because of views like the ones you’re advocating here, and Christian single women of today still are being cut off over this.
I (like other unmarried women) am effectively getting penalized by Christian culture over something I’m not even guilty of doing (e.g., stealing another woman’s husband).
What option do you think he had? He was a slave in that household. Note that there is no indication that he ever did anything to encourage her. There is no description of lunches on the patio or personal chats or any other compromise of his position as the slave of her husband and steward of the household and he made that perfectly clear to her apparently from the get go (vv 8-9).
Joseph still resisted her with his words. His first reaction was not to flee.
Also, see the current blurb at the top of this blog post: Tullian the married preacher and his wife each had affairs on the other.
Sometimes, married people have affairs on their spouse with another married person.
That is, married people are hooking up with other married people, not with single adults.
To be consistent, you would be telling all married people to stay away from married people, as well as singles.
The Bible simply does not advocate that you treat an entire gender, or group of people of a certain martial status like they are “haram” (forbidden).
It is not about you. It is about Billy Graham, a very public figure who preached to the nation and who had responsibilities to go along with that privilege. And behold, there is no scandal in this area which he takes to the grave with him, and no one can say they have rejected Christ because of Billy’s lack of a circumspect life in this matter. That would be unlike any number of men of the cloth who have disgraced themselves and ended up shaming christianity in the process.
Well, yes. After all, don’t only perfect, sinless people attend church? That’s the impression I got at our former church. You were expected to put on a perfect front. If you admitted to problems, *you* became the problem.
How can you practice “lifestyle evangelism” if you don’t demonstrate that the christian life is perfect and trouble-free?
But it is about me (unmarried women in general too), because in many articles and books I’ve read on the topics of singles, dating, marriage, etc., many preachers take Graham’s idea in this area and apply it to their own ministries or marriages.
This idea also extends to Christian culture in general.
Regardless of Graham, there are a lot of Christians out there who teach other Christians that…
Hanging out with unmarried women is dangerous, that meeting with a single woman, whether alone or even in public (one preacher brought a chaperone with him on a Starbucks coffee date in the middle of the day to meet with a woman!!) it “looks” wrong, or people may get the wrong idea.
I don’t see any biblical justification for those views – the verse about abstaining from even the appearance of evil is stretching things, since, as I said before, Jesus was questioned about why he associated with women known by everyone to be prostitutes. Sometimes one biblical teaching takes precedence over another, I would think.
Would Jesus really rather you “avoid the appearance of evil” even if it meant excluding or alienating an entire group of people, and even if many, most, or some in that group are mostly innocent?
It is about her, because his policy is regarding her as a temptation. And people emulate his policy and teach it to others.
I don’t see that. One can ‘flee’ in lots of ways. One of the easiest is to make something crystal clear from the beginning-say with a boss or a boss’s wife (as in Joseph’s case) or co-worker. Saying no, no way and don’t even think about it (as he did) is fleeing temptation. Refusing to listen to the marital complaints of someone of the opposite sex is also a way to flee. There are as many ways to stay out of trouble as there are to get into trouble.
So couldn’t a man just start off a lunch meeting with a woman with “don’t even think about having sex with me”?
I just quoted the Bible verses a few posts above showing from the text directly that Joseph talked to her the first few times she made a pass at him.
When you first talked about “fleeing,” and you were arguing in favor of Graham’s methods, you seemed to suggest that literally running away from a woman (who was married in this example – she was not an unmarried woman hitting on a married guy; the irony), that physically leaving the room, was the proper way to handle things.
This is the same suggestion a lot of Christians bring up, and which is why guys like Billy Graham won’t meet alone with women.
Here is the text again (excerpts of it), pasted straight from an online Bible:
It’s not until verse 11 that she bats her eye lashes at him while inside her house that he physically runs away and leaves the room.
Listening to marital complains won’t necessarily lead to an affair.
One function of a preacher is precisely to sit down alone with people, whether male or female, single or married, and listen to them talk about their struggles, in whatever area of life.
If a married dude really thinks he cannot handle that, he probably should get into another occupation.
Secondly, I am a single woman.
I don’t have any marital complaints to talk about as in, “I wish my husband would stop forgetting to take the trash out!”
But if I, say, for instance, want to meet with Married Preacher Walter Windbag and talk about my mother’s death, he would probably turn me down because, “meeting alone with a single woman such as you would ‘look bad,’ and I might to jump in the sack with you, or you with me.”
So, as a result, single ladies such as me don’t sometimes get to talk about whatever “single lady” issues we have going on.
Ah, but you’re not even qualified to write books *for* *women* *only* if I understood the trend at our former church correctly. It was getting to the point where the elders were more likely to approve a book for women’s (elder’s wife-led) “bible” study that was written by a man for women’s enlightenment, than written by a women for other women (which was what they’d been using earlier).
I had been a Precept leader before we joined that church, but Precept was never approved by the leadership. I guess Kay Arthur’s theology didn’t measure up. (I don’t know how sound her theology is, because that was more than a decade ago, but I know our reformed church with its post-millennial orientation did not approve her studies.
IIRC just the one by Eagle contained the verboten m-word, to which pastor Carpenter replied unkindly– something along the line of “You’re violating the 9th commandment– examine yourself to see if your of the faith.” I suggested that pastor C may be violating Jude 1:22 “Be merciful to those who doubt” since Eagle was at that time agnostic. Leeman deleted that whole conversation, though many other comments remained awhile.
I read it, but mercifully much of it is blurred in my memory.
The latest Big-Name-CELEBRITY-Preacher Sex Scandal.
How many other Big Name CELEBRITY Preachers have taken a number and are awaiting their turn?
This has been my experience as well in the past 10 years or so. It’s almost as if now they are saying that women are not even capable of teaching women! Only married women can work in youth ministry and only alongside their husbands. It is insanity. But they are so driven by their ideology that they can’t even see it, and the women who question it in their own minds dare not say anything. Because of the males and because of the enforcer females.
Do not even think about questioning one of these leaders. They know what they know and what the Bible actually says is beside the point on their trigger issues. I honestly do not know why these men are so afraid of women. Or hate women so much. Very hard hearts that are not like the heart of Jesus. Or even Paul.
According to the article, they are the once who brought it up.
@ Dave A A:
If you are referring to a certain John Carpenter, then the pixels are totally wasted on that individual. He was all over TgC threads back when I used to read them. The thing is, none of the manly men call him out, so I assume they think just like he does.
Jeff S wrote:
From what I’ve read and the information, ISTM that they acted when they knew of Tullian’s infidelity. My understanding is that they granted him a sabbatical when he discovered his wife’s infidelity. I don’t know anything at all about CRPC or the elders or Tullian, but the elders there seem to have acted well in this case. The church had been deep into celebrity before Tullian came on the scene, and I think that his rising celebrity at the time made him an attractive candidate for their new celebrity pastor via the merger. It is a very, very sad time for two adults and three children. Especially the three children who did not ask for any of this.
They should examine themselves (spiritually speaking) to see if they’re really manly men.
@ Jeff S:
not to mention that people often do have colleagues and friends of the opposite sex, where this idea of being together in public = they’re going to bed with each other is just pretty much ludicrous.
I recently saw an ad for the job of “lecturer” in Biblical Studies or similar. I felt like applying. Sounds like a piece of cake! Just lecture and give tests! But they’d probably not appreciate my theology degree from a long-defunct school.
Exactly–as a woman, I’m tired of being regarded as a source of temptation, simply because I exist. It’s insulting, degrading, and altogether unnecessary.
However, this idea was so deeply ingrained in me that I now have extreme anxiety when I’m just *talking* with a man in the church without my husband present. 🙁
Dave A A wrote:
The other thing that makes me wonder about their conception of BiblicalManhood and BiblicalWomanhood is the whole idea of being swayed by the culture or caving to the culture or compromising with the culture or yielding to cultural pressure. For crying out loud, God is not as brittle and powerless as these men must certainly feel if they are this intimidated by “culture” by which they mean “feminism” and its assumed results.
As long as I fight “the culture” then I’m doing what is good? What if the culture more closely resembles what is actually in the Bible than the churchy people do? Like with slavery. The PCUS and the SBC were all about fighting the “culture” of the godless Yankees. And I say that as a certified GRITS. What do they even mean by what they say? I wonder if any of the Usual Suspects even care if what they say has any meaning whatsoever outside their bubble. Do they not see how silly they are, as in the case of Piper or how mean they are, as in the case of The Village ELDERS and the SGM regime?
To quote pastor Menikoff and add a little…”The husband didn’t know how to lead. The wife felt neglected and unfulfilled. She fled into the arms of…” the snake, and the husband fled from God into an inappropriate fig-leaf relationship.
Dave AA: that is hilarious! “An inappropriate fig-leaf relationship”!!!
Dave A A wrote:
Presumably Tullian was OK with Complementarianism/Patriarchy since he was until fairly recently a member of TgC. So, I guess the System isn’t foolproof after all when it comes to fostering healthy marriages. Yet another inconvenient fact set for the Usual Suspects.
I think you hit the nail on the head. I think for a lot of folks (me included sometimes) the idea of biblical faithfulness means data-mining the bible for all its worth, and getting a little tunnel vision in the process. Not a bad thing inherently, just misguided thinking that can lead to some wacky error if not tempered with common sense. I don’t think we have to look too far to see examples.
The thing I do not get, about the original article, is that for the 5 situations Menikoff lists, why do you need a membership covenant? Cannot a pastor talk with a member/perspective member about moral issues without having a membership covenant? A few decades back, I believe this was called pastoring. I don’t remember pastors needing a membership covenant to pastor back then.
For all their allegiance to the priesthood of the believer and the five solas, the neo-Calvinists sure seem need to have a lot of structure and hierarchy to function. It seems as if there is a great affinity for things similar to bishops, diocese, and encyclicals in this system.
You said Data-Mining.
You’re such a Geek. 🙂
Oh, whoops, I’m FRIENDS WITH A MALE!! I’m an INHERENT TEMPTATION!!
Guys, stop me now, before I break the Billy Graham rule!
In all seriousness, I’m glad Gov Pappy is here right now. Let’s examine this Billy Graham rule for a second.
During the TVC debacle, and during the month before, I’d say Pappy & I talked via chat apps nearly *every day.* Yes, every.single.day. (This was before the semester ended, and life got crazy.) If he was female, I would have been absolutely thrilled to find a friend that I had that much in common with, and so thankful that I could vent freely while my heart was in such knots during the TVC nuttiness. Also, my husband was taking care of his grandfather during that time, so I was completely alone w/ 4 kids while writing/tweeting/arguing about spiritual abuse every day.
Not *once* did I ever think or feel anything towards Pappy bordering on inappropriate, but instead of just rejoicing in his friendship, I felt a ton of anxiety, wondering if I was doing the right thing. I even asked him, “Hey, is your wife okay with us chatting?” AND I asked my husband if he felt the same way. I invited both of them to feel free to read our chats any time. (It’s in writing! Preserved for posterity!)
Even better–Eagle has become a valued friend, whom I love dearly. However, he can’t chat via apps very often, due to his work. He’s stuck in traffic for a long time, and has to talk via phone. For a while, we also talked every day. (That’s REALLY hard w/ four kids, BTW! It gets LOUD on my ship!) Then, my daughter approached me, terrified and crying, and asked if I had a secret boyfriend. 🙁
I was heartbroken. I said, “Honey, Eagle is a friend, someone who’s trying to help us move to a new place. I would never, ever think of loving anyone but your Daddy.” (The Vulcan)
The Billy Graham rule has been emblazoned on my brain (and on the brains of my children at comp churches) for so long that, instead of enjoying these guys, and everything they contribute to our lives and our family, the fact that we have a friendship brought a ton of anxiety and conflict. I’m not dumb, I know that there’s always the possibility sliding into sin. However, a deep friendship w/ my husband and another guy turned out to be a huge temptation for the guy—the guy was secretly gay! He’d been spending lots of time w/ us because he was *crushing on my husband!*
I have to go–Borg Children invasion.
I told my friend in DC that I would be visiting another friend while visiting him, and his response was,
“What’s his name?”
I’m going to have fun with this one.
I very much appreciate the friendships of the women I’ve come to know in the last year or so breaking out of my fundy man shell. It’s been a great balance in my thinking, and the more I see how pastors (and many church men) treat women, the more I think that they desperately need to get outside the boys club they’ve grown up in.
Neither have I had inappropriate thoughts. I have had a lot of anxiety about that as well though, because of appearances. My wife is perfectly fine with it, but the nagging thought is always in my head, leftover from fundyland. When you have this view of the opposite gender that they might try to seduce you, you either don’t talk to them at all, or you’re going to hide it. I’m not sure which has worse consequences.
I don’t get along well with most personalities, and therefore when I find someone I feel comfortable talking to, it’s amazing. I could care less what gender they are – they’re a kindred spirit.
And that’s slightly hilarious and sad about the gay guy.
Coral Ridge in FL is PCA, and I believe they also report to an higher-level eldership SESSION. Which again makes this TT & Wifee trist all the more … worldly. I suppose later we will have a time-line of events. Hmmmm, whats the FL diviorce rules?
PCAPastor can give us the authoritative account, but the Session is the elders at CRPC, both lay and clergy. The next higher court is the South Florida Presbytery. The Session did their job, but I don’t know what the Presbytery might do with Tullian’s credentials as a PCA teaching elder. Obviously, things are less complicated in Baptist circles which also have much less oversight. IMO there is no perfect polity and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Ludicrous except in Christianese and Porn.
However, since TT was celebrity pastor, and PCA benefited from this kind of press, perhaps they should give detail to the public on how long TT was “doing” this kind of behind the scenes stuff. Sort of a timeline. That way, people would be less gullible to support celebrity pastors. You get what you inspect…I Thess 5:21-22. The whole story is NOT known, and yes, it is everybodies business since this was a public figure!
Dave A A wrote:
For the record, and to his credit, Menikoff has replied to one of the comments. He explained that it would have been nice to do Biblical exegesis about membership or to include examples of soul care by other than pastors, but that’s not what the editors wanted for this article.
A portion of Tim Aagard’s reply is worth repeating– again just for the record.
He quotes Menikoff’s article first:
‘“I believe covenant membership to be a biblical and incredibly useful model for carrying out pastoral care and encouraging church community. To abandon covenant church membership is to lose an opportunity to shepherd souls.”
The Chief Shepherd never designed shepherding to be funneled through one man or even a team of hired experts, nor a small crew of elders, all of whom are loaded down with institutional management issues. In this form of leadership, soul care is a priority far below these contrived yet well loved habit patterns. Professional driven shepherding is a severely broken system. To require believers to make a promise to a certain name branded institution is a band-aid on a cancerous tumor of shallow and non-mutual relationships. There are some exceptions to this but not many. Tweaking institutional membership does not solve any of the systemic issues that continue on in the bubble.’
@ Deb: In a sense they are pressured, as they are ‘forbidden’ communion unless they ‘join’ the church.