Jonathan Leeman and 9 Marks: Abusive Church Discipline and the Problem With Matthew 18

“… you don't have to wait for someone to treat you bad repeatedly. All it takes is once, and if they get away with it that once, if they know they can treat you like that, then it sets the pattern for the future.” ― Jane Green, Bookends link

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=37291&picture=grand-canyon-sunset
Grand Canyon Sunset

The problem with the application of Matthew 18

"I did Matthew 18, I prayed and was careful in how I worded what I said. Yet, instead of addressing my concern, my pastor became angry at me and said I was gossiping and causing disunity. I was eventually asked to leave the church. I did what the Bible said. What went wrong? For the last 6 years, we have heard variations on this comment from people who have had bad experiences with a  church and its leaders. I often think of the lyrics to Bon Jovi's classic "You Give Love a Bad Name."

An angel's smile is what you sell, 
You promise me heaven then put me through hell

I play my part and you play your game
You give love a bad name

I believe that the problem for the church today is the rise of the authoritarian leaders who believe that their words trump the words of the church member. The Bible discusses so many sins, it is quite simple of an egomaniac to turn the table and make you a problem for raising an issue.

Here is a true situation involving my husband and me. We went to our pastor to discuss a surprising conflict that had occurred in our Sunday school  class. Unbeknownst to us, young earth creationism was treated almost like a primary doctrine. Unfortunately, this was not mentioned in the membership documents and statement of beliefs. When we urged the pastor to help potential members to understand this belief to prevent conflicts, he said he would not since it might prevent people from joining the church. We made the argument that people like us then get caught in unnecessary arguments and that, in fact, we would not have joined the church. We begged him to reconsider.

Suddenly, he turned around to me and said in an a loud voice, "You are being arrogant and condescending." Shocked, I stammered, "How?" At the time I was holding a huge cup of tea with two hands, sitting in a wing chair, pointing out something in a book he recommended. He replied, "It's your body language." I could tell my husband was becoming angry and I soon realized the discussion was useless. We went in to have a discussion and came out the losers. We followed Matthew 18 but the pastor was not going to play along.

My husband asked it would help to discuss this with the elders. He then responded "In the 28 years I have been pastor, the elders have only disagreed with me twice." This also meant it would be useless to carry this up the food chain since it was apparent in this "plurality of elders"  the pastor was the big cheese. We would find this to be true later on when a pedophile situation caused much pain at the church.

When this happens, you can be sure that your church is run by authoritarians and will view any concern as a direct threat.

Review how this worked. We had observed a problem. We were leading a large Sunday school class. We, as leaders, did not understand the underlying dynamics which caused incredible conflict in the church. We attempted to discuss it and ended up, in short order, being made the problem. We should have made our plans to leave then. We didn't and ended up embroiled in an ugly pedophile situation. In the end, God used the experience as I started to blog. 

It is important to note that said church never did change. In fact, it is heavily involved in The Gospel™ Coalition, has instituted membership contracts and featured CJ Mahaney as a speaker in the last year.

Recommendation: Get out of this church

If you have a concern about something going on in your church and you are treated like I was, do not be deceived into thinking that if you just try harder, you will make a difference. Following Matthew 18 will not make  difference. You are making an assumption that you are both playing by the rules. However, in some instances this is not true. When this happens you are at a disadvantage and it is time to get out since further conversations most likely will lead to you being thought of as a problem and that can lead to church discipline.

Jonathan Leeman: Leader of the church discipline movement.

There is no question that Jonathan Leeman is the leader in the pro church discipline movement. He represents the thinking of 9 Marks' Mark Dever.  In an article by Jonathan Merritt, Shepherds or shamers? The rise of church discipline in America (ANALYSIS)

Jonathan Leeman, author of “Church Discipline: How the Church Protects the Name of Jesus, runs a Washington-based ministry that believes rigorous church discipline is one of the nine central components of a “biblical church.”

If a church member is found to be participating in significant sinful behavior, the congregation should enact discipline. This may include excommunication or public disclosure of the situation, but usually it only requires personally confronting the sinner.

…The purpose of church discipline, according to Leeman, is to protect Jesus’ name, show redemptive love for the sinner and warn the broader church against a greater judgment in the afterlife. But he also readily admits that church discipline can become authoritarian and abusive.

Abusive church discipline

How do the church discipline proponents like Leeman view authoritarian and abusive discipline? Secondly, how does Leeman's own ministry, which is supposed to be the expert in this area, possibly contribute to this abuse? Merritt says:

But church discipline critics claim that abuse is the rule rather than the exception, and they argue the Bible doesn’t teach church discipline as it is commonly practiced.

Wade Burleson, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Okla., said it should look more like helping alcoholics overcome addiction than public shaming of those going through divorce.

“Church discipline doesn’t mean kicking people out when they fail,” he said. “It means loving people enough to walk with people through their valleys.”

The dubious history of church discipline

Leeman and others claim that church discipline has been practices through the ages. How it was practiced is another story. Again from Merritt:

Those who promote rigorous church discipline say they have history on their side. And they are at least partially correct. But when Christians speak of church discipline today, they may not be referring to the practices of yore. Even the most stringent adherent would not condone behaviors reminiscent of American witch hunts or the Spanish Inquisition, for example.

“The Puritan model is to put people in the town square or the village green in the stocks as a way of shaming the individual,” said Randall Balmer, a professor of American religious history at Dartmouth College and author of “The Making of Evangelicalism.”

One need only add Calvin's approval of the killing of Michael Servetus for heresy and Roger Williams, the founder of the US Baptists, who was banished by the Puritans for his belief in the freedom of worship to realize that kooky church discipline has been around for a long time.

The epic fail of church discipline today

The Village Church discipline of Karen Hinkley, along with the seemingly "all's well" approach to her former husband's 10 year habit of viewing Internet child sex abuse, spread like wildfire throughout  the Christian community. Except for the "my church is always right" folks, everybody recognized the abusive nature of this situation. What made this even more concerning is that The Village Church requires one book to be read for those signing the TVC membership covenant and that is Leeman's book, Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus (9Marks: Building Healthy Churches)  From Village Church

We require prospective members to read Church Membership by Jonathan Leeman before signing the Membership Covenant. This book is handed out at Covenant Membership. It explains what membership is and why it’s important to commit to a local body of believers.

Thank you to a reader of TWW for pointing this out. (Let me know if I can use your name.)

Let this fact sink in. Matt Chandler and The Village Church are held up as the super leaders of today's NeoCalvinist movement. They are supposedly doing it right. Yet, this catastrophe happened while using the Leeman's 9 Marks membership book. Can you imagine what is going on in other churches?

This is not the only occurrence of the followers of Dever, Leeman and 9Marks. One only needs to read the account of Todd Wilhelm who was held hostage at John Folmar's church, UCCD. Folmar worked with Dever and is a 9 Marks church plant. Todd made the unforgivable mistake of saying he disagreed with this church selling CJ Mahaney's books. He quit and they attempted to discipline him by refusing to let him go until he joined another 9 Marks approved church.

Leeman: What to do when a church screws up church discipline, particularly when they are using my book.

Again, thanks to a reader for pointing this out. Shortly after the TVC fiasco, Leeman wrote, Why Church Discipline Goes Awry and How To Avoid It. Here are some of his thoughts.

…wrong approaches to discipline can occur in large churches when the sheer size impels them to rely on regulated processes instead of personal pastoral care.

…A fundamentalist mindset, I’ve remarked in other writings, prefers things in black and white

…Yet I’ve been angered to hear of churches where the elders, in the name of respecting headship, condone or at least overlook reports of husbands who are harsh, severe, and demanding with their wives

…you should be leery of joining a church where the leaders play favorites, punish those who disagree, have a temper, use the silent treatment, must always have the last word, cannot be wrong, emphasize external conformity, are consistently dogmatic on both the big and small issues, seldom if ever admit they are wrong, have difficulty giving authority to others, only promote their closest friends or family members, and generally need control. 

He then discussed what makes a healthy church.

I once had the opportunity to address a number of the elders of a church who handled a terribly complex case of church discipline piously but poorly. The media had picked up on the story, and a number of writers, Christian and non-Christian, charged the church with abusiveness. In fact, I know the church and its leaders, and it is a gospel-centered and healthy church. The brothers made a mistake in complicated situation, a mistake for which they quickly apologized and altered course.

Here are three things that he missed. 

1. I am glad the *brothers* altered course and apologized. However, once again, there is little mention of the person who was injured in the poor decision. Leeman is church authority focused and does seem to overlook the very real pain of a victim. Let's hear more about the victims and how they are doing.

2. Secondly, it is worrisome to me that he only mentions *brothers.* Women should be are involved, even in his decidedly patriarchal system. Perhaps including the *sisters* once in awhile might lead to better understanding of the pain involved in a situation. Sidelining 50%+ of your church means you are losing out on some excellent input.

3. UCCD is a 9 Marks church. They treated Todd poorly. When will 9 Marks show us they know how to apologize?

What should a church discipline? This is the real *key.*

This is the fatal flaw in the system of church discipline. All systems need checks and balances. Since the sins that need to be disciplined are not spelled out, anything is up for grabs like:

1. Wanting to annul one's marriage to a child porn loving husband
2. Conscientious objection to supporting a ministry which has been accused of mishandling systemic child abuse.

Here is one *complete list of sins from the New Testament.* I have only copied through the *D's.* There are 124 sins in that list.

1. Abusers of Self: Self polluters, having unnatural lusts
2. Adultery (Note: Only for those who have been married) 
3. Anger 
4. Backbiters: Those who speak evil of those who are absent
5. Banqueting: A drinking party 
6. Becoming a Stumbling Block to a Weak Brother Through Our Liberty: Taking liberty to do things without thinking of the effect on a weaker brother's conscience. 
7. Being Angry With One's Brother: Expressing unkind thought or action toward others 
8. Bitterness 
9. Blasphemy 
10. Boasting 
11. Brawling 
12. Brother Going to Law Against Brother: No definition given, so I'll wing it. Bringing legal action against another. If someone has a better definition, please let me know.
13. Burying our Talents: Not making wise use of what God gave us
14. Calling One's Brother A Fool: Ridiculing another 
15. Chambering: Unmarried people living and sleeping together 
16. Clamor: Loud, continued noises 
17. Complaining 
18. Contentious:Quarrelsome 
19. Corrupt Communications:Unprofitable or impure language 
20. Covenant Breakers: Lightly breaking a solemn or legal pact. 
21. Covetousness 
22. Craftiness: Cunningness 
23. Debate 
24. Deceit 
25. Defiling the Body 
26. Defraud 
27. Denying Christ 
28. Desiring the Praise of Men: Doing things to gain praise. 
29. Despiteful 
30. Dishonesty 

Jared Wilson addresses weird church discipline.

 On the same day that Leeman published his article, Jared Wilson posted 5 Ways to Keep Church Discipline from Seeming Weird. Is he addressing the TVC situation. Here is a synopsis of his thoughts.

In churches with healthy discipleship cultures, church discipline is going on all the time in helpful, informal, everyday ways. When the more formal processes of church discipline become necessary, they are much less likely to be carried out too harshly or received strangely. The church will already have a positive training context for knowing that discipleship requires obedience, correction, perseverance, and mutual submission.

… If church membership is a Christ-centered covenant relationship – and it is – their needs to be a clear, mutual promise between all invested parties that their yes will be yes and their no will be no, so that there can be no surprise when someone’s yes to sin is received with a no from the church.

…If a church never broaches the subject until a church’s response to someone’s unrepentant sin must be made public, church discipline will always seem alien. 

…If we will follow the biblical process of church discipline, beginning with confidential and humble rebuke of a brother’s or sister’s sin, if unrepentance persists and the circle of visibility widens, expulsion will be seen as a regrettable and sorrowful necessity, 

…God will get the glory and our churches will give him glory when church discipline is practiced in the context of a grace-driven culture. 

Here are a few thoughts.

1. Karen Hinkley supported church discipline but did not believe they would apply discipline in such an obviously damaging situation. 
2. Karen supported a covenant, believing that she would never do anything to violate the covenant. She, along with the rest of TVC had absolutely no idea what the pastors and elders would discipline. (The fatal flaw in this concept.) The covenant was wrongly applied. 
3. TVC often discusses church discipline with all of their members by placing those being disciplined on a list that members can access. Members also seemed ill trained to know what should be disciplined and what shouldn't be disciplined. (If I hear Hosea used as a proof text to stay married to a serial adulterer, I will slap someone upside the head!)
4. When discipline is poorly applied and someone is kicked out for not tithing, for being proud, for asking too many questions, for gossiping, etc. most thoughtful people will not see this as positive.
5. No, God does not get the glory in situations like I have discussed. In fact, there are way too many people who run from churches due to this nonsense. As the reader commented to me, "Yes, Jared, the way your friends discipline is weird at times. Admit it." 

Two recommendations from Dee

1. What should churches discipline.

One only need to look around your average "serious Gospel" church and one will discover all sorts of sins, including those of the leaders. What does the Bible say? The best example of church discipline involves a man in an incestuous relationship with his mother.

1 Cor 5:1-4 Bible Gateway NIV

 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? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,[a][b] so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

Look at what Paul says about this.

  • Even the pagans thought such acts were disgusting. (That's saying a lot for that culture.)
  • The church members were proud this was going on.

This was a highly unusual situation that was affecting the entire church. The sin was so egregious that even the pagans would be against it and the church was, in essence, promoting it. This is a good example of the serious nature of the sin involved-both the couple and the church were promoting unbiblical activities.

Let's look back to Todd's situation for a counterpoint.

He wanted to leave UCCD because he conscientiously objected to the selling of CJ Mahaney's books in their bookstore. He wanted out immediately since they refused to remove the books. Funny thing on this one. Even the pagans agree with Todd along with many Christians. This is a righteous stand based on a gospel concern for abused children.

He wanted to take his time selecting another church which, of course, was against the *rules* of UCCD and 9 Marks as well as Capitol Hill Baptist Church. However, Biblically it seems like a thoughtful approach. Also, because he deemed the support of CJ Mahaney by UCCD as unrighteous, it seems to me that he understand the Gospel better than some at UCCD. It seems to me that 9 Marks blew this one, big time, and an apology is due. (Maybe you should make it 10 Marks and add apologize in there.)

2. Membership covenants/contracts can and will be used against you.

My recommendation: Don't sign them unless they spell out in detail what they will punish. If you decide to go ahead, you may be stuck staying married to child porn addict because the *elders* say so. There are many good churches which do not require these. Also, many churches will allow you to attend without signing one. Please protect yourselves from aggressive churches and let us know your stories as you do!

Comments

Jonathan Leeman and 9 Marks: Abusive Church Discipline and the Problem With Matthew 18 — 404 Comments

  1. The latent power of a manipulative church leader is difficult to describe unless you have experienced it first-hand. I was in a room with a leader with such power over the other individual elders in the room that I got the feeling that they would kill me on his orders. Total control–total blindness.

  2. Charm, rather than truth, is the lingua franca of an authoritarian, abusive leader. Charm to those who agree, verbal and psychological abuse toward those who do not.

  3. I don’t think I’d ever formally join a church that said it had the power to discipline me unless the wrongs subject to discipline were spelled out.

  4. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    Charm, rather than truth, is the lingua franca of an authoritarian, abusive leader. Charm to those who agree, verbal and psychological abuse toward those who do not.

    THAT is the exact handle actor Anthony Hopkins used for his role as Adolf Hitler in the Seventies TV-movie The Bunker. Charming and almost fatherly — until the instant you disagreed with him in any way.

  5. Mom!! Good post….

    I would say that church discipline in a 9 marks church is worthless because of the un-even and un-level playing field. Case in point, and I wrote about this on my blog a few months back. Mark Dever undermined and made 9 Marks worthless when he let CJ Mahaney flee. What about church discipline? Is CJ exempt? I mean CJ threw around a lot of money at a lot of people. He threw money at Al Mohler’s Southern Seminary. At SGM Survivors it was reported that CJ Mahaney allegedly subsidized the salary of Wayne Grudhem to help him finish the ESV translation. Here’s my question that I would be fascinated to know. Is the reason why CJ Mahaney was exempt from discipline because the Senior Pastor of Capital Hill Baptist Church was for sale and CJ threw money at it and Dever was allegedly corrupted and felt obligated to protect CJ. After all…he was a business partner! Some have business partners and start Taco Bell, Subway and Pizza Hut franchises. In Dever and Mahaney’s case CJ was a business partner for T$G. Was the Senior Pastor at CHBC owned and bought and in the process corrupted. As Deep Throat said to Bob Woodward in a parking garage in Arlington, VA during Watergate…you have to follow the money.

  6. This was a highly unusual situation that was affecting the entire church. The sin was so egregious that even the pagans would be against it and the church was, in essence, promoting it. This is a good example of the serious nature of the sin involved-both the couple and the church were promoting unbiblical activities.

    I say this all the time. It is ridiculous that this passage gets trotted out everytime someone wants to shun a brother or sister in Christ. This situation and the follow up in 2nd Corinthians demonstrate to me the fact that “church discipline” never works. Most times what we have are churches that must be forced to do what is right (think child sexual abuse, predatory pastors or church members ect. even the pagans know that is wrong)and churches have a very poor understanding of repentance and how to welcome back one who truly has erred. Instead what we have are churches that want to cast out everyone who disagrees with the grand puhbah and lack the ability to welcome in those who repent of their sin. Rather than being a test case to prove discipline is correct or even the correct way to discipline, the 1st and 2nd Corinthians passages should show us how gracious our Lord truly is and make us thankful that our eternal forgiveness is not tied up in a local “church”

  7. Regarding: (If I hear Hosea used as a proof text to stay married to a serial adulterer, I will slap someone upside the head!) I can about guarantee that the people who love that sort of teaching would not enjoy it if that situation happened to them personally or to someone close to them that they cared about.

    It’s very easy to demand that OTHER PEOPLE have to live under certain rules (like stay married to a serial adulterer, for instance) but it’s another kettle of fish when the same thing happens to YOU. Then all the sudden you will want that rule scrapped.

  8. do not be deceived into thinking that if you just try harder, you will make a difference.

    This was the money quote for me.

    About six months before I left I had gone to the advisory council and submitted a written, and what I believed a well documented, proposal to replace staff and family members of staff on the council and with a more robust group of representatives. Note this council were not elders, the pastor was the sole elder. At the time over half the members of the council were staff or family members of staff. Also included was the best friend of the pastor, only a few people were included that could be considered independent.

    I submitted it in person and was received as if I was the only one who had the concern, there was no followup later and no indication there would be any action taken. It was only after I left the church that I found that at least two other well respected people had gone to the pastor with similar proposals before I had. These were not disclosed by the pastor, a clear ethical violation.

    I understand that people will want to give an honest attempt to do the right thing and not just walk out the door. Each person needs to decide for them selves. The big downside is it can open you up to further abuse. Also there is an aspect similar to what Law Prof described on another thread, it can sucker you on. If they just said no and tossed you out the door it would be better. Instead they won’t say no and badly mistreat you, but will keep your hopes alive and when nothing is forthcoming it is even harder.

    If leaders were truly repentant they would exhibit unmistakable repentance. There would be no guess work on our part, there would be no half measures on theirs, they would go above and beyond.

  9. I need to sit down and chew on this for awhile, but here is my first thought.

    Doesn’t it seem like a lot of their church discipline issues could be fixed by just canceling the 15 conferences and book signings and TGC banquets or whatever the heck goes on these days and simply sit down with the members with grievances and honestly and humbly hearing them out over a cup of coffee? Even Leeman said it himself – churches are using Church discipline procedures instead of the pastors performing actual pastoral duties like building real relationships with their members. Instead you got pastors wanting to reach more people and be a somebody in celebrity Christianity and let hireling 20-something year-old “elders” apply the rules to the flock back home.

    Heck, you can see from the Karen situation what really would have kept that situation from becoming a PR disaster – pastor coming down from his public speaking throne and (God forbid!) engage personally with a member.

  10. @ GovPappy:
    And I’m not suggesting that the Karen/TVC situation was simply a PR disaster; rather, with these things, I like to try to sit down in their chair and look through their eyes and doctrinal lenses and see what the heck they’re seeing. Again, Leeman himself touches on the issue, yet he’s not going to man up and call out his TGC boys for getting too big for their self-proclaimed local church pastor calling.

  11. GovPappy wrote:

    Doesn’t it seem like a lot of their church discipline issues could be fixed by just canceling the 15 conferences and book signings and TGC banquets or whatever the heck goes on these days and simply sit down with the members with grievances and honestly and humbly hearing them out over a cup of coffee?

    Ever hear of the Reformed Industrial Complex? For some of these people this is a business, its a way to make money. Its why you have pastors focused on writing instead of teaching of visiting people in hospitals and getting to know them. Plus it works well…think about it. If you are going to come down on someone its best not to get close to them because you can be dictatorial in the process. Church discipline is over emphasized, and used questionably. For every case written about here, I’d bet my 501K that there are 20 or so not written about. People are living in fear.

  12. Jonathan Leeman, Mark Dever, and every other one of the 9Marks fanboys needs to explain C.J. Mahaney and Karen Hinkley and Todd Wilhelm. Until they explain why they have applied “church discipline” so haphazardly, with double standards, and abusively, then they have no business telling anyone how to do church membership or church discipline or anything else of consequence. These have massive failures of their system, and they cannot or will not face up to those failures. They will not even name them, and they remain either silent in the case of Mahaney or issue passive apologetics posts like Jonathan Leeman, Jared Wilson, Aaron Menikoff, and the various versions of the “apologies” by The Village ELDERS.

    These are not serious men.

  13. @ Eagle:
    Oh I know. The purpose seems to be to automate the local church while the masterminds get to enjoy the spoils.

    The weird part to me is that there’s no “those who fall behind are left behind” mentality like you might get at your average mega church – they want the wounded and folks who no longer want in on the action to stay on and grease the treads of the tank. Heck, when I left my Fundy megachurch, I didn’t get so much as an email asking what happened to me, and I KNOW my tithe was important to them. They figured I was done and moved on.

    Come to think of it, maybe the Fundies I left behind are more honest Christians than these neocal church plant enthusiasts.

  14. from article above, Leeman:
    “In fact, I know the church and its leaders, and it is a gospel-centered and healthy church. The brothers made a mistake in complicated situation, a mistake for which they quickly apologized and altered course.”

    Ummm, what was complicated about the situation? and really, they altered course? just with that one person and that one pedo. i havent heard of any changes saying that its now ok for a wife to divorce/annul a marriage to a pedo. I think the biggest thing that those elders at TVC choked on was that if they did the right thing then a woman would be right and a man would be disciplined and they just cant allow something like that. i havent seen any change.

    Before Mars Hill died, the members just kept going after any tidbit that Mark D tossed them, after the elders got fired some complained, but kept going, after alot of people spoke out and some picketed, more people stopped going, but this was happening over years and years, and people still love to hear mark driscoll talk, especially people like hillsong! the reason Mark ‘stepped down’ “was removed from pastorship” didnt have anything to do primarily with the former pastors being ‘disciplined’ and fired, and the church didnt mind when he took all the money and bought himself a best seller recognition, they kept going. only after people were personally the brunt of the system did they ever stop going. In my opinion the actual demise came about because of someone releasing marks anonymous writings online that offended enough people that membership actually dropped and financial support to run a zillion ‘campuses’ dropped. the reason i bring that up is that these 9marks, acts29, neo calvinists are convincing a hella lotta people that patriarchism is Gods will and calvinism is Gods will and that church discipline as they implement it is Gods will and no scandal that is small or harmful to women only is ever going to open peoples eyes that the whole system is not built on the Lord Jesus Christ.

  15. There is definitely a place for church discipline.

    It needs to start with people like your abusive former pastor.

  16. Leeman:

    “I once had the opportunity to address a number of the elders of a church who handled a terribly complex case of church discipline piously but poorly. The media had picked up on the story, and a number of writers, Christian and non-Christian, charged the church with abusiveness. In fact, I know the church and its leaders, and it is a gospel-centered and healthy church. The brothers made a mistake in complicated situation, a mistake for which they quickly apologized and altered course. ”

    Can we clear this up? A “mistake” is spilling your tea at Sunday lunch. Or stepping on your dog’s foot. A mistake is not intentional. It is not premeditated.

    Ripping someone’s life apart in the Name of Jesus IS NOT A MISTAKE.

  17. When I read their (TGC, Acts 29, T4G) on church discipline the only thing that starkly stands out is their question for power. Oh,, they use biblesque words in a Piperesque fashion but it is all out of proportion to what else the NT teaches. Thanks for zoning in on 1 Corin 5 which is really the ONLY “church” discipline passage out there. Paul wrote it to the ENTIRE church…to be involved in.

    Matthew 18 is not really as applicable since going to the “church” (note: this was said by Jesus before Pentecost happened.

    Has anyone ever noticed they never reference 3 John? The church of Diotrephes and the problem there?

  18. Lydia wrote:

    Matthew 18 is not really as applicable since going to the “church” (note: this was said by Jesus before Pentecost happened.

    oops, “since going to the church is the LAST step”.

  19. Daisy wrote:

    It’s very easy to demand that OTHER PEOPLE have to live under certain rules (like stay married to a serial adulterer, for instance) but it’s another kettle of fish when the same thing happens to YOU. Then all the sudden you will want that rule scrapped.

    Same reason why Divorce is de facto tolerated whil HOMOSEXUALITY(TM) is The Unpardonable Super-Sin.

  20. Gram3 wrote:

    These have massive failures of their system, and they cannot or will not face up to those failures. They will not even name them, and they remain either silent in the case of Mahaney or issue passive apologetics posts like Jonathan Leeman, Jared Wilson, Aaron Menikoff, and the various versions of the “apologies” by The Village ELDERS.

    The Party Can Do No Wrong, Comrade.

  21. Bill M wrote:

    Also there is an aspect similar to what Law Prof described on another thread, it can sucker you on. If they just said no and tossed you out the door it would be better. Instead they won’t say no and badly mistreat you, but will keep your hopes alive and when nothing is forthcoming it is even harder.

    Like the slots in a casino, programmed to Just Miss the Big Jackpot again and again.

  22. Bill M wrote:

    it can sucker you on. If they just said no and tossed you out the door it would be better. Instead they won’t say no and badly mistreat you, but will keep your hopes alive and when nothing is forthcoming it is even harder.

    And this will continue for exactly as long as people put up with it. These ‘pastors’ and ‘churches’ are not going to change. People need to walk away from these things. Yes yes, I know, it’s hard. But so it goes.

  23. Servetus was not an example of the issue of Church Discipline. The decision to execute Servetus was that of the City Council of Geneva. The charge was insurrection. Calvin agreed with the council’s decision but he did not make it nor was it a church decision. Calvin did affirm church discipline; it was a condition of his return to Geneva. But the Servetus issue only derails understanding the nature of church discipline in Geneva. See my Westminster Theological Journal article on Calvin’s view of church discipline. http://www.drstevej.com/sinews.pdf

  24. roebuck wrote:

    And this will continue for exactly as long as people put up with it. These ‘pastors’ and ‘churches’ are not going to change. People need to walk away from these things. Yes yes, I know, it’s hard. But so it goes.

    It’s a vicious circle. A primary reason why those pastors and churches get away with stuff like that is because they have “discipled” their people to see that as normal. That kind of group-think mindset is one of the characteristics of a cult.

    The only reason why people leave a situation like that is because the pain of staying is greater than the pain of leaving.

  25. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Same reason why Divorce is de facto tolerated whil HOMOSEXUALITY(TM) is The Unpardonable Super-Sin.

    It depends on what church. Some churches are just as Gestapo about divorce as they are on homosexuality.

  26. Lydia wrote:

    Ripping someone’s life apart in the Name of Jesus IS NOT A MISTAKE.

    Thank you for this.

    Jonathan Leeman, speaking for 9Marks/Acts29/TgC/T4g writes that the Village Church ELDERS “handled a terribly complex case of church discipline piously but poorly.”

    This is absolutely patently wrong. There was nothing complex about Karen Hinkley’s case which made the decisions the ELDERS made difficult unless those are unimaginably inept men. The only thing “terribly complex” is the ever-evolving explainathon we have been treated to by all of the MightyMen involved. There was no Christian piety exhibited by the ELDERS and their subsequent apologists. Though they certainly were “pious” in the sense of tripping over their very long tassels and praying loudly in the Gospel Glitterati temple courts about how seriously they take TheLocalChurch. Pay no attention at all to the way that the Lord of the church conducted himself. That is irrelevant.

  27. Steve Johnson wrote:

    The decision to execute Servetus was that of the City Council of Geneva.

    I’ll read up on the history some more but this sounds like the Jewish leaders claim they didn’t crucify Jesus, The Romans did.

  28. I find it interesting that Dee started this blog off with an example of young earth creationism. YEC. I am a Professor of Chemical Engineering at a major US university, conduct biotechnology and biomedical research, and was raised in a fundamentalist, YEC system. Thankfully, I am not one now!
    First off, I can not be an honest/thinking person and believe/follow YEC thinking.
    Second, the level of deception that YEC defenders go to is frightening, if you really understand the science behind the YEC arguments.
    Third, just has the WW repeatedly shown, when ever you challenge the power structure/system, you are made the “problem”. I have experienced this first hand when trying to discuss the problems with YEC supporters over my last 3 plus decades..
    Forth, I believe this perceived conflict between science and the bible is more deep and serious than most people realize. As I said, it is interesting that Dee started this blog off with it..
    Fifth, while I did not comment on the previous blog, the ignorance of average christians of modern science, and biology is breathtaking, and does not bode well for the future. If we think abortion is bad, just waite.. I know of stuff going on at fertility clinics that has huge potential negative impacts, yet given the anti science thinking of so many Christian leaders, they will not be able to intelligently comment or advise people… They will just make more bone head comments which will even further lower their already damaged credibility.
    Sixth, the typically way that we scientist debate ideas/concepts, is again, fundamentally opposite the way these authoritarian leaders think/operate… non wonder YEC is not going away… sigh.

  29. Steve Johnson wrote:

    Servetus was not an example of the issue of Church Discipline. The decision to execute Servetus was that of the City Council of Geneva. The charge was insurrection. Calvin agreed with the council’s decision but he did not make it nor was it a church decision. Calvin did affirm church discipline; it was a condition of his return to Geneva. But the Servetus issue only derails understanding the nature of church discipline in Geneva. See my Westminster Theological Journal article on Calvin’s view of church discipline. http://www.drstevej.com/sinews.pdf

    You’re making a highly technical distinction, could one not make the argument the city council of that time in Geneva was a de facto church council, with Calvin approving of the murder of Servetus in much the same way as Saul of Tarsus approved of the murder of Stephen; either likely had the standing to stop matters, both approved and inasmuch were moral accessories to murder.

  30. WillysJeepMan wrote:

    roebuck wrote:
    And this will continue for exactly as long as people put up with it. These ‘pastors’ and ‘churches’ are not going to change. People need to walk away from these things. Yes yes, I know, it’s hard. But so it goes.
    It’s a vicious circle. A primary reason why those pastors and churches get away with stuff like that is because they have “discipled” their people to see that as normal. That kind of group-think mindset is one of the characteristics of a cult.
    The only reason why people leave a situation like that is because the pain of staying is greater than the pain of leaving.

    Well put.

  31. This article seems to hit on what many of the ‘dones’ complained about, authoritarianism, creationism vs theistic evolution, complementarian vs egalitarian, and the LGBT stuff (by using JM).

    Out of all the sins and chaos going on in the Corinthian church, only the one in sexual sin was officially disciplined.

    That would definitely put Jonathan Merritt in the removal category, hoping to reestablish him to fellowship.

    The other problems were addressed through teaching, reasoning and warning?

    As far as primary, secondary issues or essentials and non-essentials if a person uses some of these secondary issues to choose a church it seems to have become a primary issue. I guess what I’m saying is secondary issues are important.

  32. Great post! I have rarely heard Matthew 18 preached correctly from context. It is usually twisted from a way for believers to work out their problems into a way for a pastor to clean house in his little kingdom. No thanks.

  33. “Chambering: Unmarried people living and sleeping together”

    This is supposed to be in the NT, but I notice they don’t give a verse…

  34. I feel that many of these guys use Scripture on steroids! For the life of me I do not get it- Paul was writing letters to certain groups of believers and each letter was different in how he dealt with sin issues. Some groups it seems that they had elders (older wiser men) and others they did not- in fact in the church of Thyatira there was in control of the assembly a certain prophetess named “Jezebel” (whether or not that was her real name we don’t know). So we do know that women prophesied freely in the Christian church at the time. Egregious sin was dealt with harshly, ESPECIALLY false teachers and prophets but come on……. asking questions, disagreeing, calling out sin – these are touted by these guys as egregious sin!! lol….Gimme me a break!! Conveniently those parts of scripture that deal with false prophets and teachers are conveniently left out and others are manipulated to fit the modern pastors design of what he would like his church to be. Christians today really need to start looking at NT scripture in context to what, when, how, where and to whom it was written. It is that imperative that we DO ASK questions and WE DO disagree when these guys are manipulating scripture to fit their own needs! The Bereans did with Paul.

    Stephen stated in Acts 7:48 “However the Most High does not live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that?’ asks the Lord. “Could you build me such a resting place? Didn’t my hands make both heaven and earth?’ You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth! Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit?”

  35. I would like to add that Matthew 18 church discipline proponents sometimes don’t even follow the proper steps. My roommate (the TGC blogger I told all of you about in previous comments) sent me an email (a very impersonal form of communication considering we lived together) and copied my home group leader on it. She wrote out everything she didn’t like about me and what needed to change. Oh, and I needed to get Biblical counseling if I wanted to continue to live in the house. She never spoke to me about the issues first, she just went straight to getting someone else involved. I recently found out (over a year later) that she showed the email to others.

  36. Christina wrote:

    I would like to add that Matthew 18 church discipline proponents sometimes don’t even follow the proper steps

    I now even question the whole idea of punitive discipline if it is based on Matthew 18. Jesus ends the passage by telling us to “treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector”.

    So how did Jesus treat pagans and tax collectors? He dined with them when the Pharisees would not darken their door. This is in the book of Matthew, written by Matthew, it could not have been lost on him as he had been a tax collector that Jesus sought. I don’t see anywhere in the gospels where Jesus punished or shunned tax collectors or pagans. His ire was directed at proud religious leaders.

  37. Bill M wrote:

    Christina wrote:
    I would like to add that Matthew 18 church discipline proponents sometimes don’t even follow the proper steps
    I now even question the whole idea of punitive discipline if it is based on Matthew 18. Jesus ends the passage by telling us to “treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector”.
    So how did Jesus treat pagans and tax collectors? He dined with them when the Pharisees would not darken their door. This is in the book of Matthew, written by Matthew, it could not have been lost on him as he had been a tax collector that Jesus sought. I don’t see anywhere in the gospels where Jesus punished or shunned tax collectors or pagans. His ire was directed at proud religious leaders.

    You make a good point. But I love a good shunning. It totally gives me time to see the error of my ways, and then I am really excited to get back to church.

  38. Christina wrote:

    Bill M wrote:
    Christina wrote:
    I would like to add that Matthew 18 church discipline proponents sometimes don’t even follow the proper steps
    I now even question the whole idea of punitive discipline if it is based on Matthew 18. Jesus ends the passage by telling us to “treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector”.
    So how did Jesus treat pagans and tax collectors? He dined with them when the Pharisees would not darken their door. This is in the book of Matthew, written by Matthew, it could not have been lost on him as he had been a tax collector that Jesus sought. I don’t see anywhere in the gospels where Jesus punished or shunned tax collectors or pagans. His ire was directed at proud religious leaders.

    You make a good point. But I love a good shunning. It totally gives me time to see the error of my ways, and then I am really excited to get back to church.

    Great comeback. In the one case that falls in this realm was decades ago when a group of friends confronted a fellow deep into the wrong thing. I recall it was offered more as we would stand with him when he repented. The repentance came many months later but he said we had an impact.

  39. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    I wonder if everyone would be better off if some of these men just. stopped. talking.

    They should get different jobs. Dever and Leeman can be CEOs, Mohler and Moore can be News Reporters, Piper and Chandler can be Broadway Actors, etc.

  40. Corbin wrote:

    Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
    I wonder if everyone would be better off if some of these men just. stopped. talking.
    They should get different jobs. Dever and Leeman can be CEOs, Mohler and Moore can be News Reporters, Piper and Chandler can be Broadway Actors, etc.

    No, just NO. We have work to do and these guys would be having the vapors over things like “Lady Managers.” We’re too busy for that kind of drama. (Plus our female executive VP would eat their lunch and I’d pay good money to see that.)

  41. Zla’od wrote:

    “Chambering: Unmarried people living and sleeping together”

    This is supposed to be in the NT, but I notice they don’t give a verse…

    There is no explicit statute in the New Testament which militates against sex or living together outside of marriage. The belief and mindset is derived by way of inference from various Scriptures used as iron-clad proof that shacking up and / or unmarried sex is strictly verboten. They are two of the most egregious peccadillos there is in Evangelical Christianity.

  42. @ mirele:
    True, but at least they wouldn’t be able to influence so many people. Plus, those jobs are kind of perfect for them. I’m pretty sure Mohler dreams of having his own news network (GNN). And we all know Dever and his crew love telling people what they can and can’t do. Hey, maybe Doug Wilson could be a marriage counselor?

  43. @ Muff Potter:
    I would love to see a good treatise on when God actually sees a man and woman married, from scripture alone, their rules (plain English text weighted far over cultural context/original language).

    It would be high comedy.

  44. Steve Johnson wrote:

    But the Servetus issue only derails understanding the nature of church discipline in Geneva.

    That is the understatement of the year. Ever read the Book of Minutes of the Genevan City Coucil? The type of “church/state” discipline there is mind boggling.

    Here are a few:

    *A man who publicly protested against the reformer’s doctrine of predestination was flogged at all the crossways of the city and then expelled.
    •A book printer who in his cups [columns] had railed at Calvin, was sentenced to have his tongue perforated with a red-hot iron before being expelled from the city.
    •Jacques Gruent was racked and then executed for calling Calvin a hypocrite.

    And hundreds more just like these. Of course, Calvin is totally innocent and had no power. Heard it a million a times. I have read everything I can find on the Servetus situation and I will say I am more apt to trust an Agnostic Jew like Zweig than any Reformed Christian interpretation of that period of history. I do know the burning of Servetus was premeditated by Calvin and was actually premeditated murder. He wrote a friend long before Servetus came to Geneva… that if he ever did….he would not leave alive.

    So much for Calvin’s lack of power. (He only wrote he wanted a beheading AFTER the fact cos those were for civil crimes and it would be on the magistrates head) People forget that Servetus was not a citizen of Geneva and non citizens were usually banished for heresy…not burned.

  45. @ Muff Potter:

    I was wondering if the Samaritan woman falls into that category? Was she married and living with another man? Or just living with a man and not married?

  46. Wow TWW is right about church covenants. They’re legal documents in every sense of the word. I was raised Anglican (Episcopalian) and had never heard of such things. My wife was raised Pentecostal (Assemblies of God) and had never heard of such a thing. It appears to be rather recent on the church scene (my wife and I are in our mid 40’s). The A of G church my wife attends (I’m a “done”) started this around 2004 – neither of us signed the covenant. The church had collectively went through Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church – a book that starts with a covenant (and that was the time I left the church). Did all of this start with Warren? When did “signing on the dotted line” become a condition of membership? Just wondering about the history of the modern church covenant.

  47. Christina wrote:

    She never spoke to me about the issues first, she just went straight to getting someone else involved.

    Now that is a snake in the grass. A knife in the back. They are all about “sin sniffing” others aren’t they?

  48. Jack wrote:

    It appears to be rather recent on the church scene (my wife and I are in our mid 40’s). The A of G church my wife attends (I’m a “done”) started this around 2004 – neither of us signed the covenant. The church had collectively went through Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church – a book that starts with a covenant (and that was the time I left the church). Did all of this start with Warren? When did “signing on the dotted line” become a condition of membership? Just wondering about the history of the modern church covenant.

    Warren was the first time I had heard of it, too. Some mega churches I was familiar with incorporated something similar to it in their “Membership Classes” but it was not a requirement that I remember. They were more concerned with filling the theatre seats with warm bodies for the 4 weekend services and dollars in the offering plate.

    But I do believe Warren sort of resurrected the idea from the horrors of church/state history.

  49. @ Christina:

    LOL You love a good shunning? It reminds me of James Bond in Goldeneye when he is in the hands of Russian authorities.

    “I really love a good interrogation, no one knows how to do a good interrogation any more…” 😛

  50. @ Corbin:

    I want to see John Piper sing “Dance 10, Looks 3” from A Chorus Line. You don’t know what it is Corbin google “Dance 10, Looks 3′ in Youtube and watch it! :-O

  51. Once again, they can never use specifics when addressing a current situation. They’re scared to death of their readers doing their own research. That cravenness is the antithesis of Christlike.

    Has anyone else been enjoying all the old reruns of The Simpsons on FXX? I understand if this is not the group for that, and maybe only HUG can back me up on this, but something hit me the other day:

    Mark Dever = Montgomery Burns
    Jonathan Leeman = Waylon Smithers

    And then,

    Mark Driscoll = Leader of the Movementarians
    Paul David Tripp = Ned Flanders. That’s not necessarily an insult, I think we need more pastors as godly as Neddy!

    @ Corbin:

    That sounds like the basis for some incredible sketch comedy. Incredibly great or terrible, I don’t know. Will TWW ever branch into other forms of media and we can make this happen?

  52. Stan wrote:

    That sounds like the basis for some incredible sketch comedy.

    I’d love to see the articles they’d right about it. 😀

  53. Corbin wrote:

    Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
    I wonder if everyone would be better off if some of these men just. stopped. talking.
    They should get different jobs. Dever and Leeman can be CEOs, Mohler and Moore can be News Reporters, Piper and Chandler can be Broadway Actors, etc.

    Here’s the rub: Are any of them particularly accomplished or have they shown any talents outside the narrow sphere of control and influence in which they exist?

    Note: I am not suggesting they have any legitimate talents even in those narrow spheres; by way of illustration, it takes precious little talent to do what Driscoll did, it takes the speaking abilities of the 3rd best speaker at your local Toastmaster’s Club coupled with a willingness to say anything to draw a crowd and the ruthlessness to do anything to anyone at anytime to maintain that crowd while consolidating power. It requires ruthlessness and cynicism, it does not require merit.

  54. Muff Potter wrote:

    Zla’od wrote:
    “Chambering: Unmarried people living and sleeping together”
    This is supposed to be in the NT, but I notice they don’t give a verse…
    There is no explicit statute in the New Testament which militates against sex or living together outside of marriage. The belief and mindset is derived by way of inference from various Scriptures used as iron-clad proof that shacking up and / or unmarried sex is strictly verboten. They are two of the most egregious peccadillos there is in Evangelical Christianity.

    There is fornication, you know. That’s not an inference.

  55. Eagle wrote:

    I want to see John Piper sing “Dance 10, Looks 3″ from A Chorus Line. You don’t know what it is Corbin google “Dance 10, Looks 3′ in Youtube and watch it! :-O

    I suppose John Piper might be more inclined to play the part of a knight. In that case, Lancelot would be just the role for him…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onKu000HRHs

    😀

  56. Law Prof wrote:

    Here’s the rub: Are any of them particularly accomplished or have they shown any talents outside the narrow sphere of control and influence in which they exist?

    In my opinion, no. I think that, for all their counter-cultural, We-are-Elijah talk, their actions are more in line with some of their worldly counterparts than they’d admit. Dever and Leeman function as over-controlling managers/bosses, Mohler and Moore as cheesy, biased news anchors, and Piper and Chandler as Mellow-dramatic daytime talk show hosts. The main difference is a well maintained pious exterior.

  57. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:

    “I wonder if everyone would be better off if some of these men just. stopped. talking”
    +++++++++++++++

    of course we would. it would be the greatest thing to happen to everyone.

    it would be like a constant buzz all of a sudden mercifully stopping and the relief of peace and quiet takes people by surprise. it would also be like someone finally taking out the cat litter from the litter box.

    in fact, everyone can come over to my house on Sunday morning and Wednesday night.

    We’ll have some great things to eat and drink, lots of laughs. we’ll sing some heart-felt songs at the piano — maybe have everyone write down a few favorites, then we’ll simply put together a short set of the songs that got the most votes.

    we’ll have a rip roarin’ dynamite time praying using the Moms In Prayer format I’ve been using the past 4 years. We use so much bible in our prayer times it’s just as rich and hearty as prime rib, Yorkshire pudding, gravy, baked potato, green beans, red wine, and dark chocolate. By the end of our time together we’ll all feel like taking off into the sky like Superman and Wonder Woman.

    And I’ll be facilitating it. Because I’m a good leader and I know what i’m doing.

  58. The other day, I ran across the membership application of a church in my city that included this:
    “Please describe in your own words your understanding of “submission to the loving rule of the elders over you” (Hebrews 13:17)
    Are you willing to submit to that loving rule? ____ Yes ____ No ”

    Only a year or so ago, I wouldn’t have thought much of the question and would answered “sure” with some vague and properly scripture explanation of my understanding.

    Now, I think I’d be inclined to require some answers from the pastor/elders first (answers also to be given in writing, of course!):
    1) Please describe in your own words your understanding of Matthew 23:8-10, 1 Peter 5:2-3, Ephesians 5:21, John 14:26, 1 Peter 2:9,
    2) Do you see the role of the elder board to be mediators of the Spirit, explaining God’s will to church members? In what areas of a believer’s life would the “rule” of the elders apply?
    3) What exactly does “loving” mean?
    4) In what circumstance might you consider disagreeing with the council of an elder as a failure to submit and to be cause for church discipline?
    5) Do you consider seeking council outside the elders of the church as a failure to submit and to be cause for church discipline?

  59. I may have lost the plot here, but doesn’t the Apostle Paul list the kind of things we should withdraw fellowship over in 1 Cor 5?

    I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber–not even to eat with such a one.

    These are the particular sins that need to be ‘disciplined’, and by the whole church, not just elders. I find it interesting that when Paul wrote 1 Cor he addressed it to the whole church, not to any system of elders. OK, this was early in the life of the church and some of these other ministries or structures developed later, but the NT is addressed to all believers, not some special cast who can act as though they are superior to your bog-standard believer. The church is to judge such sins and those who do them, and the church is to ‘remove the wicked person from among them’ if there is no alternative due to a refusal to change direction.

    I would suggest that a church where you have to have leaders to do this is simply too big.

    The list above does not include adherence to a system of theology, whether an Arminian, Calvinist or any other. The word shunning is conspicuous by its absence.

    You can’t get much further away from the apostolic teaching of the NT where not only is immorality in the form of child abuse not disciplined of dealt with, but is actually covered up instead; and those who would seek quite correctly to expose and have it dealt with as members of the church are the ones on the receiving end of ‘discipline’. Not only that, but they can be reviled (verbally abusive in the NET bible) for doing so, one of the very sins Paul lists as an occasion for dis-fellowshipping! An absolutely absurd situation.

  60. elastigirl wrote:

    dark chocolate.

    I’m there! Seriously this sounds good even to someone as currently jaded as me.

    Christina wrote:

    But I love a good shunning. It totally gives me time to see the error of my ways, and then I am really excited to get back to church.

    Mmmm mmm, me too. You are totally a usurping woman & I’m glad to see you here 🙂

  61. Law Prof wrote:
    You’re making a highly technical distinction, could one not make the argument the city council of that time in Geneva was a de facto church council, with Calvin approving of the murder of Servetus in much the same way as Saul of Tarsus approved of the murder of Stephen; either likely had the standing to stop matters, both approved and inasmuch were moral accessories to murder.

    Dragging the Servetus Affair into modern debates over church discipline is a red herring. It must be remembered that in 16th century Europe there *was no separation of Church and State*. Given Servetus’ beliefs, it was merely a question of whether or not it would be the Catholics or the Protestants who caught and executed him. The church tried him, found him guilty of heresy, and turned him over to the secular authorities for execution. It’s how things were done then. Doesn’t make it right, but it’s how *everybody* (Anabaptists excepted) did it. Singling out Calvin and Geneva for blame in the Affair simply papers over the fact that anybody else, in any other town, would have done the same thing back then.

  62. __

    Hanger 18: “Is Theistic Evolution, Your 501(c)3 Church’s Pulpit Organics ?”

    hmmm…

    (the following article is taken from www.compellingtruth.org)

    “Theistic evolution is an attempt to accommodate both the existence of a Creator-God Who made the universe and the interpretation of scientific evidence that claims the universe is billions of years old. 

    It states that God used evolution in His process of creation, the basic framework of evolution is true, and the first two chapters of Genesis—the creation account—are allegorical.

    There are two basic schools of theistic evolution.

    The minimalist view differs from atheistic evolution only on one point—the beginning of creation. 

    It teaches that God first determined and established the physical laws of the universe with a mind to eventually develop human life. 

    Then He initiated the Big Bang (or whatever phenomenon marked the first moment of our cosmos). 

    After that point, when it came to the development and care of life on Earth, God stepped back and let His laws dictate what would happen. 

    About half of all Catholics, Orthodox, and mainline Protestants hold this view, as well as most Buddhists, Hindus, and Jews.

    Evolutionary creationism is less minimalistic. 

    It says that God did use evolution, but He still remained somewhat involved, occasionally nudging the universe in the direction it should go. 

    In particular, as species went extinct, God spontaneously created new species to take their place. 

    This theory is held more by conservative Christians who wish to keep God involved.

    Because the evolutionary timeline of the Earth conflicts so thoroughly with the Genesis creation account, theistic evolutionists reinterpret the first two chapters of Genesis. 

    Some use the “day/age” theory which states that each “day” of creation actually means an unspecified duration of time—an age. 

    Others use the framework theory, which is similar but identifies the first age with the fourth, the second with the fifth, and the third with the sixth.

    Theistic evolution is valued by two particular people-groups. 

    The first is believers who wish to be able to engage intelligently with the secular scientific community. 

    Perhaps as an overreaction to the church’s history of condemning any science that appeared to contradict the Bible or other church teaching, many theologians flock to theistic evolution in an attempt to show their support for science. 

    In doing so, they hope to relate to atheistic evolutionists and show how science and God can coexist. 

    Theistic evolution is also adopted by younger Christians who are faced with the seemingly insurmountable evidence of evolution. 

    Not wishing to abandon their faith, they change their view of creation instead.

    The second group who welcomes theistic evolution is scientists who become Christians. 

    Young-earth creationism is in no way accepted or respected within the scientific community, and even if a scientist could accept a young earth after a lifetime of believing in evolution, the scientist’s profession would not allow it. 

    Many Christian scientists see theistic evolution as a way to combine their newfound love of God with their long-established belief in evolution.

    As creative as theistic evolution theories can be, however, there is no way to mesh them with the Genesis 1-2 account of creation without such twisting and warping as to make the text unrecognizable. 

    No matter how the scholars try to insist otherwise, the “day” used in Genesis 1 means “one literal day.” 

    It does not mean age or epoch or any other kind of unspecified amount of time. God created the world in six days. 

    Noah’s Flood explains most of the fossil record. 

    Much of the rest we just don’t know yet.

    One of the most cherished, although least-publicized, assumptions in the scientific world is that of fallibilism. 

    Fallibilism says that since humans have limited intellects, we cannot know the truth about anything. 

    Any scientific theory could be proved wrong at any moment. 

    In response, scientists do not work with “truth,” but with models—approximations that appear to express the truth about a situation as well as we can determine at this point. 

    In the case of the development of the universe, no human now living was there to see what really happened. 

    ***

    ‘Model this?’

    Trusting the Divine Biblical Penman or the scientist with his shovel and his theories?

    As a result, we have our choice of two models: 

    …what the Creator (Who was there) says in the Bible, 

    or 

    what limited human intellect has inferred from the evidence so far. 

    Both models seem to explain the physical evidence, but only one is the eye-witness testimony of the One Who did the work. 

    What one believes about creation, evolution, or theistic evolution is not a salvation issue however; it will not determine our salvation. But it will indicate what we value more—the Word of the Creator(the message of the holy scriptures), or the interpretations of man.

    What do you think?

    hmmm…

    Does this stuff ‘add up’ ?

    Some folks don’t really know,
    Some folks don’t really care,
    Some folks believe they are just mak’in stuff up,
    Some folks just cram stuff down your throat,
    Some folks just give you da left boot,
    Some are pushing the possiblility of an alien invasion… (little gray space aliens?) n’ bringing their own ‘bully pulpit’…

    (grin)

    hahahahahaha

    ATB

    Sopy
    __
    Comic relief: The Birds “Mr. Spaceman” 10/22/67
    https://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=fzkU_ckRXHY

    Article reference:
    http://www.compellingtruth.org/theistic-evolution.html

    🙂

  63. __

    “Revise This?”

    hmmm…

    muzjik wrote:

    The other day, I ran across the membership application of a church in my city that included this:
    “Please describe in your own words your understanding of “submission to the loving rule of the elders over you” (Hebrews 13:17)
    Are you willing to submit to that loving rule? ____ Yes ____ No ”

    Only a year or so ago, I wouldn’t have thought much of the question and would answered “sure” with some vague and properly scripture explanation of my understanding.

    Now, I think I’d be inclined to require some answers from the pastor/elders first (answers also to be given in writing, of course!):

    1) Please describe in your own words your understanding of Matthew 23:8-10, 1 Peter 5:2-3, Ephesians 5:21, John 14:26, 1 Peter 2:9,

    2) Do you see the role of the elder board to be mediators of the Spirit, explaining God’s will to church members? In what areas of a believer’s life would the “rule” of the elders apply?

    3) What exactly does “loving” mean?

    4) In what circumstance might you consider disagreeing with the council of an elder as a failure to submit and to be cause for church discipline?

    5) Do you consider seeking council outside the elders of the church as a failure to submit and to be cause for church discipline?

    ***

    muzjik,

    hey,

    A response?

    What?

    Stunned, these ‘elders’ would more than likely ‘politely’ show you the door, when they regain their composure that is.

  64.   __

    Dee, Matthew 18 isn’t going to help you as you approach a pastor who follows his bible closely, with suggestions that you be allowed to teach what is not in the scriptures, in your case some form of the theory of evolution. Because evolution is not included in the creation story, many churches, many elders, and pastorial leaders frown upon it’s teaching on church property. 

    In some churches, if you caused this type of disturbance, you would be asked to step down from teaching. If you persisted, asked to remove yourself from the premiss.

  65. @ Sopwith:
    As a practicing scientist/engineer, the breadth and scope of many of the statements/generalization made are just plain wrong in your post, and the article from which they come…..( I assume you posted for discussion, and I am not directly commenting about you ) .
    Many of the statements are typical of “Christian apologist” that seem to think they are experts, and can make these grand statements… Not unlike the YRR preachers, and their elder boards, and all of these membership contracts with respect to how members should behave.

  66. I mentioned this in the off topic thread, but I’ll say it here again. As you know, I’ve been struggling with gender issues and the teaching of my church. I almost just walked away because I was afraid of causing dissension and anger, etc. But I did approach my pastor(s) and had a conversation with them. They did not rebuke me, or become angry, or try to control me. In fact, they argued that I should not skip the gender roles week of the Bible study, but rather bring up our arguments from scripture and discuss them with the group.

    We obviously disagree and still will, these things do not change overnight, but there are churches that invite disagreement and see it as making us all stronger. I’ve been at enough that don’t that I was concerned, but sometimes you can go to a pastor in private and it actually be a rewarding experience.

    I just want to put a little positivity out there, if I might do so 🙂

  67. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    I find it interesting that Dee started this blog off with an example of young earth creationism. YEC. I am a Professor of Chemical Engineering at a major US university, conduct biotechnology and biomedical research, and was raised in a fundamentalist, YEC system. Thankfully, I am not one now!
    First off, I can not be an honest/thinking person and believe/follow YEC thinking.
    Second, the level of deception that YEC defenders go to is frightening, if you really understand the science behind the YEC arguments.
    Third, just has the WW repeatedly shown, when ever you challenge the power structure/system, you are made the “problem”. I have experienced this first hand when trying to discuss the problems with YEC supporters over my last 3 plus decades..
    Forth, I believe this perceived conflict between science and the bible is more deep and serious than most people realize. As I said, it is interesting that Dee started this blog off with it..
    Fifth, while I did not comment on the previous blog, the ignorance of average christians of modern science, and biology is breathtaking, and does not bode well for the future. If we think abortion is bad, just waite.. I know of stuff going on at fertility clinics that has huge potential negative impacts, yet given the anti science thinking of so many Christian leaders, they will not be able to intelligently comment or advise people… They will just make more bone head comments which will even further lower their already damaged credibility.
    Sixth, the typically way that we scientist debate ideas/concepts, is again, fundamentally opposite the way these authoritarian leaders think/operate… non wonder YEC is not going away… sigh.

    The. YEC is a troublesome bunch. I know one who is a graduate of a SBC seminary and now teaches science in a North Texas high school. I often wonder if the man who taught him science in high school knows? His is RC and like many Catholics has no problem with God and the evolutionary process. I fear for what is being taught in Texas schools today…

  68. Steve Johnson wrote:

    Servetus was not an example of the issue of Church Discipline.

    You are mostly correct. This was an example of governmental over-reach. They conflated the function of government with that of religion because they were running a theocracy. The appearance of separation was cosmetic.

    Burning Servetus was also ideological power-hunger. In this way, it is similar to what parades as church discipline these days. Geneva’s governing men, at the behest of Calvin, killed a person before God would have brought him to the end of his life merely because of a handful of different religious beliefs.

    Consider the clarity of Jesus’ parable of The Wheat and the Tares. Calvin and his followers thought they could choose who was which and burn those they decided were tares. They usurped God’s authority. Utter arrogance.

    Consider also that the foundation of their faith is love and also the upside-down world of “the first shall be last and the last, first”.

    Thus, accuracy would call Calvin et al the greater heretics. I understand that would be hard to swallow while steeped in Calvinism at Westminster, but I encourage you to give it some consideration.

  69. Dee said: “2. Secondly, it is worrisome to me that he only mentions *brothers.* Women should be are involved, even in his decidedly patriarchal system. Perhaps including the *sisters* once in awhile might lead to better understanding of the pain involved in a situation. Sidelining 50%+ of your church means you are losing out on some excellent input.”

    Tis true, tis so true. It really is crazy that their “biblical” system silences half of the priesthood. Am so grateful/thankful to be apart from it. My marriage is so much better.

  70. Eagle wrote:

    Speaking of bad taste and only Mel Brooks can do something like this and get away with it. But have you seen “Springtime for Hitler” from The Producers?

    Yes I have. I think the modern version is even funnier in some regards, like in the scene where Hitler comes out… 😮

    https://youtu.be/gA4tvn0WGwA?t=358

  71. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    Second, the level of deception that YEC defenders go to is frightening, if you really understand the science behind the YEC arguments….

    Forth, I believe this perceived conflict between science and the bible is more deep and serious than most people realize….

    Fifth, while I did not comment on the previous blog, the ignorance of average christians of modern science, and biology is breathtaking, and does not bode well for the future.

    I agree. Our knowledge of the world and what we can do because of it grows by leaps&bounds, far more quickly than our ability to process ethically. We are needed! Yet the faster it goes, the more recalcitrant these Christians become. They lie, cheat and connive in order to stay out of it, and these actions are not only sins in their faith, but also well understood as unacceptable by people with no or different faith.

    These Christians cannot even begin to comprehend that it is their God-given responsibility to be full participants in science. They are called there as witnesses and salt. Their rejection has consequences.

    Moreover, learning/exploring God’s creation reveals more and more of God’s glory and it is very sad that they shut themselves away from that joy.

  72. Jeff S wrote:

    We obviously disagree and still will, these things do not change overnight, but there are churches that invite disagreement and see it as making us all stronger.

    I am always glad to hear about such a church.

  73. @ Patrice</b
    To take this last post further, I never felt supported in my pursuit of a science career; in fact, I felt shunned for doing it…. I am one of the "compromised ones"….
    The thing that really gets me, though, that this same flavor of Christianity will embrace/use modern medicine/technology, yet reject the fundamentals that allow modern society to develop it!! I could go on an on with specific examples….

  74. “I believe that the problem for the church today is the rise of the authoritarian leaders who believe that their words trump the words of the church member.”

    Amen Dee! Great post!

    Authoritarian leaders do not want believers to know that individual believers are themselves priests! They don’t want the pew to know that each believer’s soul is competent to stand before God for instruction. They don’t want you to realize that the Holy Spirit is your teacher who can lead you into all truth, without having to rely on the filter of mere men. If they can keep you away from these Kingdom truths, they can control you. If their weakness overcomes your strength, they own you.

    As a 60+ year Southern Baptist, an interesting thing happened when the Baptist Faith and Message was revised in 2000. At that time, New Calvinism was beginning to raise its ugly head in SBC ranks. The revision team included prominent reformed philosophers, such as Al Mohler. That influence successfully diminished long-held Baptist doctrines of “priesthood of the believer” and “soul competency.” They had concerns over putting too much “belief” into the hands of individual believers! When you think about it, that’s essentially what Calvin did in his persecution of the Anabaptists who had launched the free church movement of baptized believers capable of standing individually in their faith. Calvin and his minions saw this as a threat to the reformers’ intent to establish a “Christian” utopia completely under the control of the elite. Nothing was supposed to be taught or believed unless it was rubber-stamped by church authority and they had the magisterial clout of the State to back them up. True biblical discipline cannot operate under elder-rule governance in New Calvinist works … only in the free church where the final step in Matthew 18 instructions is to “take it the church” … the church, not the elders. The true church of baptized believers has enough spiritual sense to handle that which goes contrary to God without the elders dictating what is right and wrong. Unfortunately, so many young believers have been Mohlerized and led away by the Pied Pipers of New Calvinism and don’t fully realize they can personally tap into the mind of God to discern that which ails the church. There is so much clutter in the 21st century church, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find the genuine amongst all the counterfeit. Believers, pray for discernment before you join yourselves to any church in America. You have power to test the spirits … use it!

  75. Sopwith wrote:

    What one believes about creation, evolution, or theistic evolution is not a salvation issue however; it will not determine our salvation. But it will indicate what we value more—the Word of the Creator(the message of the holy scriptures), or the interpretations of man.

    Our bedrock scientific theories are quantum mechanics and general relativity dating from the early 20th century. Both have been tested to the limits of our creativity and passed all tests. Such science is responsible for the currently accepted billions of years age of the universe and our solar system. Perhaps less obvious is the same science leads to the technologies that enable the conversations we have here.

    Lets give God credit for dictating words to a prescientific agrarian people that at the same time can be meaningfully interpreted in our time 4000 years after they were given.

    Reading early Genesis as dating creation to 6000 years ago is as much an interpretation of the scriptures as the old age creation that is implied by present science. By not understanding and accepting our present science we are muting our collective voice in dealing with the severe moral issues that are going to arise from the very rapidly development of the science and applications of genomics, the message I hoped to convey in my very recent guest post.

  76. Corbin wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:
    Here’s the rub: Are any of them particularly accomplished or have they shown any talents outside the narrow sphere of control and influence in which they exist?
    In my opinion, no. I think that, for all their counter-cultural, We-are-Elijah talk, their actions are more in line with some of their worldly counterparts than they’d admit. Dever and Leeman function as over-controlling managers/bosses, Mohler and Moore as cheesy, biased news anchors, and Piper and Chandler as Mellow-dramatic daytime talk show hosts. The main difference is a well maintained pious exterior.

    I’d like to add another difference: Having been in the corporate world, legal world and academic world, I seriously doubt that any of those religious leaders have the abilities of a Donald Trump or Dan Rather or Oprah. Those tyrannical managers, biased news anchors and maudlin, self-important talk show hosts may have their faults, but they also have their distinctions, they are genuinely talented.

    I do not see that in any of the people you mentioned, they are nothing like their real world counterparts, they are strictly amateurs who I doubt could ever make it in a field in which legitimate talent was sine qua non.

  77. Eeyore wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:
    You’re making a highly technical distinction, could one not make the argument the city council of that time in Geneva was a de facto church council, with Calvin approving of the murder of Servetus in much the same way as Saul of Tarsus approved of the murder of Stephen; either likely had the standing to stop matters, both approved and inasmuch were moral accessories to murder.
    Dragging the Servetus Affair into modern debates over church discipline is a red herring. It must be remembered that in 16th century Europe there *was no separation of Church and State*. Given Servetus’ beliefs, it was merely a question of whether or not it would be the Catholics or the Protestants who caught and executed him. The church tried him, found him guilty of heresy, and turned him over to the secular authorities for execution. It’s how things were done then. Doesn’t make it right, but it’s how *everybody* (Anabaptists excepted) did it. Singling out Calvin and Geneva for blame in the Affair simply papers over the fact that anybody else, in any other town, would have done the same thing back then.

    We’re in agreement. Your point about there not being a church-state distinction was my point precisely, since this did not exist, the actions of Geneva with Calvin’s blessings and encouragement (surely you have read his famous letter on the matter) were the equivalent of a church disciplinary proceeding in that day.

  78. @ Eeyore:
    They usually bannished non citizen heretcs. Why burn Servetus? There was one person in Geneva who knew Servetus from school in France and then had correspondence from him a few years prior to his traveling through Geneva. That person had already documented premeditation in a letter. That person was Calvin.

    I am often grateful such things are no longer legal. But when leaders seek so much control it is naive to think they would restrain themselves from similar if legal. The 1930-40 were not that long ago.

  79. @ Jeffrey J Chalmers:

    Hi, Jeffrey J. Stick around. A number of us here have academic backgrounds in various sciences and are followers of Jesus and somehow have managed to survive both intellectually and spiritually in spite of the YEC wars and such. But, yes, it gets exasperating at times.

  80. lydia wrote:

    I am often grateful such things are no longer legal. But when leaders seek so much control it is naive to think they would restrain themselves from similar if legal. The 1930-40 were not that long ago.

    Ah, but this time The Right God-Anointed Ones WILL Be In Charge!

    (Just like “This Time We WILL Achieve True Communism!”)

  81. Law Prof wrote:

    I do not see that in any of the people you mentioned, they are nothing like their real world counterparts, they are strictly amateurs who I doubt could ever make it in a field in which legitimate talent was sine qua non.

    Which is why they’re Big Names in the CHRISTIANESE Bubble.

    Just like Christianese Artists, writers, and musicians — they’re there because they wouldn’t be able to make it outside, and in the Bible Bubble they have a guaranteed audience who doesn’t know any better who are required to like their stuff because God! Bible!

  82. GovPappy wrote:

    Doesn’t it seem like a lot of their church discipline issues could be fixed by just canceling the 15 conferences and book signings and TGC banquets or whatever the heck goes on these days and simply sit down with the members with grievances and honestly and humbly hearing them out over a cup of coffee?

    You mean actually pastoring?

  83. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    a guaranteed audience who doesn’t know any better

    I had a conversation with a 29 year old “elder” in an SBC church plant who essentially told me that the Millennial generation was easy pickins for New Calvinism. When you couple that with thousands of traditional SBC churches with “people of the Word” in the pews who don’t read it much, you have the makings of a straightforward takeover by aberrant theology of the largest (but dwindling) denomination in America.

  84. @ elastigirl:
    Obviously you are not a good leader, since you have “girl” in your name, which means you don’t have testes, which is the Primary Requirement for BiblicalTM leadership. But I suppose my real question is, what kind of Church Covenant are you using? 😉

  85. GovPappy wrote:

    pastor coming down from his public speaking throne and (God forbid!) engage personally with a member.

    Oh brother Pappy, that would be old-school! Speaking of old-school, my parent’s pastor was Adrian Rogers, who faithfully led the 28,000 member Bellevue Baptist Church in Arlington, TN. Even though he was mega-church leader, he found time to visit and pray with hospitalized Bellevue members; his workdays were long. My mother was the recipient of his personal pastoral care during her ailments. He loved and cared the flock God had entrusted him with and fulfilled his ministry. SBC’s New Calvinist leaders question Dr. Rogers’ message and style; they will be surprised to learn that Jesus didn’t.

  86. @ Law Prof & Daisy :

    This would be a barn burner of a topic over at the free thread. We could argue from now until the ice sheets start moving South again and still not convince the other. At this point the only thing I would say is let each be convinced in his or her own mind.

  87. Pingback: Linkathon! » PhoenixPreacher | PhoenixPreacher UNITED STATES

  88. Eeyore wrote:

    The church tried him, found him guilty of heresy, and turned him over to the secular authorities for execution. It’s how things were done then. Doesn’t make it right, but it’s how *everybody* (Anabaptists excepted) did it. Singling out Calvin and Geneva for blame in the Affair simply papers over the fact that anybody else, in any other town, would have done the same thing back then.

    Judging those in the past by modern standards can be troublesome as you say, Martin Luther and antisemitism, Washington owning slaves for example. On the other hand explaining away Calvin’s complicity in an execution as “everyone did it” papers over a horrible act that is timeless.

    I would want the person who carries so much influence to be someone who rose above their time and not participated in its most disturbing characteristics. I tend to set aside as suspicious someone who was complicit in burning another they disagreed with.

  89. Law Prof wrote:

    I do not see that in any of the people you mentioned, they are nothing like their real world counterparts, they are strictly amateurs who I doubt could ever make it in a field in which legitimate talent was sine qua non.

    I agree. Gram said a little while ago that they’re poor imitations of the world. That’s basically what I was commenting on. Well, maybe Piper would be a good actor! 😀

  90. Max wrote:

    I had a conversation with a 29 year old “elder” in an SBC church plant who essentially told me that the Millennial generation was easy pickins for New Calvinism.

    As a previous young generation was easy pickins for Fascism and Communism.

  91. Bill M wrote:

    Doesn’t make it right, but it’s how *everybody* (Anabaptists excepted) did it. Singling out Calvin and Geneva for blame in the Affair simply papers over the fact that anybody else, in any other town, would have done the same thing back then.

    I see absolutely nothing of Christ in Calvin. Nothing. He was cold, shrewd, and power-crazed. There, I said it. However proximate his involvement in the execution of Servetus was or was not, he was clearly complicit, and no amount of ‘that’s how it was done back then’ cuts any ice with me.

  92. Bill M wrote:

    Eeyore wrote:

    The church tried him, found him guilty of heresy, and turned him over to the secular authorities for execution. It’s how things were done then. Doesn’t make it right, but it’s how *everybody* (Anabaptists excepted) did it. Singling out Calvin and Geneva for blame in the Affair simply papers over the fact that anybody else, in any other town, would have done the same thing back then.

    Judging those in the past by modern standards can be troublesome as you say, Martin Luther and antisemitism, Washington owning slaves for example. On the other hand explaining away Calvin’s complicity in an execution as “everyone did it” papers over a horrible act that is timeless.

    I would want the person who carries so much influence to be someone who rose above their time and not participated in its most disturbing characteristics. I tend to set aside as suspicious someone who was complicit in burning another they disagreed with.

    This.

    Whenever your argument can simply be countered with “He was complicit in having someone burned alive for believing something”, no amount of explanation is going to explain that away for me.

  93. Bill M wrote:

    I would want the person who carries so much influence to be someone who rose above their time and not participated in its most disturbing characteristics.

    Bingo. And it meant putting your life in danger for not going along with the powers. Martyrs Mirror is full of them often without names. Just dates of executions, drownings, burnings and perhaps their occupation such as miller, blacksmith, cobbler, etc.

  94. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:
    I do not see that in any of the people you mentioned, they are nothing like their real world counterparts, they are strictly amateurs who I doubt could ever make it in a field in which legitimate talent was sine qua non.
    Which is why they’re Big Names in the CHRISTIANESE Bubble.
    Just like Christianese Artists, writers, and musicians — they’re there because they wouldn’t be able to make it outside, and in the Bible Bubble they have a guaranteed audience who doesn’t know any better who are required to like their stuff because God! Bible!

    There’s Christian and then there’s the psuedo-Christian world of Gospel Boys. There are some legitimate contenders in the Christian world:

    Amy Grant has a voice that would stand up to any secular star (and I heard her sing a cappella before almost 100,000 and was speechless),

    Billy Graham is truly a fine speaker who could hold his own against the likes of JFK,

    Phil Keaggy is as fine a fingerstyle guitarist as any in the world,

    King David was one of those genuises we see once in a millenium: brilliant musician, poet, statesman, general,

    Dostoevsky perhaps the greatest writer of the last 150 years,

    Bach one of the greatest composers of all time, and a fine mathematician to boot,

    Michaelangelo late in life turned to Christ and it did nothing to blunt his genius as sculptor, painter, architect,

    Kierkegaard was a brilliant philosopher (and also deeply critical of 19th century church leaders)

    So there are some very legit Christian contributions, but these guys, I don’t even know if they are Christians, and even if they are, it’s hard to see anything Christian about the contribution.

  95. Patrice wrote:

    Burning Servetus was also ideological power-hunger. In this way, it is similar to what parades as church discipline these days. Geneva’s governing men, at the behest of Calvin, killed a person before God would have brought him to the end of his life merely because of a handful of different religious beliefs.
    Consider the clarity of Jesus’ parable of The Wheat and the Tares. Calvin and his followers thought they could choose who was which and burn those they decided were tares. They usurped God’s authority. Utter arrogance.

    Here’s a Jonathan Leeman article I’ve not previously linked, which is chilling in its view of those with differing beliefs.  http://9marks.org/article/how-church-discipline-will-save-parachurch/
    First– what must be “saved” from liberals and those lacking sufficient “ecclesiological distinctives”? The parachurch! Not the church!  Not people (whom God delights to save). And to what does Leeman liken those people (loved by God) whose beliefs don’t quite measure up?  He likens those divine-image-bearers to the crud you scoop out of gutters. Or the slimely, gunky hair balls you Drano from your trap. “But the point still stands: Jesus authorized only one institution on earth to clean the kingdom gutters and unclog its pipes—the local church.”
    And what does the “local” (note– never once used as an adjective modifying “church” in the Biblical, Gospelly Bible) church plumber use to snake the drains and flush away the tare-ish hereticks?
    Why– “church” (note– never once used as an adjective modifying “discipline” in the Biblical, Gospelly, Gospelly, Winsome Bible) discipline, of course!
    Contrast with the Biblical Apostle Paul, who wrote, likely referencing the ONLY person ever punished (not disciplined– discipline is ALWAYS carried out by a superior such as God or parents in the winsome, never-bitter, never-gossipy, always-Gospelly Bible) by a church (not a “local” one but a whole city-full of believers including he local church of Paul, the local church of Apollos, the local church of Cephas, and the local Church of Christ but not the local church of Calvin) in the entire Bible: “The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient.  Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.”  II Cor 2:6-8
    My humble apologies for all the distracting parenthetical notes. 

  96. Eeyore wrote:

    The church tried him, found him guilty of heresy, and turned him over to the secular authorities for execution. It’s how things were done then. Doesn’t make it right, but it’s how *everybody* (Anabaptists excepted) did it. Singling out Calvin and Geneva for blame in the Affair simply papers over the fact that anybody else, in any other town, would have done the same thing back then.

    I agree with you.

    The point for me is this execution was due to the church pronouncement of heresy and the state willing to go along with the “death to the heretic” stuff. I don’t really care about the church/state separation since there was no essential difference. Let me put it this way. If Calvin had a hissy and said to stop it, they would have stopped it.

    I cannot absolve Calvin and his church of the death of Servetus just like I cannot absolve the SBC of its guilt in pronouncing slavery as OK with God and the church. Just because such things were legal or expected in that day does not make it righteous in any way. It was sinful and it was due to sinful impulses in the church.

    We just heard an apology for the unrighteous application of church discipline by The Village Church. I don’t care who approved it, it was wrong. Just like it would be wrong for the church to advocate for the killing of a sin like homosexuality. Yet, there are some who have defended Ugandan (?) laws aimed at persecuting homosexuals.

  97. @ Steve Johnson:
    I have to disagree. See my reply below this. Calvin could have stopped it. He didn’t do so just like some lutherans went along with Hitler in WW2 and Baptists went along with Jim Crow. They could have made a difference. They chose not to.

  98. Bill M wrote:

    Steve Johnson wrote:
    The decision to execute Servetus was that of the City Council of Geneva.
    I’ll read up on the history some more but this sounds like the Jewish leaders claim they didn’t crucify Jesus, The Romans did.

    The City Council of Geneva was in the pocket of Calvin. He wanted that relationship. In Salem, Massachusetts, the Puritans were running the government as well. To differentiate between the two during that time would be like sticking your head in the sand.

  99. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:

    “Obviously you are not a good leader, since you have “girl” in your name, which means you don’t have testes, which is the Primary Requirement for BiblicalTM leadership. But I suppose my real question is, what kind of Church Covenant are you using? ”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    -the understanding that the guest of honor is God, Jesus, Holy Spirit
    -the understanding that there will be a variety of viewpoints & approaches amongst all present
    -the understanding that we’ll focus on what we have in common, & save debate for a debating occasion
    -the understanding that there is freedom of expression, whether outward or inward
    -the understanding that all have a willingness to be sensitive as well as tolerant where comfort levels differ

  100. @ dee:
    Serverus’ worst *”crime”* was illustrated by some of his final words, “Jesus, Son of the eternal God, have mercy on me!” Ya see— he failed to cry out to Jesus as the theologically-correct “eternal Son of God”.

  101. @ Dave A A:
    Let’s see– searching 21 versions in my online parallel Biblical Bible– the adjective “eternal” or synonyms modifying any of 15 occurrences of “Son of God” — uh-oh– NOT FOUND! Oops?! Not that He’s not eternal, but…

  102. dee wrote:

    Just like it would be wrong for the church to advocate for the killing of a sin like homosexuality. Yet, there are some who have defended Ugandan (?) laws aimed at persecuting homosexuals.

    And there’s a lot on the Net about how those Ugandan laws were backed & bankrolled by American Christian Culture Warriors.

  103. elastigirl wrote:

    And I’ll be facilitating it. Because I’m a good leader and I know what i’m doing.

    But…but……I suffer a woman not to teach!…

  104. The problem, as pointed out many time here, is the lack of clarity concerning what behaviors could possibly require discipline. Which in and of itself shows the incomprehensible logic of trying to enshrine some organized system to administer discipline.

    Even if a church was to go through the virtually endless work of describing all potential infractions and the consequences they would have to admit that it is impossible to list EVERY SINGLE thing that an individual may come up with to do.

    As a parent of young kids the ridiculousness of kids finding loopholes is hilarious and exhausting. In a long car trip recently my 3 year old kept “touching” her brother, which was making him really upset. So we said, “stop touching your brother”. So then she started putting her hand near his face WITHOUT touching, which made him just as mad. We said, “stop putting your hand in front of his face”. She then began waving her hand quickly past his face……..There is no way we could have initially known the lengths she was going to go to for the purpose of antagonizing her big brother. How in the world would it make sense for us to create a list of things that she can’t do that could encompass every single possibility?

    With out kids, and sinning Christians, the problem isn’t the “thing” that they are doing, but their heart. My daughter needs to grow up, not to be given a comprehensive list of do’s and dont’s. A sinner needs grace, love and maturity in the Lord, not a bunch of inconsistently applied rules.

    Are there fairly egregious things that need to be dealt with immediately(hitting your sibling, or, abuse in the church)? Yes. But the obvious things are….well….obvious. Everything else needs patience and Grace.

  105. Bill M wrote:

    I would want the person who carries so much influence to be someone who rose above their time and not participated in its most disturbing characteristics.

    Then you’ll have to set aside pretty much everybody who’s ever done theology…

  106. This is a post totally unrelated to anything. This summer I have a student who attends summer school around Capital Hill. I was wandering around after seeing her waiting to hear about another appointment, so I decided to drive around and find Capital Hill Baptist Church. It actually is a rather unassuming building, looking more like a school than a church. There are some much more scenic anc “churchy” looking buildings on the hill. Anyway, that’s what happens when I get kinda bored.

  107. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    And there’s a lot on the Net about how those Ugandan laws were backed & bankrolled by American Christian Culture Warriors.

    Rick Warren was among them. One of the more ‘prominent ones’ in the fundagelical firmament.

  108. @ Law Prof:
    Off-topic, but… You’re playing right into HUG’s hands. Of the eight that you’ve cited, only Amy Grant and Billy Graham are alive, and Billy is 96 and retired. We really do need to get outside the bubble.

  109. GovPappy wrote:

    Bill M wrote:

    Eeyore wrote:

    The church tried him, found him guilty of heresy, and turned him over to the secular authorities for execution. It’s how things were done then. Doesn’t make it right, but it’s how *everybody* (Anabaptists excepted) did it. Singling out Calvin and Geneva for blame in the Affair simply papers over the fact that anybody else, in any other town, would have done the same thing back then.

    Judging those in the past by modern standards can be troublesome as you say, Martin Luther and antisemitism, Washington owning slaves for example. On the other hand explaining away Calvin’s complicity in an execution as “everyone did it” papers over a horrible act that is timeless.

    I would want the person who carries so much influence to be someone who rose above their time and not participated in its most disturbing characteristics. I tend to set aside as suspicious someone who was complicit in burning another they disagreed with.

    This.

    Whenever your argument can simply be countered with “He was complicit in having someone burned alive for believing something”, no amount of explanation is going to explain that away for me.

    But don’t forget, joining in the culture NOW and accepting gay marriage means you’re going to HELL!!!

  110. Ted wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    Off-topic, but… You’re playing right into HUG’s hands. Of the eight that you’ve cited, only Amy Grant and Billy Graham are alive, and Billy is 96 and retired. We really do need to get outside the bubble.

    Phil Keaggy is still alive, & I’m listening to one of his CDs right now. 😉

  111. GovPappy wrote:

    @ XianJaneway:
    My future ain’t looking too bright under the NeoCal Gospel™ boys.

    Or maybe it is, if you know what I’m saying (Before one of you chuckleheads make the joke).

  112. dee wrote:

    @ Steve Johnson:
    Calvin could have stopped it.

    It may have been just a WEE smidgen more than that! 
    The chap what brought the official charges against Servetus was employed by– guess who? (see footnote 1)
    http://history.hanover.edu/texts/comserv.html
    Some of the other items besides the trinity which got Servetus into trouble:
    Item, that the baptism of little children is an invention of the Devil, an infernal falsehood tending to the destruction of all Christianity. (Kinda like Mohler, Piper, and Dever.  Calvin, for his part, believed baptists to be “the devil’s own miscreants)
    Item, that in the person of Msr. Calvin, minister of the word of God in the Church of Geneva, he has defamed with printed book the doctrine which he preached, uttering all the injurious and blasphemous things which it is possible to invent. (Servetus asked forgiveness of Calvin before he died– Calvin said it was nuttin poisonal, or something like that)
    Item, whether he has married, and if he answers that he has not, he shall be asked why, in consideration of his age, he could refrain so long from marriage.
    (Suspected closet homosexual, or closet papist?)

  113. Ken wrote:

    If he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber–

    Humph: This would mean that most people in the church would have to be disciplined.

  114. dee wrote:

    Ken wrote:
    If he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber–
    Humph: This would mean that most people in the church would have to be disciplined.

    Discipline is fine, so long as they start with the leaders.

  115. Dave A A wrote:

    Item, whether he has married, and if he answers that he has not, he shall be asked why, in consideration of his age, he could refrain so long from marriage.
    (Suspected closet homosexual, or closet papist?)

    So “Salvation By Marriage Alone” goes that far back?

  116. Ted wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    Off-topic, but… You’re playing right into HUG’s hands. Of the eight that you’ve cited, only Amy Grant and Billy Graham are alive, and Billy is 96 and retired. We really do need to get outside the bubble.

    Amy Grant was one of the few who could pull off Going Mainstream.

    During my time in-country on various Christian Fiction Author newsgroups, I was always a big proponent of Going Mainstream Whenever Possible. Not only is the audience bigger, but more varied and appreciative.

    When I was attempting to write Classic SF, the bar I set was “Could my stuff have gone head-to-head against H Beam Piper and/or Poul Anderson in the pages of Analog or on the shelves at Change of Hobbit?” (As in “NOT up against Amish Bonnet books and/or the likes of Left Behind.”)

  117. XianJaneway wrote:

    Phil Keaggy is still alive, & I’m listening to one of his CDs right now.

    Keaggy is very, very good. I’ve only just started to listen to him, but I Love You Lord is masterful.

  118. Corbin wrote:

    XianJaneway wrote:
    Phil Keaggy is still alive, & I’m listening to one of his CDs right now.
    Keaggy is very, very good. I’ve only just started to listen to him, but I Love You Lord is masterful.

    Have had the pleasure of seeing him twice in concert, the second time backed by a major metro’s symphony orchestra. If the heavenly choirs are as pleasurable as those evenings, I’ll be absolutely satisfied.

  119. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    I never felt supported in my pursuit of a science career; in fact, I felt shunned for doing it…. I am one of the “compromised ones”….
    …this same flavor of Christianity will embrace/use modern medicine/technology, yet reject the fundamentals that allow modern society to develop it!!

    I’m sorry that your community became that narrow. What is it that causes people to close their eyes to the hands, mind, and heart of God which show up everywhere in His creation, the grandest-of-all art? And they’re happy to use the products as long as they don’t have to see where they come from? What is that, anyway?

    It’s as if they have refused God’s job, to be good stewards of this earth. We must learn about it in order to take care of it. It’s as if they don’t want to even know that there are mystery, excitement, uncertainty.

    They bury their talents in the ground, ISTM.

  120. @ Dave A A:
    Not only did Calvin’s “associate” bring the charge. Calving joined in the prosecution. The reformed will defend Calvin because he asked that Servetus not be burned but beheaded. What a kind and gentle guy. And no not everyone approved of killing your theological adversaries, even some who were not Anabaptist. Look into the lives of Montaigne and Castellio. In fact the life of Castellio is a good example of what happened to people who opposed Calvin. He was against the church persecuting people who had different opinions than those of the state. Calvin had Castellio’s job taken away and banished him. After, Castellio continued to oppose Calvin’s actions (Contra ibellum), Calvin tried to have him arrested in his new town of Basel. Eventually Calvin tried to have him arrested because of his friendship with a gentleman who may have been an Anabaptist. However, before he could be tried and burned, Castellio had the temerity to die on Calvin.
    But not only was Calvin guilty of persecuting “heretics”. He went after political opponents. He had some 30(?) people burned as witches – there were plagues going through Europe and Calvin (that great theological thinker) thought that witches were causing it. He had several arrested and burned, at least one killed himself before they could burn him.
    It is estimated that Calvin had 50 some odd people burned or beheaded during his reign. When you see a lot of these Calvinistas advocating for a hierarchy with power vested heavily in the top of the pyramid, they are just following their hero. Any way you spin it, Calvin looks like a tyrant to me.

  121. Dave A A wrote:

    …Jonathan Leeman article… http://9marks.org/article/how-church-discipline-will-save-parachurch/
    …“saved” from liberals and those lacking sufficient “ecclesiological distinctives”….And to what does Leeman liken those people (loved by God) whose beliefs don’t quite measure up? He likens those divine-image-bearers to the crud you scoop out of gutters. Or the slimely, gunky hair balls you Drano from your trap. “But the point still stands: Jesus authorized only one institution on earth to clean the kingdom gutters and unclog its pipes—the local church.”

    Blech. Not only is he wrong, he is rude and intolerably arrogant.

    He also writes that we must be prepared to defend our words and actions when we meet God someday. Yes, indeed, Jonathan Leeman.

  122. Eeyore wrote:

    Then you’ll have to set aside pretty much everybody who’s ever done theology…

    I was speaking in the context of an act that I believe is abnormally ugly. While I’m disappointed Luther spoke poorly of Jews I’m appalled that Calvin was part of the brutal execution of a man whose crime was his beliefs.

    I’m seeing the “set aside pretty much everybody” as giving Calvin a pass because no man is perfect. Please clarify.

  123. @ Will M:
    Basically they’re saying it’s not so bad because all the other kids were/are doing it!
    Talk about déjà vu all over again– I felt like I read much of your excellent comment before, because I just read a 5-year-old Gospel Coalition article on the topic. Perhaps you commented there under another moniker?

  124. Maybe THIS time I can figure out the proper way to format the quote…

    dee wrote:

    I agree with you.
    The point for me is this execution was due to the church pronouncement of heresy and the state willing to go along with the “death to the heretic” stuff. I don’t really care about the church/state separation since there was no essential difference. Let me put it this way. If Calvin had a hissy and said to stop it, they would have stopped it.
    I cannot absolve Calvin and his church of the death of Servetus just like I cannot absolve the SBC of its guilt in pronouncing slavery as OK with God and the church. Just because such things were legal or expected in that day does not make it righteous in any way. It was sinful and it was due to sinful impulses in the church.
    We just heard an apology for the unrighteous application of church discipline by The Village Church. I don’t care who approved it, it was wrong. Just like it would be wrong for the church to advocate for the killing of a sin like homosexuality. Yet, there are some who have defended Ugandan (?) laws aimed at persecuting homosexuals.

    Again, I am in no way excusing what Calvin and the Council of Geneva did here. But if a Catholic canton had captured and executed Servetus (which could quite likely have happened) Servetus would have been only a footnote in the sordid history of the Inquisition rather than the martyr he is made out to be. It seems disingenuous to *single out* Calvin for approbation as being *so much meaner* than everybody else, when he was in fact only slightly meaner than average in that period. If you’re going to condemn Calvin, fine. Then also condemn the medieval Catholic Church, and the Lutherans, and the Church of England, and all the rest. It was the spirit of the age, and Servetus was by no means the only (or even the most prominent at the time) victim of Church/State persecution. Ask the Anabaptists…

  125. dee wrote:

    To differentiate between the two during that time would be like sticking your head in the sand.

    I am hoping you didn’t think I was saying it otherwise. The Jewish leaders used the Romans to do their bidding as Calvin appeared to be doing with the City of Geneva.

  126. @ Patrice:
    IMHO, the thinking of many of the YEC is very similar to the thinking/actions of the leaders that the WW objects to: leaders that are either control freaks that have to have all the answers in nice tidy boxes, including G$d, people with a small view of G$d, people that want to makes themselves better than others, or just plain mean people…it has been my experience that YEC “flip out” very quickly when one discusses these issues with them, to the point that their reaction demonstrates that the faith hinges on it….. I have heard more than once that if Genesis is not literal, than Gospel is meaningless!! They obviously then have to defend Literal Gensis at all costs… Very similar to some of the membership covenants discussed on the WW… These leaders hold the keys to heaven?

  127. Will M wrote:

    @ Dave A A:
    Not only did Calvin’s “associate” bring the charge. Calving joined in the prosecution. The reformed will defend Calvin because he asked that Servetus not be burned but beheaded. What a kind and gentle guy.

    Simple:
    If you’re Truly Reformed, Calvin Can Do No Wrong.
    Purity of Ideology and all that.

  128. Hi all

    I’m am having one. of. those. days. I needed to take my elderly parents to two long doctors appointments and then I had to take my son to another doctors appointment. Found out that my credit card got ripped off and am still on hold with the credit card company and I blew out the heater on my dishwasher when a plastic spoon fell and totally melted all over it.

    I am attempting to be pleasant through it all. But, I will not be commenting until tomorrow.

  129. Bill M wrote:

    I am hoping you didn’t think I was saying it otherwise.

    No, it was not in disagreement with you. Merely with the one reader, Steve. Whenever I mention Servetus, I usually get some folks trying to prove that Calvin was innocent. I believe that Calvin was a sinner who reflected the sins of his days quite well. I know I am not making many friends in certain circles re: this issue

    But, I am always looking for someone to convince me that my stand is wrong.

  130. Will M wrote:

    Any way you spin it, Calvin looks like a tyrant to me.

    Knocking dust off my Greek history I recall that Tyrants were initially welcomed by the Greeks when they championed overthrowing the aristocracies. But tyrants, defined by being authoritarian, became, well, tyrants. History has been a continual line of tyrants vying to be the latest Alexander the Great, or more accurately Alexander the murdering thug.

    Apparently this is a major weakness in humans, the belief that their tyrant will be turn out better. How very odd that many in the church who find authoritarian power in politics an anathema are not perturbed by it in the church.

    It is certainly a different way to interpret Calvin, tyrant theologian. Is this what some pastors yearn for?

  131. Dave A A wrote:

    Patrice wrote:

    Burning Servetus was also ideological power-hunger. In this way, it is similar to what parades as church discipline these days. Geneva’s governing men, at the behest of Calvin, killed a person before God would have brought him to the end of his life merely because of a handful of different religious beliefs.
    Consider the clarity of Jesus’ parable of The Wheat and the Tares. Calvin and his followers thought they could choose who was which and burn those they decided were tares. They usurped God’s authority. Utter arrogance.

    Here’s a Jonathan Leeman article I’ve not previously linked, which is chilling in its view of those with differing beliefs.  http://9marks.org/article/how-church-discipline-will-save-parachurch/
    First– what must be “saved” from liberals and those lacking sufficient “ecclesiological distinctives”? The parachurch! Not the church!  Not people (whom God delights to save). And to what does Leeman liken those people (loved by God) whose beliefs don’t quite measure up?  He likens those divine-image-bearers to the crud you scoop out of gutters. Or the slimely, gunky hair balls you Drano from your trap. “But the point still stands: Jesus authorized only one institution on earth to clean the kingdom gutters and unclog its pipes—the local church.”
    And what does the “local” (note– never once used as an adjective modifying “church” in the Biblical, Gospelly Bible) church plumber use to snake the drains and flush away the tare-ish hereticks?
    Why– “church” (note– never once used as an adjective modifying “discipline” in the Biblical, Gospelly, Gospelly, Winsome Bible) discipline, of course!
    Contrast with the Biblical Apostle Paul, who wrote, likely referencing the ONLY person ever punished (not disciplined– discipline is ALWAYS carried out by a superior such as God or parents in the winsome, never-bitter, never-gossipy, always-Gospelly Bible) by a church (not a “local” one but a whole city-full of believers including he local church of Paul, the local church of Apollos, the local church of Cephas, and the local Church of Christ but not the local church of Calvin) in the entire Bible: “The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient.  Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.”  II Cor 2:6-8
    My humble apologies for all the distracting parenthetical notes. 

    Huh? I have a headache, so this was heavy going. But I think you’re saying that this guy believes the church has authority to exercise church discipline on those outside the church? How crazy is that?

  132. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:
    “Obviously you are not a good leader, since you have “girl” in your name, which means you don’t have testes, which is the Primary Requirement for BiblicalTM leadership. But I suppose my real question is, what kind of Church Covenant are you using? ”
    ++++++++++++++++++++
    -the understanding that the guest of honor is God, Jesus, Holy Spirit
    -the understanding that there will be a variety of viewpoints & approaches amongst all present
    -the understanding that we’ll focus on what we have in common, & save debate for a debating occasion
    -the understanding that there is freedom of expression, whether outward or inward
    -the understanding that all have a willingness to be sensitive as well as tolerant where comfort levels differ

    I could go to such a “worship service” as you describe. I might even look forward to it. That would be a nice change.

  133. Muff Potter wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    And there’s a lot on the Net about how those Ugandan laws were backed & bankrolled by American Christian Culture Warriors.
    Rick Warren was among them. One of the more ‘prominent ones’ in the fundagelical firmament.

    Isn’t Rick Warren looked down upon by the YRR? I thought I’d heard some of his teachings called “heretical” or unbiblical by that crowd.

  134. @ dee:
    Also, just totally burnt the casserole because i forgot about it while I was on the phone with the credit card company.

  135. XianJaneway wrote:

    Ted wrote:
    @ Law Prof:
    Off-topic, but… You’re playing right into HUG’s hands. Of the eight that you’ve cited, only Amy Grant and Billy Graham are alive, and Billy is 96 and retired. We really do need to get outside the bubble.

    Phil Keaggy is still alive, & I’m listening to one of his CDs right now.

    I need to check him out. Got any recommendations to start out?

  136. dee wrote:

    But, I am always looking for someone to convince me that my stand is wrong.

    Sorry, I can’t oblige you on this one. If Calvin had just banished the guy, but burning?

    My sympathies to dealing with all the issues. I’ve had them all but not the same day. I can’t quote Churchill definition of history here precisely without getting into moderation so I’ll modify it to: “its just one darn thing after another”

  137. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Ted wrote:
    @ Law Prof:
    Off-topic, but… You’re playing right into HUG’s hands. Of the eight that you’ve cited, only Amy Grant and Billy Graham are alive, and Billy is 96 and retired. We really do need to get outside the bubble.
    Amy Grant was one of the few who could pull off Going Mainstream.
    During my time in-country on various Christian Fiction Author newsgroups, I was always a big proponent of Going Mainstream Whenever Possible. Not only is the audience bigger, but more varied and appreciative.
    When I was attempting to write Classic SF, the bar I set was “Could my stuff have gone head-to-head against H Beam Piper and/or Poul Anderson in the pages of Analog or on the shelves at Change of Hobbit?” (As in “NOT up against Amish Bonnet books and/or the likes of Left Behind.”)

    I remember when I was given the galley copy of a book with an eye to possibly write one of those blurbs for the back cover. (I was so flattered! …until I actually read the book.) It was being touted as “the Christian alternative to Harry Potter”.

    I have seen many of those over the years. None of which could even aspire to tie Harry’s shoelaces. Not that I think Harry Potter is any great shakes as literature. The Potter books were okay, in my opinion, not really classics, arguably speaking, of course. But every single “Christian alternative/answer to Harry Potter” that I have seen over my years as an editor has been a dismal disappointment in terms of plot, characterization, and writing skill.

    It was horrible. Simply horrible. I think one of its selling points was that it had been written by a pastor. I can’t even tell you the title or much of the plot, except it had something to do with boys traveling (in a time machine?) to various bible times and acting as eyewitnesses. Or something like that. I could only get through the first three chapters, and skipped to the last chapter, which was not an improvement. Mercifully, the details are blurred in my memory.

    Another of this type of book (FIRST! in a SERIES!) was given to a bunch of reviewers before publication. I happened to be in the group. I think the only positive reviews were from the reviewers who didn’t have time to read the book and so sort of made up a review. I could tell who had read it, and who hadn’t — the honest reviews ranged from scathing to praising with faint damns.

    Ironically, this book series was prominently featured in glowing terms in the Vision Forum catalog some years later.

    Awful book. Just awful. My kids still make faces when it comes up in conversation, and still remember enough details to make fun of the book.

    If someone wants to come up with a “Christian answer to Harry Potter” they’re going to need more than just a surface knowledge of a few bible verses and a burning desire to tell a “wholesome and improving” story.

    Most children can recognize fraud when they see it.

  138. refugee wrote:

    Isn’t Rick Warren looked down upon by the YRR?</blockquote
    Rick Warren has not been officially blessed by John Piper. In an interview with Warren a few years ago, Piper quizzed Warren on teachings in his book "The Purpose Driven Life." Piper noted that Warren was not known for being a doctrinal preacher. Piper, on the other hand, is all about proper doctrine (i.e., Calvinism). Warren is an evangelist; Piper is not. There may have been some misc. fall-outs along the way between YRR folks and Warren – I'm not aware of specifics – Warren definitely doesn't hang with the neo-cals. My personal concern with Warren these days is his too chummy arrangement with "Chrislam."

  139. @ Max:
    Something was amiss on the block quote. I was responding to refugee’s question “Isn’t Rick Warren looked down upon by the YRR?” The rest of the post is my answer to that, not refugee’s words. (sorry refugee – not sure what happened on the “reply with quote” paste).

  140. __

    Dee,

    Greater love hath no woman, that she lay down her casserole for her credit card company.

    (tears)

    Praying…

    Sopy

  141. Jeff Chalmers wrote:

    @ Patrice:
    IMHO, the thinking of many of the YEC is very similar to the thinking/actions of the leaders that the WW objects to: leaders that are either control freaks that have to have all the answers in nice tidy boxes, including G$d, people with a small view of G$d, people that want to makes themselves better than others, or just plain mean people…it has been my experience that YEC “flip out” very quickly when one discusses these issues with them, to the point that their reaction demonstrates that the faith hinges on it….. I have heard more than once that if Genesis is not literal, than Gospel is meaningless!! They obviously then have to defend Literal Gensis at all costs… Very similar to some of the membership covenants discussed on the WW… These leaders hold the keys to heaven?

    Why, yes. That is the gospel (TM) according to Ken Ham, as I have heard him teach it.

  142. refugee wrote:

    Isn’t Rick Warren looked down upon by the YRR? I thought I’d heard some of his teachings called “heretical” or unbiblical by that crowd.

    When there’s a perceived and common threat (in this case homosexuality and / or lesbianism) they’ll join arms like Arab Sheiks and Mukhtars against the hated Jews. When the threat is abated, they’ll go back to slitting one another’s throats with their jeweled daggers.

  143. @Dee:
    So sorry you’re having that kind of a day. I hope it gets better for you, or at least tomorrow will be better. Praying your family is healthy, your dishwasher is inexpensively fixable and your credit card problem gets straightened out.

  144. @ Bill M:
    Luther did not jst “[speak] poorly” of Jewish people. He called for the complete and utter destruction of their places of worship and business, their homes, their books of prayers and commentary, and on and on and ON. it is hideous stuff.

  145. Eeyore wrote:

    Bill M wrote:
    ‘I would want the person who carries so much influence to be someone who rose above their time and not participated in its most disturbing characteristics.’
    Then you’ll have to set aside pretty much everybody who’s ever done theology…

    Maybe that’s why theology is in such a state—we’ve not been setting enough of them aside… 😉

  146. Jeff Chalmers wrote:

    . I have heard more than once that if Genesis is not literal, than Gospel is meaningless!!

    I think that charge has some basis, merit to it.

    There was a lot of YEC bashing going on there in your post.

    Criticism of Young Earth Creationism and Its Advocates, especially as seen on spiritual abuse blogs or liberal Christian sites
    https://missdaisyflower.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/criticism-of-young-earth-creationists-and-its-advocates-especially-as-seen-on-spiritual-abuse-blogs-or-liberal-christian-sites/

  147. Jeff Chalmers wrote:

    leaders that are either control freaks that have to have all the answers in nice tidy boxes, including G$d, people with a small view of G$d, people that want to makes themselves better than others, or just plain mean people….These leaders hold the keys to heaven?

    Got the world by the tail and the key to God’s front door.

    What is the ratio of narcissism in this bunch, I wonder?

  148. numo wrote:

    Luther did not jst “[speak] poorly” of Jewish people.

    I was wondering if that would get called out. I glanced at it after posting and the “poorly” understated the nature of his rants. I recall he ends one rant with something similar to “we should still pray for them and show them Christian love”, quite a contradiction.

  149. @ Bill M:
    He was intensely anti-semitic. The “rant” you’re thinking of is titled “On the Jews and their lies.” It, and all of his other anti-semitic writings, have been repudiated by the Lutheran synod i belong to, fwiw.

  150. Daisy wrote:

    Jeff Chalmers wrote:
    . I have heard more than once that if Genesis is not literal, than Gospel is meaningless!!
    I think that charge has some basis, merit to it.
    There was a lot of YEC bashing going on there in your post.
    Criticism of Young Earth Creationism and Its Advocates, especially as seen on spiritual abuse blogs or liberal Christian sites
    https://missdaisyflower.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/criticism-of-young-earth-creationists-and-its-advocates-especially-as-seen-on-spiritual-abuse-blogs-or-liberal-christian-sites/

    @ Daisy:
    It is a real “hot botton” issues!! When you are raised as a YEC, and you begin to learn the science, and think for yourself, you can hit a wall! I can tell you first hand, there are few you can talk to that can help you through it. When you practice scientific thinking as your profession, you either have to compartmentalize your life, or deal with the fundamental conflict of YEC and The world around you and how it functions…. Being called a “compromiser”, or worse, for trying to bribe the two worlds, which I have reutinely experienced, for over 30 years, gives you an interesting perspective. I can give you references of many “testimonials” of people that have experienced the exact same treatment. I checked out your web site, and notice you specifically say that Ken Ham says you do not have to believe in YEC to be a christain. Yes, he has, in almost the same breath says if you are not a YEC you are a compromiser… He further calls evolution “nonsense”.. And further says that modern geology is wrong. That is an incredible position to take, given that modern geology, assuming the earth is billions of years old, allows oil companies to figure out where to drill to get oil…. But, This is not the place to start the scientific debate, plenty of web site just for that.

  151. Patrice wrote:

    Then you’ll have to set aside pretty much everybody who’s ever done theology…

    Maybe that’s why theology is in such a state—we’ve not been setting enough of them aside…

    I’m pondering whether this is playful or profound

  152. refugee wrote:

    If someone wants to come up with a “Christian answer to Harry Potter” they’re going to need more than just a surface knowledge of a few bible verses and a burning desire to tell a “wholesome and improving” story.

    Refugee, we’ve had some discussions about Christian publishing over at internetmonk, also at orthocuban. Do a google search on “why evangelicals can’t write” for a couple of articles, both of which mention Flannery O’Connor (favorably, of course; she was a gift). I don’t know if they’re connected or not.

    I don’t even try to read evangelical fiction anymore. Or listen to Contemporary Christian Music.

  153. refugee wrote:

    XianJaneway wrote:

    Ted wrote:
    @ Law Prof:
    Off-topic, but… You’re playing right into HUG’s hands. Of the eight that you’ve cited, only Amy Grant and Billy Graham are alive, and Billy is 96 and retired. We really do need to get outside the bubble.

    Phil Keaggy is still alive, & I’m listening to one of his CDs right now.

    I need to check him out. Got any recommendations to start out?

    Acoustic Sketches is my favorite, then Freehand. 🙂 Enjoy!

  154. Ted wrote:

    XianJaneway wrote:

    Phil Keaggy is still alive, & I’m listening to one of his CDs right now.

    Oops. I was thinking of Keith Green.

    Oh!! OK. He was definitely a sad loss.

  155. @ Eeyore:
    Eeyore wrote:

    Then you’ll have to set aside pretty much everybody who’s ever done theology…

    No one in that era in Geneva could afford to set aside Calvin without paying a high price. That is pretty much the point. And makes his ST even more questionable today.

  156. Will M wrote:

    . In fact the life of Castellio is a good example of what happened to people who opposed Calvin. He was against the church persecuting people who had different opinions than those of the state.

    Castellio was a brilliant but compassionate protege of Calvin’s who became appalled by him. He went to pray and nurse the plague victims when Calvin refused. He also did a translation that Calvin squealched. Castellio and his family came close to starving because Calvin put the word out about hiring him. Calvin wanted to ruin him. He existed off lowly jobs after being banished.

    Zweig wrote a book about him called “A Right to Heresy”.

  157. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    You mean actually pastoring?

    Here the different meanings of the word “pastor” come in: is “pastor” a) the job title of the CEO of a particular religious organisation or b) the designation of a person who will be concerned for others’ (spiritual and otherwise) wellbeing?

    a) is just a question of arbitrary definitions – anybody can call themselves a pastor – even scientology has pastors (http://www.scientology.org/faq/the-organization-of-scientology/what-is-international-hubbard-ecclesiastical-league-pastors.html)

    In the sense of b), a pastor is someone who cares for people in a group of christians, visits the sick, prays with and for the afflicted, laughs and cries with them, teaches what he/she is just learning himself/herself, is part of the group, not above them.

    I don’t see any of any kind of this kind of pastoring in the YRR crowd. They don’t have time for the individual, only for their organisation.

    Also, they seem to enjoy church discipline far too much. When I read on the other thread that at TVC they regularly put names of people on the screen to shame them and to tell members not to communicate with these people except to call them to repentance – in other words, shun them – I felt sick. But there’s nothing like public shaming and shunning to keep all the other pewsitters who might harbour an independent thought in line.

    The IT website “The Register” in the UK (http://search.theregister.co.uk/) has a long running series about the “Bast**d Operator from Hell”, a sysadmin who enjoys making his user’s lives miserable (http://search.theregister.co.uk/?q=bofh&advanced=1&author=&date=the+dawn+of+time&site=0&results_per_page=20).

    ISTM, that some of these “pastors” are just “Pastor Impersonators (from Wherever)” who enjoy making some members’ lives miserable.

    How you respond to and treat people who do not agree with you or question one of your actions is actually quite a good test of character – if you are confident and have nothing to hide you don’t usually feel threatened at the first sign of disagreement.

    Didn’t people call it the political genius of Abraham Lincoln that he made some of his strongest rivals members of his cabinet?

  158. @ Bill M:

    Eeyore: “Then you’ll have to set aside pretty much everybody who’s ever done theology…”

    Patrice: “Maybe that’s why theology is in such a state—we’ve not been setting enough of them aside…”

    Bill M: “I’m pondering whether this is playful or profound”
    ++++++++++++++++

    my reading is “too many cooks spoil the soup”.

    how hard can it be to tune in to God FM? I think we’re all theologians, in the sense that Abraham was a theologian. He was able to tune in, without the benefit of all these theologians. And without the benefit of Holy Spirit as available as air.

    People get freaked out by the ‘variations on a theme’ where God is concerned We have so many ‘professional theologians’ because of textbook dependence, and an expectation of and need for conclusive evidence, hard and fast.

    I don’t believe uniformity of conclusions is indicative of clear reception concerning God FM. I think God is big enough that there is truth in A, B, and C (perhaps D, E, F as well). Some of it is beyond our comprehension. What ties it all together is treating people the way you want to be treated, and making God top priority (as for how to do this, there is no absolute template).

    This is how I see it. Whether or not I explained it well is a different matter.

  159. lydia wrote:

    No one in that era in Geneva could afford to set aside Calvin without paying a high price.

    Adding this with what Eeyore and Patrice have commented can it be proposed the flaw is not theology but that no one should have that much power? Should anyone who seeks power be suspect, regardless when they lived?

    On the subject of “Abusive Church Disciple”, burning someone has to rank pretty near the top.

  160. elastigirl wrote:

    Some of it is beyond our comprehension. What ties it all together is treating people the way you want to be treated,

    Well said, I’d only change the “some” to “most”.

  161. @ Bill M:

    “Some of it is beyond our comprehension. What ties it all together is treating people the way you want to be treated,”

    “Well said, I’d only change the “some” to “most”.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    you’re probably right.

    This much we can agree on: God is good, God is love, evil and death exist, Jesus is God incarnate, paid the penalty in our stead, went the distance and defeated death, Holy Spirit-counselor-friend-comforter-spirit of truth is as available as air,…… even here, the basics, we can only comprehend in part.

    maybe the only thing within our comprehension grasp is treating people the way we want to be treated. not using them for self-gratification. not cheating. choosing honesty. kindness. affirming patience. being generous. I think all human beings, from direct New Yorkers to polite southerners (& beyond) comprehend this and agree on its universal applicable truth.

    If one wants to devote themselves to God, I really think it’s a waste of time to pontificate ‘how many angels can dance on the head of a pin’, except as a hobby. Accept that there will be incongruencies and bewilderment, and use one’s energy to improve the lot in life of those in need.

  162. @ Daisy:
    Dee,
    As you did for your “done” “survey”, it might be interesting to do a survey about YEC and abuse. I have experienced, what is now termed spiritual abuse, when questioning YEC, and I have read of cases that are much, much worse than my experiences. Are there membership covenants that have been used to discipline people for disagreeing with YEC tenants? I know of many church’s/organizations that have YEC listed in their basic faith statements, and listed earlier on their lists than traditional orthodox beliefs. In fact I use that as a test with respect to a church/organization…. It tells me ALOT about the church/organization immediately, and how much involvement I will have with them, and what to say and not say… I.e. Science, is a no-go with them……

  163. dee wrote:

    Ken wrote:
    If he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber–
    Humph: This would mean that most people in the church would have to be disciplined.

    I think Paul’s list infers that a fellow Christian whose life is characterised by these moral failures is someone from whom we should disassociate. Otherwise you would have to have a church saints who have achieved sinless perfection to avoid everyone being constantly under discipline.

    If the lives of the believers in a church are essentially no different from the world around them, I would suggest that you are not dealing with a church at all, that this is a collection of religious people who, to echo Tozer, no more constitute a church than eleven dead men make a football team.

  164. Law Prof wrote:

    Discipline is fine, so long as they start with the leaders.

    Do you agree that the qualifications for being a ‘leader’ or overseer mean that those who aspire to this are sanctified enough to be free of the vices of the world around? To echo my reply to Dee, this does not mean sinless perfection or an unrealistic expectation that leaders cannot lose the plot and get it badly wrong, but this would be the exception rather than the rule if is does occur.

  165. @ refugee:
    Funny you mention that. Even as a wee lad I was fully aware of when a book was a classic and what was a knock-off. The knock-offs were all the rage in our little Christian bubble, but my parents didn’t even try to foist them on us. They taught us to read really early and we ran with it. The whole idea of a Christian knock-off was ridiculous to us then, and even more so now.

  166. The evolution / creation and old earth / young earth debates are loaded issues. Due to the heavy biases (religious, economic, political) on all sides of the issue, one must truly think for themselves. Understand what a scientific fact is. Separate facts from someone elses interpetation of those facts. Decide for yourself what theory or theories the facts support. Is it possible for intelligent, informed people to come to different conclusions? Is it possible to have real constructive debate without demeaning your opponents? Am I a bad guy if I come to the “wrong” conclusion? Am I anti science or anti Bible if I come to the “wrong” conclusion? Am I wrong to think for myself? Am I wrong to believe (with full confidence) that the facts that science digs up support a literal view of the Bible?

  167. GovPappy wrote:

    Oh my. So there it is.
    “To reject membership is to deny what God has already established in fact”
    No, it’s to deny your fuzzy interpretation of scripture is the only one possible.

    To insist upon membership in a particular church is to deny what God has already established in fact.

  168. Bill M wrote:

    Adding this with what Eeyore and Patrice have commented can it be proposed the flaw is not theology but that no one should have that much power? Should anyone who seeks power be suspect, regardless when they lived?

    My quibble with this is that Calvin’s ST is all about power (determinism) so the whole pecking order power dynamics caste system is ingrained from God to His priests on earth sort of thing. That does not mean every Calvinist today practices it. It has ebbed and flowed throughout its history in that respect.

    But determinism is based upon power not love. Calvin was more concerned with sovereignty than love. So not sure you can the theology from power. They seem to be one and the same to me since it is voluntarily more popular today without magistrates.

  169. Good morning TWW readers!

    I awoke to find our air conditioning was out! I choose to believe that it happened yesterday, before midnight. I wish to relegate it to the kooky Tuesday. Hopefully, I am back in business albeit it a bit warm!

  170. Will M wrote:

    But not only was Calvin guilty of persecuting “heretics”. He went after political opponents. He had some 30(?) people burned as witches – there were plagues going through Europe and Calvin (that great theological thinker) thought that witches were causing it. He had several arrested and burned, at least one killed himself before they could burn him.

    Thank you for this information. I plan to do more reading on Calvin and his punishment of others. I believe that there are some today who would love to hold the power Calvin had over the people in his jurisdiction.

    I believe that exposing the real Calvin is important because so many hang their doctrine on the words of Calvin. If he is shown to be just another guy who was screwed up like the rest of us, many people might question the frequent references to his theological mandates. In fat, that is why I think there is the “Sevetus deserved it and Calvin really didn’t want him to die” crowd. It is mixed up in their belief system.

    Only Jesus got it right and that is where we should hang our hats. For the theological Calvinistas, I have a suggestion. Instead of attempting to rule and condemn like Calvin why not show love and service to others?

  171. @ Patrice:
    Is that why Mark Dever and friends have held up CJ Mahaney as the golden boy in spite of the pain that has been well documented by many?

    Lehman needs to take his own 9 Marks theology and apply it to a number of situations in his own church organization. Let’s start with CJ Mahaney being held up as an example and Todd Wilhelm, who truly cares for those who are abused, gets kicked in the pants.

    I say that their application of their beliefs exhibits hypocrisy. I had the chance to speak with someone who left one of Leeman’s buddies’ church specifically due to those two situations.

  172. Christina wrote:

    Oh, hell. Look what I just found: http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/july/membership-matters-3-reasons-for-church-membership.html

    I view Ed Stetzer’s timely piece as a response to watchblogs such as this one which are sounding alarms about signing church covenants. Stetzer is the Executive Director of LifeWay Research (SBC’s publishing house). He is a good buddy to leading New Calvinists across the country, although he is elusive about his personal theological persuasion (but if you walk like a duck, talk like a duck …). Stetzer has proven to be an ambassador of New Calvinist belief and practice by his occasional articles of this nature. When Stetzer speaks, the YRR listen. He essentially is defending Acts29 churches which require putting your John Hancock on the bottom line (Stetzer is a freqent speaker at their conferences). With the article, he is also coming to the side of Matt Chandler and The Village Church which have come under scrutiny for member abuse (TVC is affiliated with SBC; Chandler is also Acts29 President – go figure). While Stetzer doesn’t directly say “sign the contract”, he implies entering into church membership via such covenant. The plot thickens.

  173. Eeyore wrote:

    Then you’ll have to set aside pretty much everybody who’s ever done theology…

    Absolutely! That is getting at my point and my theological bent. All theologians are fallen and their work exhibits their fallen nature. That is why everyone should be very careful before embracing an entire theological system without serious critique.

    For example, I bet Calvin would have chopped off John Stott’s head for believing in annihilationism. In Calvin’s world, he would have been declared not one of the elect.

  174. @ dlc:
    YEC topics have been extensively discussed here at TWW. There are about 50 posts under the creationism entry in the topics menu.

    Radiometric Dating, perhaps the strongest evidence for the 4.5 billion year age of the Earth, is a mature discipline firmly based on physics and has not been called into scientific question by YEC advocates. An excellent review of the subject is: Radiometric Dating A Christian Perspective, Dr. Roger C. Wiens at http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html . The the ASA is the American Scientific Association composed of science professionals who are Christians. A link to the organization is on the TWW home page. Wiens also disposes of a number of the YEC objections to radiometric dating. There is a brief author bio at the end of the document. If you have further questions along these lines it might be better to do it under the open discussion post.

  175. dee wrote:

    kooky Tuesday

    Dee, you must be on the threshold for a great Wednesday! It’s always darkest before the dawn. You must be doing something right at TWW for the enemy to try and distract you with the cares of life.

  176. Adam Borsay wrote:

    The problem, as pointed out many time here, is the lack of clarity concerning what behaviors could possibly require discipline. Which in and of itself shows the incomprehensible logic of trying to enshrine some organized system to administer discipline.

    I believe that churches should spell out their thoughts on discipline. As of now, most of the statements read “We believe in church discipline.” Well, hoop dee doo! Their refusal to do so leaves me suspicious. I believe many churches want to leave open their options in case they want to go after someone who is challenging them appropriately.

  177. Dave A A wrote:

    Calvin, for his part, believed baptists to be “the devil’s own miscreants)

    Calvin set up a rigid system and judged other rigidly. He would never, ever have gotten anywhere to day except in places like Westboro Baptist and he would have named it Westboro PCA due to the baptism issue.

    The only reason Calvin is so well known is that he played the political game quite well and if one is successful politically, then God must be in it.

  178. Max wrote:

    You must be doing something right at TWW for the enemy to try and distract you with the cares of life.

    However, God is protecting me as exhibited by the fact that my coffee machine keeps on working!

  179. Lydia wrote:

    Can we clear this up? A “mistake” is spilling your tea at Sunday lunch. Or stepping on your dog’s foot. A mistake is not intentional. It is not premeditated.
    Ripping someone’s life apart in the Name of Jesus IS NOT A MISTAKE.

    Well said!

  180. oldJohnJ wrote:

    YEC topics have been extensively discussed here at TWW. There are about 50 posts under the creationism entry in the topics menu.

    Really?! !!

    Well, this has been one subject that is quite personal for me. I have been on the receiving end of YEC zealots. So, although I do want to focus on abuse issues, I have this fond spot in my heart for this subject.

  181. dlc wrote:

    Decide for yourself what theory or theories the facts support. I

    I can assure that I have. And I tip TE.

  182. Ken wrote:

    I think Paul’s list infers that a fellow Christian whose life is characterised by these moral failures is someone from whom we should disassociate.

    However, the word “characterize” in itself is a matter of judgement. That is what get people into trouble since the church is run by sinners who can pick and choose their poison.

    I view it differently. The Christian is filled with the desire to follow God while living with the tension of failure to live up to those desires. It is exhibited by humility and the willingness to admit wrongdoing.
    That is why I have so much trouble with many church leaders who pretend they are humble around other admired church leaders but who beat up on their flock for not being obedient.

    One of the difficulties that Eagle had in coming to the faith was the hypocrisy of many leaders. I told him that I would fail him one of these days. I don’t want to. I always want to be an encouragement to him and others but I will fail. And I pray for the humility to be able to admit that failure and to move on.

    Many churches that we feature on this blog are characterized by bombastic preening of the leaders who have the vision. That vision must be followed. If not followed in the carefully proscribed manner, than the person is a problem.

    Jesus vision was quite different than today’s mega stars. His vision was the Cross and Resurrection which led to the forgiveness of sins. Today’s mega vision is more satellites, $40 million growth campaigns, and better fog machines for ultra hip worship.

  183. Lydia wrote:

    Can we clear this up? A “mistake” is spilling your tea at Sunday lunch. Or stepping on your dog’s foot. A mistake is not intentional. It is not premeditated.
    Ripping someone’s life apart in the Name of Jesus IS NOT A MISTAKE.

    These few words would make a post! Well said!

  184. dee wrote:

    Good morning TWW readers!
    I awoke to find our air conditioning was out! I choose to believe that it happened yesterday, before midnight. I wish to relegate it to the kooky Tuesday. Hopefully, I am back in business albeit it a bit warm!

    Dee, I hope your A/C gets fixed soon. In the meantime, the term “fan club” may take on an entirely different meaning for you and your family.

  185. lydia wrote:

    @
    Why are elders needed today?

    There’s nothing wrong with the concept of having elders in the church. The modern-day application, at least in many churches, is what’s problematic.

  186. roebuck wrote:

    Bill M wrote:

    Doesn’t make it right, but it’s how *everybody* (Anabaptists excepted) did it. Singling out Calvin and Geneva for blame in the Affair simply papers over the fact that anybody else, in any other town, would have done the same thing back then.

    I see absolutely nothing of Christ in Calvin. Nothing. He was cold, shrewd, and power-crazed. There, I said it. However proximate his involvement in the execution of Servetus was or was not, he was clearly complicit, and no amount of ‘that’s how it was done back then’ cuts any ice with me.

    Thank you for saying this. It is the truth that many seek to ignore.

  187. dee wrote:

    Good morning TWW readers!

    I awoke to find our air conditioning was out! I choose to believe that it happened yesterday, before midnight. I wish to relegate it to the kooky Tuesday. Hopefully, I am back in business albeit it a bit warm!

    Might I suggest it has something to do with PS “I rebuke you!” Furtick?

  188. Max wrote:

    I view Ed Stetzer’s timely piece as a response to watchblogs such as this one which are sounding alarms about signing church covenants.

    Interestingly, Stetzer presided over a church plant fail. Yet he is the expert on church planting.

    Stetzer is on the side of the Calvinistas, without a doubt. The convent is a method of control of the flock. TWW is one of the few blogs that is dealing quite a bit with the problems with church covenants. We have a received a few reports of church congregations which are refusing to sign them.

    The Matt Chandler/TVC debacle caused the heart stoppage of many a Calvinist leader. It demonstrated, once and for all, the serious flaws in the covenant system.

    People are beginning to realize that these covenants are not some sweet little promises to pray for one another. I will continue to ram home this point and will try to get that resource page up and running.

  189. GovPappy wrote:

    Whenever your argument can simply be countered with “He was complicit in having someone burned alive for believing something”, no amount of explanation is going to explain that away for me.

    Indeed.

  190. Amy Smith wrote:

    Might I suggest it has something to do with PS “I rebuke you!” Furtick?

    It is so wonderful to finally have someone tell me that I have been rebuked. The daughter of Stan is now officially rebuked!

  191. dee wrote:

    Stetzer is on the side of the Calvinistas, without a doubt.

    Ed Stetzer is on the side of the money. I have sat in the “inner circle”, and know of what I speak. The entire Calvinista thing was engineered to do two things; first “theologically unite” a tribe, and second to make it clear who was on board with the power brokers. They chose Calvinism because it was a very small minority in Baptist circles at the time, and so made a fantastic boundary test. The goal has always been to create an evangelical industrial complex, and it is working.

  192. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Bill M:
    “Some of it is beyond our comprehension. What ties it all together is treating people the way you want to be treated,”
    “Well said, I’d only change the “some” to “most”.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    you’re probably right.
    This much we can agree on: God is good, God is love, evil and death exist, Jesus is God incarnate, paid the penalty in our stead, went the distance and defeated death, Holy Spirit-counselor-friend-comforter-spirit of truth is as available as air,…… even here, the basics, we can only comprehend in part.
    maybe the only thing within our comprehension grasp is treating people the way we want to be treated. not using them for self-gratification. not cheating. choosing honesty. kindness. affirming patience. being generous. I think all human beings, from direct New
    Yorkers to polite southerners (& beyond) comprehend this and agree on its universal applicable truth.
    If one wants to devote themselves to God, I really think it’s a waste of time to pontificate ‘how many angels can dance on the head of a pin’, except as a hobby. Accept that there will be incongruencies and bewilderment, and use one’s energy to improve the lot in life of those in need.

    YES!!!! THIS!!!!
    Can we just all agree that love is a common theme of all the scriptures is love.
    My pastor (United Methodist) put it well when he said, “It’s not up to me to determine the temperature of hell or who is going there”.

  193. lydia wrote:

    Why are elders needed today?

    Good question. I would say because younger and immature believers still need older more mature believers to guide and assist them in the faith.

    In a church with ‘body ministry’ or every member ministry you shouldn’t know who the elders are unless something goes wrong and some direction or correction is necessary. Few churches have every managed to get to this stage though.

    Something the Done thread made me think about again is how the protestant church never really managed to get free of the Roman Catholic hierarchical, monarch and aristocracy system of church government. Much of the criticism there regarding bad experiences in churches revolved around the pastor having or wanting too much authority and power. Not the first amongst equals, but lord of the manor. The priest being replaced by the pastor. Baptism, communion, preaching then largely kept in the hands of this new priesthood.

    If at the back of your mind you asked this question wondering whether we might be better off without this system of leaders, I have a great deal of sympathy with you. I think the NT does mandate a certain amount of structure to the ministry of the church, but even in evangelical circles this can still result in a church literally being man-centered.

  194. @ Max:

    They have not figured it out yet, Max. the more they write about their policies/interpretations on subjects that are being blogged (such as molesters, authoritarian churches), the more it becomes obvious they are desperately trying to beat back a growing tide of those who question their views and behaviors.

    They really are playing to their base. Shoring up their followers.

  195. dee wrote:

    I believe that churches should spell out their thoughts on discipline. As of now, most of the statements read “We believe in church discipline.” Well, hoop dee doo! Their refusal to do so leaves me suspicious. I believe many churches want to leave open their options in case they want to go after someone who is challenging them appropriately.

    Well, yes. But this goes with my previous comment. Church discipline was one of the “trinity” of control items adopted to create the complex. The first was “calvinism” for the sake of theological gatekeeping. The second was “the gospel” for the sake of making any point of disagreement a possibility of excluding an uncooperative ministry from the club, and the third was “church discipline”, which is designed primarily to silence dissent and streamline operations. It can also be used to kick out individuals. I put the three in quotes because the movement has redefined all three for their purposes.

  196. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    The goal has always been to create an evangelical industrial complex, and it is working.

    This is what I have thought for a long time when it comes to the leaders. The followers drank the kool aid.

    Yes, there are true believers within the tribe but mostly loyalty to the tribal leaders is the entrance fee. The big argument here is whether or not Ezell is a 4 point or 3 point Calvinist. I keep telling folks that has nothing to do with it. Same with Moore and quite a few others.

    And what was CJ Mahaney spouting before he joined the Calvinist industrial complex? He was “People of Destiny” complete with prophecy mics. (Which I always thought was amusing considering how Mohler presents himself as a brilliant theologian. People of Destiny screams cult)

    Driscoll was Emergent before he crossed over to the complex. Piper was a Bob Jones type fundy in the early days.

  197. Lydia wrote:

    obvious they are desperately trying to beat back a growing tide of those who question their views and behaviors

    Stetzer tweeted today “Bring up church membership and watch people squirm.” This is a tongue-in-cheek slam on those who are sounding the alarm about membership covenants and the steady stream of abuse-by-contract reports. It is also a cute strategy to prompt his 158,000 Twitter minions to ignore the warnings and to have no fear of entering into bondage to “elders” in their 20s-30s. Perhaps it’s Stetzer who is squirming.

  198. dee wrote:

    oldJohnJ wrote:
    YEC topics have been extensively discussed here at TWW. There are about 50 posts under the creationism entry in the topics menu.
    Really?! !!
    Well, this has been one subject that is quite personal for me. I have been on the receiving end of YEC zealots. So, although I do want to focus on abuse issues, I have this fond spot in my heart for this subject.

    Dee,
    While I do NOT want to diminish physical, sexual abuse, that is discussed on this forum, I have experienced spiritual abuse at the hands of YEC, and I know of stories of very extensive spiritual abuse by YEC on others…when peoples faith is destroyed, or severely damaged by the whole YEC/science/Bible controversey, it is pretty serious spiritual abuse….I could go on and on about it… with a number of web sites which gives specific examples

  199. Max wrote:

    Stetzer tweeted today “Bring up church membership and watch people squirm.”

    That is the arrogance talking as if none of us are capable of studying the NT for ourselves. They hold the keys to definitions/interpretations for us, too.

    They always frame the subject so that if you disagree you are the one who is guilty. The arrogance is astounding.

    Isn’t Setzer the church planting “expert” for Lifeway– with how many church plant fails under his belt? Isn’t it 3 at last count? Of course he would wants controlling membership powers.

  200. oldJohnJ wrote:

    @ dlc:
    YEC topics have been extensively discussed here at TWW. There are about 50 posts under the creationism entry in the topics menu.
    Radiometric Dating, perhaps the strongest evidence for the 4.5 billion year age of the Earth, is a mature discipline firmly based on physics and has not been called into scientific question by YEC advocates. An excellent review of the subject is: Radiometric Dating A Christian Perspective, Dr. Roger C. Wiens at http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html . The the ASA is the American Scientific Association composed of science professionals who are Christians. A link to the organization is on the TWW home page. Wiens also disposes of a number of the YEC objections to radiometric dating. There is a brief author bio at the end of the document. If you have further questions along these lines it might be better to do it under the open discussion post.

    ‘I completely agree with this. My professoal training, and practice, allows me understand and critic Radiometric dating (Note, this is different than carbon 13 dating). Radoimetric dating is VERY well established, and based on rock solid physics..The “best” YEC arguements against it resulted in my having to pick my jaw up off the floor… I could not believe people with “PhD’s” would ever think of writing what they did!!! Their arguments, IMHO, are worse than any of the “bad theology” we see discuss on the WW. Their arguements, bascially, call into question ALL of the fundamental principles by which the world functions… or, they just attached the character of anyone that questions them… They are able to get away with it since most people do not understand what they are saying.. very convienient..

  201. Lydia wrote:

    Driscoll was Emergent before he crossed over to the complex.

    Yes, Driscoll was emergent before he became resurgent, to be followed shortly by submergent. Unfortunately, he is resurfacing with an “I’m forgiven” victim message – he spoke recently at an New Calvinist mega-church near me. I guess I missed hearing about Driscoll’s sackcloth and ashes experience and his public confession of sin and repentance regarding those poor folks he wronged at Mars Hill. The YRR are some of the most gullible folks on the planet if they put Driscoll back on his throne!

  202. Max wrote:

    @ Max:
    Something was amiss on the block quote. I was responding to refugee’s question “Isn’t Rick Warren looked down upon by the YRR?” The rest of the post is my answer to that, not refugee’s words. (sorry refugee – not sure what happened on the “reply with quote” paste).

    Happens to me sometimes when I’m typing on my phone.

  203. elastigirl wrote:

    how hard can it be to tune in to God FM? I think we’re all theologians, in the sense that Abraham was a theologian. He was able to tune in, without the benefit of all these theologians. And without the benefit of Holy Spirit as available as air.

    People get freaked out by the ‘variations on a theme’ where God is concerned We have so many ‘professional theologians’ because of textbook dependence, and an expectation of and need for conclusive evidence, hard and fast.

    I don’t believe uniformity of conclusions is indicative of clear reception concerning God FM. I think God is big enough that there is truth in A, B, and C (perhaps D, E, F as well). Some of it is beyond our comprehension. What ties it all together is treating people the way you want to be treated, and making God top priority (as for how to do this, there is no absolute template).

    This is how I see it. Whether or not I explained it well is a different matter.

    You articulated well enough to resonate.

    As I read, my first thoughts were for the hundreds (thousands?) of dollars I threw away on “christian” materials — books, videos, CDs, and (because I am of a certain generation) cassette tapes. And yet it was never enough. I guess you could say I was “always learning, and never coming to a knowledge of truth.”

    When we were first shaking ourselves free, we filled boxes with our books and other materials and took them to church and put “FREE” on the side of the box. (When I think of it, I can remember a few other people/families doing this over the years. Were they decluttering, downsizing, or beginning the process of shaking the dust off their feet? My memory is spotty and I don’t remember who they were, or if they were among those who left years before we did.)

    After we left our church, we gave more boxes of the stuff to Goodwill. It kept popping up all over the house, like one of those bad dreams where you think you’ve gotten rid of everything, of some sort of plague or invader, and then you find more. The separating/learning/eye-opening process continued. More stuff surfaced as we cleaned and purged. (We were selling our house and downsizing at the time, too.) The feeling grew, that we didn’t want to give this stuff to the thrift store, that someone else might be blighted by it as we had been.

    In the end, we threw a lot of stuff into the recycling and garbage bins.

    I suppose I might have boxed it up and shipped it off to Hester (Scarlet Letters blog) — she has helped me to think through some of my Vision Forum conditioning, with her thoughtful analysis of books I’ve read and CDs and DVDs I watched/listened to way too uncritically. (I think our church culture diminished discernment rather than honing that skill.)

    And yeah, your “God is big enough” makes sense to me, at this point in the journey.

  204. dee wrote:

    I awoke to find our air conditioning was out!

    I’m sorry, that was my fault. When you listed off the issues yesterday I thought of mentioning the air conditioning going out but decided it would be provoking fate. Actually it is all predetermined, Calvin is getting back at you.

  205. Bill M wrote:

    lydia wrote:
    No one in that era in Geneva could afford to set aside Calvin without paying a high price.
    Adding this with what Eeyore and Patrice have commented can it be proposed the flaw is not theology but that no one should have that much power? Should anyone who seeks power be suspect, regardless when they lived?
    On the subject of “Abusive Church Disciple”, burning someone has to rank pretty near the top.

    When I think of it, our teens were pretty much burned at the stake in our church. For them, it was a slow, painful roasting that lasted a lifetime. Well, almost a lifetime. We have been out of that church for a year now, but it is the culture they know, that they grew up in. They must build entirely new lives.

    My spouse was bemoaning what we see on their social media, its irreverence, even obscenity at times. He points to the company they’re keeping now… some of them “blatant atheists.”

    But if we were to somehow immerse them in “wholesome” company… well, they’d simply label it as “BTDT” — the “wholesome” church culture seared them and left gaping wounds. Why would they want to hang around with reverent, “clean” (the opposite of open obscenity) people?

    Beneath the “acting out” there is all sorts of thought going on. You don’t have to post squeaky clean facebook posts, or scripture verses (they have little use for scripture, anyhow) to be thinking deeply.

    But it is a strain, knowing our acquaintances in the christian homeschooling community is watching our family’s meltdown, seeing our children’s “rebellion” and saying with shock, “They used to be a leading family! How did they go wrong? I know! They didn’t shelter their children enough!”

    The cracks are already showing. Some people don’t want our kids around their kids. “Bad influence.”

    I would have thought the same thing, a few years ago.

  206. Max wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    obvious they are desperately trying to beat back a growing tide of those who question their views and behaviors

    Stetzer tweeted today “Bring up church membership and watch people squirm.” This is a tongue-in-cheek slam on those who are sounding the alarm about membership covenants and the steady stream of abuse-by-contract reports. It is also a cute strategy to prompt his 158,000 Twitter minions to ignore the warnings and to have no fear of entering into bondage to “elders” in their 20s-30s. Perhaps it’s Stetzer who is squirming.

    You know what makes me squirm?

    Signing the Holy Spirit out of my life into the hands of people who don’t even know me.

  207. Lydia wrote:

    The brothers made a mistake in complicated situation, a mistake for which they quickly apologized and altered course. ”

    It wasn’t complicated

  208. elastigirl wrote:

    This much we can agree on: God is good, God is love, evil and death exist, Jesus is God incarnate, paid the penalty in our stead, went the distance and defeated death, Holy Spirit-counselor-friend-comforter-spirit of truth is as available as air,…… even here, the basics, we can only comprehend in part.

    What keeps getting thrown in my face, though I am desperately clinging to “God is good, God is love” at present, is that “God is holy, God is righteous, God is Judge and judgment is coming.”

    It’s like a one-two slam. (I don’t know if that’s the right metaphor.) But I’m thrown off balance when I talk about God’s love, to be pulled up short with, “Yes, but He is holy” and then while I’m still reeling to be slammed in the other direction with, “and He loved us so much that He saved us from destruction. We can do nothing. He did everything” and to be told I’m judging God, I’m putting Him in a box, to say I’m dismayed at the idea He created some just for the purpose of destroying them.

    I hate theology. Hate it. When I start thinking about theology like this, I start to feel as if I’m better off without it. Maybe the atheists are right.

  209. GovPappy wrote:

    Signing the Holy Spirit out of my life into the hands of people who don’t even know me

    Yes, especially to young whippersnappers who would still be calling you Pappy!

  210. @ Jeff Chalmers:
    Jeff, you have posted some thoughtful stuff on YEC. Our teens, too, have become convinced that evolution is a viable theory. I have been conditioned by years of Ken Ham and other teachers at annual “Creation Conferences”.

    The thing that blew me away in the beginning, that cut me loose from my evolutionary moorings, was that they brought up inconsistencies and “outright hoaxes” perpetrated by evolutionists. Were these “outright hoaxes” actually hoaxes being put on by the creationists?

    Where do I start to find a more balanced perspective?

  211. @ dee:

    “I wish to relegate it to the kooky Tuesday”
    +++++++++++++

    hmmm…. ‘kooky Tuesday’….. yet something else i’m out of touch on…..

    inform me, someone?

  212. dee wrote:

    Many churches that we feature on this blog are characterized by bombastic preening of the leaders who have the vision.

    Indeed. But wouldn’t you agree that if they (the leaders) are characterised/defined by greed, covetousness, idolatry (which could manifest itself in having to follow their vision) verbally abusing people who disagree, extorting money out of the flock via tithing etc, to put some flesh on Paul’s far from exhaustive list, then despite being so-called leaders they are those from whom we should turn away? That the ‘church’ should confront and discipline, ironically enough.

  213. Ken wrote:

    Otherwise you would have to have a church saints who have achieved sinless perfection to avoid everyone being constantly under discipline.

    Or, if you went to our former church, you simply presented the front of “sinless perfection” — it seems to work for them. Seems to. Didn’t work for us, but that’s another story.

  214. Max wrote:

    GovPappy wrote:

    Signing the Holy Spirit out of my life into the hands of people who don’t even know me

    Yes, especially to young whippersnappers who would still be calling you Pappy!

    Sombiches used to respect their elders. Now they just create ’em.

  215. @ GovPappy:
    Don’t get me started on Danny Ortiz (did I remember that right? somebody loaned us some of those, early on. it was “danny” something — maybe a christian Hardy Boys? I don’t remember) or Elsie Dinsmore…

  216. Calvin should have been the martyred one, instead of being involved in martyring, then maybe he would be worth naming a religious belief after. Even then, not so much.

  217. dee wrote:

    Good morning TWW readers!

    I awoke to find our air conditioning was out! I choose to believe that it happened yesterday, before midnight. I wish to relegate it to the kooky Tuesday. Hopefully, I am back in business albeit it a bit warm!

    Judgment of God, Dee, for exposing the hidden dirt on his saints. But in the midst of that judgment, he shows his mercy – you’re not in Florida.

  218. @ dee:
    Dee, I empathize. I don’t do well with heat — and your yesterday really sounds like a doozy of “one of those days.”

    I’d say I’m praying for you, but at the moment I’m not certain of the efficacy of prayer. At least in my case.

  219. @ Max:
    Acts29.

    Yesterday, we ran into some old acquaintances. While catching up (you know, the kinds of brief things people share in five- or ten-minute encounters), the question “What church do you go to now?” came up — unsurprising, as our connection in the past had been church.

    In describing their new church, one of the first things they said was, “It’s an Acts29 church.” It might even have been the first thing. Almost like a keyword, a secret handshake, an “are you a member of the Club”?

    It just struck me as odd.

  220. Lydia wrote:

    They really are playing to their base. Shoring up their followers.

    Thom Rainer, Stetzer’s boss at Lifeway, chimed in with this tweet: “Too many times, we bring members into a church without letting them know the expectations of membership.” Birds of a feather flock together. As a born-again, bought-by- the-blood-of-Jesus Christian, I know what is expected of me. The Holy Spirit leads me into all truth … I don’t need an organizational contract to keep me on the straight and narrow. When I stumble, the Holy Spirit convicts me and corrects my course, not some authoritarian church elder executing clause 18 of a contract.

  221. @ oldJohnJ:
    Thank you! I know this wasn’t addressed to me, but it looks like a helpful resource, and along the lines of something I was asking someone else.

  222. dee wrote:

    Dave A A wrote:
    Calvin, for his part, believed baptists to be “the devil’s own miscreants)
    Calvin set up a rigid system and judged other rigidly. He would never, ever have gotten anywhere to day except in places like Westboro Baptist and he would have named it Westboro PCA due to the baptism issue.
    The only reason Calvin is so well known is that he played the political game quite well and if one is successful politically, then God must be in it.

    How can the SBC and so many baptist churches be embracing calvinism, then? It boggles the mind.

  223. lydia wrote:

    Why are elders needed today?

    Cuz’ Paul sez so stupid! (tongue in cheek Lyds, tongue in cheek, and I do have cheek)
    The idea of Paul’s letters being actual ‘how to’ instruction manuals which must be followed is almost exclusively American in origin and has enjoyed a wide resurgence over the last 40-45 years.
    Here’s what E.W. Bullinger had to say almost a century ago in preface to the Book of 1st Timothy:

    “To Timothy were given the earliest instructions for orderly arrangement in the church, these instructions being of the simplest nature, and, as Dean Alford well observes with regard to the Pastoral Epistles as a whole, the directions given “are altogether of an ethical, not of an hierarchical kind”. These directions afford no warrant whatsoever for the widespread organizations of the “churches” as carried on today.”

    At any rate Lyds, you do raise a good question and it doesn’t really matter what Tom Dilly or Bill Bump says about elders, let each be convinced in his or her own mind.

  224. Lydia wrote:

    Stetzer tweeted today “Bring up church membership and watch people squirm.”

    That is the arrogance talking as if none of us are capable of studying the NT for ourselves. They hold the keys to definitions/interpretations for us, too.

    “watch people squirm” — even if they’re no better than worms avoiding the hook, those squirming people know death when they see it…

  225. Max wrote:

    Christina wrote:
    Oh, hell. Look what I just found: http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/july/membership-matters-3-reasons-for-church-membership.html
    I view Ed Stetzer’s timely piece as a response to watchblogs such as this one which are sounding alarms about signing church covenants. Stetzer is the Executive Director of LifeWay Research (SBC’s publishing house). He is a good buddy to leading New Calvinists across the country, although he is elusive about his personal theological persuasion (but if you walk like a duck, talk like a duck …). Stetzer has proven to be an ambassador of New Calvinist belief and practice by his occasional articles of this nature. When Stetzer speaks, the YRR listen. He essentially is defending Acts29 churches which require putting your John Hancock on the bottom line (Stetzer is a freqent speaker at their conferences). With the article, he is also coming to the side of Matt Chandler and The Village Church which have come under scrutiny for member abuse (TVC is affiliated with SBC; Chandler is also Acts29 President – go figure). While Stetzer doesn’t directly say “sign the contract”, he implies entering into church membership via such covenant. The plot thickens.

    What bothers me not a little bit is that their core theology is opportunistic and ad hoc, and Stetzer’s recent article would be one of many exhibits demonstrating this phenomenon; i.e., since a number of neocalvinist churches are attempting to lock in members so that they can sustain growth and continue as a “profitable” going concern and are attempting to achieve this in part through membership contracts, the neocalvinist theologians step out and introduce the theology of membership contracts. I do not recall this ever being an issue just one generation ago.

    This tail is wagging the dog–what has become important theologically to the neocalvinist leaders just happens to be what best serves their personal interests in maintaining their status and empire. What a stark contrast to the Apostle Paul, or any of the apostles, or the prophets, or our Lord Jesus, each of whom seemed almost invariably to be pushing a theology that did not serve their own interests, that caused many of them in practice to find themselves exiled, beheaded, sawn in two, shipwrecked, impoverished, setting aside their brilliant academic careers to become blue collar tent builders–or crucified.

    When one observes the fruits of these modern day prophets and theologians, it becomes obvious that we ought not listen to them at all, but instead expose their evil.

  226. refugee wrote:

    “It’s an Acts29 church.”

    Refugee, when folks say things like that with a winky-winky arrogance, I like to remind them that there ain’t no Acts 29 in the Bible. Luke’s gospel ends with Acts 28 and a final verse that reads: “Preaching to them the kingdom of God and teaching them about the Lord Jesus Christ.” I then tell those folks that they need to get out of that mess and find a church that preaches the Kingdom and Jesus, rather than TULIP and Calvin!

  227. refugee wrote:

    How can the SBC and so many baptist churches be embracing calvinism, then? It boggles the mind.

    Read Reisinger’s “Quiet Revolution” chapter 4 and you will get it. This is the playbook that is so ingrained that most YRR know little of it. the playbook taught that you never mention “Calvinism”. You simply teach grace, Sovereignty, Gospel, etc using Calvinistic definitions— but don’t tell them you are using different definitions than what they are used to. Often you would hear people in the pews say ‘something is off’ but they could not put their finger on it. Add in the long time tolerance and honeymoon period most pew sitters have for a new pastor and a disaster is in the works. He has had plenty of time to consolidate power and identify potential trouble makers. It is a diabolically clever system. then add in that the YRR movement focused on youth groups, college groups, seminaries, etc and NOT adult pew sitters. So they focus on the young and indoctrination.

    In effect that movement taught the young movement people the pew sitters did not know the true Gospel but if you told them it was Calvinism they would not listen because they are ignorant.

    The whole movement was built on deception in the Name of Jesus.

  228. refugee wrote:

    @ Jeff Chalmers:
    Jeff, you have posted some thoughtful stuff on YEC. Our teens, too, have become convinced that evolution is a viable theory. I have been conditioned by years of Ken Ham and other teachers at annual “Creation Conferences”.
    The thing that blew me away in the beginning, that cut me loose from my evolutionary moorings, was that they brought up inconsistencies and “outright hoaxes” perpetrated by evolutionists. Were these “outright hoaxes” actually hoaxes being put on by the creationists?
    Where do I start to find a more balanced perspective?

    Old Earth Ministries:
    http://www.oldearth.org

  229. @ Muff Potter:

    Good points but I would take it a step further. We are not in the 1st or even 3rd Century with a brand new movement. The idea of elder (mature in the faith) morphed into an “office” so as to be in charge of the adults. It became a ceremonial position (not a function to help new believers) of over lording.

    We are way past that after 2000 years and especially in the last 200 years where there has been more freedom to study on our own and defy kings and magistrates. In fact, I would argue that the concept of “elder” as is understood historically in tradition is actually dangerous to spiritual growth.

  230. GovPappy wrote:

    @ refugee:
    Now that you mention it, my sisters did get into Elsie Dinsmore. Lawdie.
    Then one day we all discovered LotR.

    I bought the first few Elsie Dinsmore books (used, I’m pretty sure. our budget did not stretch to buying stuff “new” from the VF catalog). I started to read the first one aloud to our eldest. I read two… maybe three chapters? It was boring. It was tedious. It was, frankly, dumb. This kid, who *loved* readaloud time, did not beg for more. We sort of mutually agreed to leave that series behind.

    I remember asking someone who’d enthused about the books, saying we were finding the first book heavy going, and she said, Oh, they get better as you go along. (In hindsight, I wonder if perhaps you become more numb, the more of Elsie you read.)

    Later, on an internet discussion board (Robinson Curriculum users, perhaps? We dabbled in that curriculum for a couple of years) someone sheepishly admitted to not liking Elsie Dinsmore. A whole bunch of moms came out of the woodwork then, in astonishment and relief, to admit the same thing. (Emperor’s New Clothes, anyone?)

    I never read Elsie aloud to our younger children, but one of them, an insatiable reader, actually dabbled in the books she found on a basement shelf, and found them “insipid” and “racist” and “badly written trash” — which opinion I heard years later, when the subject of Elsie came up somehow in conversation. (Maybe it was when we were talking over that dismal “answer to Harry Potter” that we’d suffered through, because I had a review contact with a homeschool company, and a couple years after had seen that same horrible book recommended with glowing description in the Vision Forum catalog, where — you guessed it — Elsie’s books had formerly been prominently featured.)

  231. @ refugee:
    (I meant to say “review contract” not “contact” — I was forced to review that book. I have also worked for a homeschool company that gave reviewers the opportunity to write negative reviews, or turn down a review altogether, if we found the material inferior or objectionable. I much preferred working for the latter company.)

  232. refugee wrote:

    How can the SBC and so many baptist churches be embracing calvinism, then? It boggles the mind.

    So much about evangelical Christianity boggles the mind…

  233. GovPappy wrote:

    Signing the Holy Spirit out of my life into the hands of people who don’t even know me.

    Amazing, isn’t it? Makes you wonder how many people who attend these churches actually understand that they, too, can seek the Holy Spirit as a guide and counselor.

    1 John:

    26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

    That was not written to “elders”. But to the Body of Christ, most likely in Ephesus.

    This is the passage I encourage everyone who has been spiritually abused to memorize.

  234. @ Lydia:
    I have read this so many times… (we used to try to read through the bible on an annual basis)

    But this is the first time I think I have really read it.

    Thank you for pointing this out.

  235. Jeff Chalmers wrote:

    refugee wrote:
    @ Jeff Chalmers:
    Jeff, you have posted some thoughtful stuff on YEC. Our teens, too, have become convinced that evolution is a viable theory. I have been conditioned by years of Ken Ham and other teachers at annual “Creation Conferences”.
    The thing that blew me away in the beginning, that cut me loose from my evolutionary moorings, was that they brought up inconsistencies and “outright hoaxes” perpetrated by evolutionists. Were these “outright hoaxes” actually hoaxes being put on by the creationists?

    Radiometric dating of rock, and geology in general, has nothing to do with evolution. There are all sorts of back and forth in evolutionary thinking, and it is easy to cherry pick ideas from either side to make a “case”. But Radiometric dating, and geology, are their own disciplines, and the conspiracy thinking that YEC like to talk about between geology and evolutionary biologist is a red herring argument. Anyone that really observes/participates in science knows that they each march to there own drummer. Before Darwin, geologist had been moving away from young earth and global , Noah like flood (Significant published papers show this) They did NOT need Darwin’s ideas (and the related biologist at the time), to justify their concepts of a old earth. Then the “new physics” came along, including radioactivity, quantuam mechanics, atomic bombs/power, etc, and the indepndent idea came along that we can use the radioactive decay pathway of elements to date rock. Again, no grand conspiricy here… the Physicsist were trying to explain nature, and out of it came all of the nucelar theories/concepts (Not justify DArwinian thinking/evolution so we can ride the world of G&d and creation!)
    YEC like to say there is a “conspiracy”, and a great way to rally the troops against all of the G&dless scientists..
    See
    Old Earth Ministries:
    http://www.oldearth.org

  236. Law Prof wrote:

    I do not recall this ever being an issue just one generation ago.
    This tail is wagging the dog–what has become important theologically to the neocalvinist leaders just happens to be what best serves their personal interests in maintaining their status and empire

    Boy does that nail it. My parents, Aunts and Uncles would have never put up with what is going on in the SBC today with these overlords. They drilled priesthood of believer and soul liberty into our heads. And for that I am so grateful.

  237. @ Ken:
    Well, then, most of the celebrity l\mega leaders would go away. There could be a *crash* of the Christian market for books, buildings and jets. It might contribute to a significant blip on the Dow Jones.

  238. elastigirl wrote:

    hmmm…. ‘kooky Tuesday’….. yet something else i’m out of touch on….

    yesterday, I had all sorts of things happen-doctors visits, blowing our my dishwasher drying unit, burning the casserole beyond recognition and my credit card number being used to purchase all kinds of things including airline tickets. Then my air-conditioning stopped working which I believe happened while I was sleeping.

    That is why it was kooky Tuesday.

  239. @ refugee:
    My gosh. Robinson curriculum. That’s something I haven’t heard in a long time, but yes, we did that too for awhile.

    I remember basically nothing about the books I read in that. I do, however, remember Dickens, Sir Walter Scott, LotR, Harry Potter, James Herriot…. You get the idea.

  240. refugee wrote:

    the front of “sinless perfection

    I never did well with the sinless outward appearance. I am a bit of a klutz-always tripping over things and causing a commotion. Sinless perfection people feel uncomfortable around me.

  241. GovPappy wrote:

    Sombiches used to respect their elders. Now they just create ’em.

    Yep-some of those elders are 23 years old and just love to think they are really wise. Then they meet me.

  242. @ refugee:

    “What keeps getting thrown in my face, though I am desperately clinging to “God is good, God is love” at present, is that “God is holy, God is righteous, God is Judge and judgment is coming.”

    …when I talk about God’s love, to be pulled up short with, “Yes, but He is holy” and then while I’m still reeling to be slammed in the other direction with, “and He loved us so much that He saved us from destruction. We can do nothing. He did everything” and to be told I’m judging God, I’m putting Him in a box, to say I’m dismayed at the idea He created some just for the purpose of destroying them.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    my feeling is that an environment such as you describe will make one’s life miserable.

    what’s the point?

    this is how I see it: we can wrestle philosophically, theologically, ideologically with stuff all our lives…. and then we die.

    where was the fun? where was the pleasure and enjoyment? where was running down a grassy hill with a kite on a breezy day?

    some things in life are like a Rubik’s cube that no one can solve. even though some pretend they have solved it (with their neat & tidy systems that twist people up into ‘Contortionists For Christ’ — & the satisfying ‘ahhhhh’ of things appearing to fit into place distracts from the discomfort of being twisted up.

    my conclusion: accept that there will be incongruencies and bewilderment. let it go.

    go for kindness, invest in improving people’s lives practically and experientially, and fly as many kites and build as many sand castles and have as many parties with loved ones as you can. eat your favorite foods. see your favorite movies. listen to great music with just the right beverage and a candle.

    enjoy God. take him with you all day long. chat with him. celebrate him. celebrate the good things in life. enjoy them to the full.

    consider every moment of happiness to be a power vitamin, and let it fizzle down through your extremities.

  243. GovPappy wrote:

    you’re not in Florida.

    However, each year I travel to the 30A section of the Panhandle and will also be visiting Sanibel for the second time this year. I love your state.

  244. refugee wrote:

    In describing their new church, one of the first things they said was, “It’s an Acts29 church.” It might even have been the first thing. Almost like a keyword, a secret handshake, an “are you a member of the Club”?
    It just struck me as odd.

    It surprises me because many Acts 29 churches around here are not admitting it anymore because of the Driscoll (and now Chandler?) ties.

  245. I just started to read Stetzer’s piece on church membership. The PTSD kicked in and I started to gag, so I didn’t read more than a couple paragraphs.

    One thing struck me, though, as incredibly ironic. He starts out by saying membership is not a bad concept; people don’t have trouble with the concept of membership — look at Costco!

    (Um. Costco is a business… big business… No, wait, church is big business, isn’t it…)

  246. Lydia wrote:

    refugee wrote:
    In describing their new church, one of the first things they said was, “It’s an Acts29 church.” It might even have been the first thing. Almost like a keyword, a secret handshake, an “are you a member of the Club”?
    It just struck me as odd.
    It surprises me because many Acts 29 churches around here are not admitting it anymore because of the Driscoll (and now Chandler?) ties.

    I think, because of the mutual church we came from, that perhaps they were looking for approval? I don’t know.

    I do know they have at least one adult child who has walked away from the church. They may well know of our struggles. I don’t hear the gossip about us, but I’d be naive to think there wasn’t any.

  247. GovPappy wrote:

    Now that you mention it, my sisters did get into Elsie Dinsmore.

    I never brought those books into my home. My kids started with Lord of the Rings by 4th grade. That is real truth telling and one of the most (if not the most) beautiful examples of a Fellowship that I have ever seen described.

  248. @ Lydia:
    I think I’ve heard one message (a Sunday school lesson) on this passage.

    The teacher said quite bluntly that he was really unnecessary. I appreciated that.

    Teachers are a luxury – a tool in our personal growth – not the source.

  249. @ dee:

    “yesterday, I had all sorts of things happen-…..That is why it was kooky Tuesday.”
    ++++++++++++++

    oh, ok. so, it’s not a “thing” then. something everyone knows about but me.

    maybe we can make it a thing. “Kooky Tuesday”. See if it gets traction.

  250. Max wrote:

    Thom Rainer, Stetzer’s boss at Lifeway, chimed in with this tweet: “Too many times, we bring members into a church without letting them know the expectations of membership.”

    Max, If they told people the truth about their expectations and interpretations for membership, I doubt it would help their membership crusades. What Rainer was really saying is that more churches need membership covenants. He is trying to make the case that without membership covenants the SBC is dwindling. that is their new focus….blame a lack of loyalty to the local church (as in leaders) to dwindling numbers. I am seeing this focus all over their writings/blog comments, etc. They only know a form of force for compliance. That is how tyrants think.

  251. @ Christina:

    I saw this and would like to write about this on my blog. But I have several things in the works including an Open Letter to a Dee Parsons. I wish I had a full time staff like the Deebs do!

  252. Lydia wrote:

    refugee wrote:
    In describing their new church, one of the first things they said was, “It’s an Acts29 church.” It might even have been the first thing. Almost like a keyword, a secret handshake, an “are you a member of the Club”?
    It just struck me as odd.
    It surprises me because many Acts 29 churches around here are not admitting it anymore because of the Driscoll (and now Chandler?) ties.

    Okay, I got curious, so I googled “Acts29” and the name of the street they said their church was on. I got “transforming religious and irreligious people into Jesus people for the glory”.

    Sounds very Mars Hillish to me.

  253. @ dee:
    Good point. LotR was one of the most profound influences in my life when I got my hands on them. They changed me.

  254. @ K.D.:

    You know what I would like to write about and ask Ed Stetzer is the following. Is the Christian in a North Korean internment camp count if he is suffering and had not signed a church covenant membership? Is he serious about his faith or even a Christian at all if he had not signed the doted line and become a member of a church. I have so much on my plate.

  255. refugee wrote:

    I just started to read Stetzer’s piece on church membership. The PTSD kicked in and I started to gag, so I didn’t read more than a couple paragraphs.

    One thing struck me, though, as incredibly ironic. He starts out by saying membership is not a bad concept; people don’t have trouble with the concept of membership — look at Costco!

    (Um. Costco is a business… big business… No, wait, church is big business, isn’t it…)

    If I see that argument one more time, so help me….

  256. refugee wrote:

    One thing struck me, though, as incredibly ironic. He starts out by saying membership is not a bad concept; people don’t have trouble with the concept of membership — look at Costco!

    Believe me, that sentiment is all over that movement and it is so pedantic I can hardly believe people fall for it anymore.

    But what “local church” was Paul “member”? Timothy? John? Peter? They were “members” of the Body of Christ.

    Do you know how many of these evangelical leaders who are not pastors are “members” of a “local church” but NEVER THERE? They get a pass because they travel around making bank off speaking in many venues.

    There are always different rules for them. I have seen it over and over.

  257. refugee wrote:

    one of the first things they said was, “It’s an Acts29 church.

    At which point you make the sign of the Cross and back away slowly. Do not ever bring up church discipline with this group.

  258. @ dee:

    Dee..your AC breaks, your credit card is stolen and your dishwasher goes. Let this be a lesson to you to not touch the Lord’s anointed! 😛

  259. Max wrote:

    I don’t need an organizational contract to keep me on the straight and narrow.

    Thank you for using those words. That is precisely what that is- a contract. In fact. it is also a legal contract and they do not tell you it is. That means you cannot trust them when they do not bring this *little* matter up.

  260. @ Eagle:
    Never fear- I have one bottle left of the best root beer on the planet-Virgil’s Root Beer. I shall drown my sorrows in a bottle shortly.

  261. refugee wrote:

    How can the SBC and so many baptist churches be embracing calvinism, then? It boggles the mind.

    Refugee, it’s a sign of the times we are in. Christianity Lite is the theme of the day, as we drift closer to a final apostasy – the great falling away from that which is right. Paul puts it this way: “For the time is coming when people will not tolerate sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching for something pleasing and gratifying, they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold” (2 Timothy 4:3 AMP).

    New Calvinism has set up shop in SBC and beyond because the people of God have left their first love. When there’s more chatter about Calvin than Jesus, you can be sure we are off track. Churchmen are prayerless and, therefore, powerless to see and confront the theological aberration in their midst. We need an outpouring of brokenness and repentance, followed by genuine revival and spiritual awakening in America, but I don’t see anybody on the horizon anointed to lead the effort. But God …

  262. @ GovPappy:
    It taught me the value of friends, the very real struggle against evil, and the example that weak people can exhibit extraordinary courage and do difficult things. I sometimes call this blog The Fellowship of the Wounded.

  263. Lydia wrote:

    He is trying to make the case that without membership covenants the SBC is dwindling.

    Wait until the discover that their legalistic application of church discipline accompanied by the very legal threat implicit in a church contract is what is driving people away from church membership.

  264. @ Eagle:
    That’s a point I brought up to the missus the other day when we were talking about this. This model only shows up over here because we have the luxury of time and money to sit around and structure this BS.

    The Christians in the random 3rd world country where the struggle is daily food, sickness, and keeping the local militia from running off with your children have a completely different view of Christianity and the idea of the Body.

    If it’s such a sin and shame for me to not be in a membership covenant at my local assembly, what does that say about them?

    Their model only makes any kind of sense in our mess of a society and is truly absurd outside it. It’s not biblical, it’s a reflection of our culture.

  265. dee wrote:

    That is precisely what that is- a contract.

    I spoke to a man who joined a reformed SBC church plant near me because “my children really like the cool pastor and great band.” He decided to host a small group Bible study (Lifegroup) in his home so the children’s friends would have a place to meet. Before he could do that, however, the elders asked him to sign a Lifegroup covenant which required him to accept the Westminster confession of faith (Calvinist doctrine). Being a business man, he never signs a contract unless it is first reviewed by his lawyer. So he turned the covenant over to his lawyer for review. I’m not sure how that came out, since I was too disgusted with the whole matter to follow-up.

  266. Max wrote:

    Paul puts it this way: “For the time is coming when people will not tolerate sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching for something pleasing and gratifying, they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold” (2 Timothy 4:3 AMP).

    I can’t tell you how many times this was preached at us, in defense of Calvinism. *We* had it right; all those other schmucks out there had it wrong.

  267. dee wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    He is trying to make the case that without membership covenants the SBC is dwindling.
    Wait until the discover that their legalistic application of church discipline accompanied by the very legal threat implicit in a church contract is what is driving people away from church membership.

    I anticipate the discovery will come fifty years or so after the demise of the Western church, in someone’s doctoral thesis, perhaps.

  268. Lydia wrote:

    My parents, Aunts and Uncles would have never put up with what is going on in the SBC today with these overlords.

    Agreed! My folks would have hurled their big Bibles at the young rebels and their arrogant leaders! However, the current set of parents, aunts and uncles in SBC ranks (the non-Calvinist millions who could make a difference) are sitting idly and quietly by while a once-great evangelistic domination surrenders its core beliefs into the unqualified hands of their children. The masses are either uninformed, misinformed or willingly ignorant. I’ve never seen anything like it!

  269. refugee wrote:

    I can’t tell you how many times this was preached at us, in defense of Calvinism.

    Yes, all Christendom likes to claim this verse as their own. That’s why there are over 41,000 Christian denominations and organizations on planet earth (according to Christianity Today). Who’s got a corner on the Truth? God knows.

  270. refugee wrote:

    Perhaps the lampstand has been removed.

    The old lamp is flickering for sure. The SBC has already surrendered its torch of evangelism … a denominational gifting that it was formerly identified by.

  271. Lydia wrote:

    We are way past that after 2000 years and especially in the last 200 years where there has been more freedom to study on our own and defy kings and magistrates. In fact, I would argue that the concept of “elder” as is understood historically in tradition is actually dangerous to spiritual growth.

    Good point again Lyds. In my opinion Christianity is still reeling from the impact of the Enlightenment as a game changer in the history of the Western world. Prior to that Era and when Holy Writ was laid down, there was no such thing as The Rights of Man. Rule by an autocrat was the order of the day back then.

  272. dee wrote:

    Calvin set up a rigid system and judged other rigidly.

    He sure did! It’s interesting, with respect to his dealings involving everyday life, Calvin was truly concerned about the plight of women and children and in finding fair solutions to everyday disputes. But woe be onto you if you disagreed with him on theological or political matters to the point where Calvin considered you a threat. In these cases Calvin was vindictive and he wanted to not just prevail against his opponents but to humiliate them as well.

  273. href=”#comment-205640″ title=”Go to comment of this author”>refugee wrote:

    Okay, I got curious, so I googled “Acts29″ and the name of the street they said their church was on. I got “transforming religious and irreligious people into Jesus people for the glory”.

    Sounds very Mars Hillish to me.

    Sounds like the Body Snatchers to me. I thought the Holy Spirit is the One who transforms, not mere human beings. But obviously I have not grasped how people who do things that do not look like Jesus at all somehow are able to transmogrify both religious and irreligious people into “Jesus people.” Powerful stuff, I guess.

  274. @ Gram3:
    See, that’s what I get for commenting on the Daughters of Satin blog. Stan totally messed up the formatting of my comment…

  275. JeffT wrote:

    Calvin was vindictive and he wanted to not just prevail against his opponents but to humiliate them as well.

    The spirit of Calvin still lives through his followers. Control, manipulation, and intimidation are not fruit of the Holy Spirit. The New Calvinist movement is populated by some of the meanest, most arrogant know-it-all folks on the planet (and those are the pastors!).

  276. dee wrote:

    Never fear- I have one bottle left of the best root beer on the planet-Virgil’s Root Beer.

    Oh wow. Someone turned me on to that a few months ago. All I needed was a frosted glass mug to make it perfection.

  277. refugee wrote:

    I got “transforming religious and irreligious people into Jesus people for the glory”.
    Sounds very Mars Hillish to me.

    Or, turn them into “People of Destiny”. :o)

  278. Max wrote:

    The spirit of Calvin still lives through his followers. Control, manipulation, and intimidation are not fruit of the Holy Spirit. The New Calvinist movement is populated by some of the meanest, most arrogant know-it-all folks on the planet (and those are the pastors!).

    Seems to be part of Calvinism’s DNA from the get-go

  279. JeffT wrote:

    Seems to be part of Calvinism’s DNA from the get-go

    Jeff, I’m a firm believer that we have a spiritual battle going on in Christendom right now. The 16th century confrontation of the magisterial reformers and the Anabaptists continue to this day. Same spiritual DNA. It’s more than a debate over the teachings and traditions of men. While I comment on what I see in my neck of the woods with the New Calvinism movement, these things are only fleshly manifestations of a deeper problem. The real war is raging in the heavens for the souls of men. The NC debate is a distraction hindering individual and corporate evangelism. Debating is not preaching the Gospel. We should indeed flail at the branches to flag the problems, but need to eventually take an axe to the root of the tree by putting on spiritual armor (Ephesians 6).

  280. Lydia wrote:

    He is trying to make the case that without membership covenants the SBC is dwindling

    This would be where HUG should drop in and give an analogy to the Berlin wall. Their system was so great they needed armed guards to keep people in. These covenants, like the Berlin Wall, are monuments to their failure.

  281. refugee wrote:

    GovPappy wrote:
    @ refugee:
    Now that you mention it, my sisters did get into Elsie Dinsmore….

    …the Vision Forum catalog, where…Elsie’s books had formerly been prominently featured.)

    In our brief flirtation with the Vision Forum phenomenon, where we’d get the slick catalogs with Elsie Dinsmore–the epitome of trite–and G. A. Henty featured. We made the mistake of buying a Henty. I sat during home school reading time a few times during Cat of Bubastes and then finally starting ranting and raving about it and refused to have it in the house (and I hear that’s his best work, would hate to see the worst) and it ended up being deposited in the circular file. He’s a creaky, plodding mediocrity, represents the very worst of dusty Victorianism. Kipling might have been a bigot and imperialist like Henty, but at least he had bona fide talent. The Russians from that era could write and think circles round them all. For that matter, the Bible’s well-written and never trite. Better to read that.

  282. @ Dave A A:
    Thanks, but that was not me. I am amazed that they would allow something stating the truth about Calvin to stand on that site.

  283. dee wrote:

    Well, then, most of the celebrity l\mega leaders would go away. There could be a *crash* of the Christian market for books, buildings and jets. It might contribute to a significant blip on the Dow Jones.

    What you might call ‘good news’, then …

  284. @ Law Prof:
    Darn it, maybe I misspoke – we were more involved with that stuff than I remembered – I personally never read any of them. Not sure how I got out of it. Guess I was a lousy student. Rest of my siblings read them though.

  285. @ Max:
    Don’t forget condescension. I’ve never seen a more condescending group. That’s the great thing about Twitter – you can get a feel for a lot of different people groups daily. I have no desire to be a part of the culture they’re creating.

  286. Daisy wrote:

    Jeff Chalmers wrote:
    . I have heard more than once that if Genesis is not literal, than Gospel is meaningless!!
    I think that charge has some basis, merit to it.
    There was a lot of YEC bashing going on there in your post.
    Criticism of Young Earth Creationism and Its Advocates, especially as seen on spiritual abuse blogs or liberal Christian sites
    https://missdaisyflower.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/criticism-of-young-earth-creationists-and-its-advocates-especially-as-seen-on-spiritual-abuse-blogs-or-liberal-christian-sites/

    To further Daisy’s point, look at this site at ASA.. is demonstrates the infighting at a Homeschool association over Ken Ham
    http://asa3online.org/homeschool/657-weighing-in-on-ken-ham-peter-enns-jay-wile/

  287. Daisy wrote:

    Jeff Chalmers wrote:
    . I have heard more than once that if Genesis is not literal, than Gospel is meaningless!!
    I think that charge has some basis, merit to it.
    There was a lot of YEC bashing going on there in your post.
    Criticism of Young Earth Creationism and Its Advocates, especially as seen on spiritual abuse blogs or liberal Christian sites
    https://missdaisyflower.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/criticism-of-young-earth-creationists-and-its-advocates-especially-as-seen-on-spiritual-abuse-blogs-or-liberal-christian-sites/

    To further Daisy’s point, look at this site at ASA.. it demonstrates the infighting at a Homeschool association over Ken Ham’s alleged behavior:
    http://asa3online.org/homeschool/657-weighing-in-on-ken-ham-peter-enns-jay-wile/

  288. @ Lydia:
    I think sometimes I, at least, forget just how awful that act was – I can’t imagine being burned alive at all, much less for a theological misunderstanding. Often, time divorces us from personal feelings and images. You know what I’m reminded of though? The recent image of the Jordanian airman being burned alive by Isis.

    Maybe Calvin defenders should take a look at that image of the Jordanian airman’s last moments and reassess themselves. And you’re darned right that’s an emotional appeal.

  289. @ Max:
    Yes. Because some people have run off with spiritual warfare and taken it to an unhealthy excess it is easy to forget that this is real, and that many of the ‘battles’ going on in the church over what might seem petty points of doctrine have spiritual repercussions underneath, and that we are facing spiritual powers at work behind the human facade.

    Isn’t it true that many of the problems today are truth being taken to such an extreme that it becomes error.

  290. refugee wrote:

    The thing that blew me away in the beginning, that cut me loose from my evolutionary moorings, was that they brought up inconsistencies and “outright hoaxes” perpetrated by evolutionists. Were these “outright hoaxes” actually hoaxes being put on by the creationists?

    In terms of the percentage of the evidence the hoaxes the bring out are trivial in numbers. And people on the non creation side admit they were hoaxes. The point of the scientific method is to weed out hoaxes and figure out why there are inconsistencies in various things. And if you start digging into the "science" of AIG you'll find all kinds of inconsistencies. And theories and explanations that they have dropped over the years. But they make them hard to find. They don't want to appear to have changed their mind on their science. Since that's a tool they wield against the secular science. They spend a lot of time telling folks to "ignore that man behind the curtain".

  291. @ oldJohnJ:
    We are really of topic. I am sorry.
    I did read the link you put in an earlier post. Radiometric dating is an interpretation of facts: the ratio of 2 or 3 isotopes to each other. It is based on assumptions. Your link suggested that since conditions haven’t changed in the last 40-100 years, we should assume that that they haven’t changed for the last 4.5 billion? There are many disciplines to science and they should all be taken into account. I have taken an interest in the earth sciences especially. I do not see good explanations of why the earth looks the way it does today from an old earth (or most young earth) perspectives. A good theory must use science (not wishful thinking) to explain ALL of what we see today. There are good efforts being made, but most (including plate tectonics) are physically unworkable. FWIW the best explanation I have found for earth history is: http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/HydroplateOverview.html
    I do not hold what I would call the “mainstream creation organizations” in high regard.

  292. Ken wrote:

    Isn’t it true that many of the problems today are truth being taken to such an extreme that it becomes error.

    Yes, heresy can be an over-emphasis of a long-neglected truth.

  293. dlc wrote:

    I did read the link you put in an earlier post. Radiometric dating is an interpretation of facts: the ratio of 2 or 3 isotopes to each other. It is based on assumptions. Your link suggested that since conditions haven’t changed in the last 40-100 years, we should assume that that they haven’t changed for the last 4.5 billion?

    In the absence of physical evidence that radioactivity half-lives have changed I think throwing out the entire field of radiometric dating entails far worse assumptions than the constancy of the quantities over time. To bring YEC age statements into agreement with science requires finding a factor of a million or so, not changes of a few percent. Where is the theory and observation that will support this?

  294. refugee wrote:

    The thing that blew me away in the beginning, that cut me loose from my evolutionary moorings, was that they brought up inconsistencies and “outright hoaxes” perpetrated by evolutionists. Were these “outright hoaxes” actually hoaxes being put on by the creationists?
    Where do I start to find a more balanced perspective?

    Fraud is an ongoing problem in science. This is recognized and a variety of techniques are in place to deal with it. I wrote a guest post on this a couple of years ago: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/12/10/fraud-in-science-are-some-young-earth-proponents-being-disingenuous/
    Contrast the behavior of the science community and at least one important part of the YEC one.

  295. Great article Dee. I feel like printing it out and distributing it to UCCD church members some Friday morning! (Friday is our Sunday in the UAE.)

    “There are times, however, when sneaky is not enough and the controlling disciple needs to use a heavier hand (remember, we are not discussing moral advice). This is called “discipline.” A disciple who refuses to yield will be chastened, rebuked, counseled, or will have some other Biblical-sounding word thrown in his face to get cooperation. This frequently involves being told he is not submissive, not broken, not obedient, or not humble. The disciple might be accused of being rebellious, not dying to self, not trusting enough, or being hard-hearted. This labeling game usually works remarkably well in abusive discipleships.”
    -Twisted Scriptures: Breaking Free from Churches that Abuse by Mary Alice Chrnalogar, page 13

    “When committed Christians regularly see other members’ salvation questioned when they leave their church, it is very difficult for them to consider leaving – God, salvation, and the group seem to be synonymous.”
    -Twisted Scriptures: Breaking Free From Churches That Abuse by Mary Alice Chrnalogar, page 189

    “In abusive discipleships, the mere fact that someone is a leader means that followers should never say anything critical about that leader.
    What a nice position – to be a leader when your flock feels that they can’t criticize you without risking that they are going against God! Nice for the leader, but very dangerous for the flock.”
    Twisted Scriptures: Breaking Free From Churches That Abuse by Mary Alice Chrnalogar, page 29

    In abusive discipleships, sin is expanded to mean almost anything that the leaders don’t like (e.g., challenging leader’s actions, not obeying leaders’ advice, disagreeing with leaders, questioning leaders, or openly criticizing leaders).

    “The most common non-Biblical idea that is planted in members’ minds by abusive groups is that they are rebellious, hard-hearted, or prideful when they decide not to follow the group’s rules.”
    -Twisted Scriptures: Breaking Free from Churches that Abuse by Mary Alice Chrnalogar, page 12

    “Jason didn’t bristle at the notion of authority; he was bothered by the execution of authority in the church even as he himself wielded that power. He felt the structure kept him from engaging others in meaningful ways and finding God in the process. He left the church when he realized he was pursuing a position in an organization rather than people in relationships.”
    -“Church Refugees: Sociologists reveal why people are DONE with church but not their faith” by Josh Packard, PH.D. and Ashleigh Hope, pages 62-63

  296. refugee wrote:

    Where do I start to find a more balanced perspective?

    Read everything-all sides. Come to know great scientists who believe in evolution and/or old earth creationism. The Language of God by Francis Collins is a good start on the evolution side. Challenge yourself on issues like “death before the Fall, etc. Read the answers on both sides.

    As for truthiness (I love Colbert’s word) I think you will find fraud on both sides of the equation. Remember everyone is sinful, including Ken Ham. Why would you choose him to believe as opposed to another Christian scientist. You do know that Ham has no scientific credentials, just an undergraduate degree in biology.

    Next, find out who tells the truth when a hoax is discovered. When things disappear on AIG, does Ham say why?

    Contrast that to the science world when a hoax has been exposed. Here is one fraud that have been exposed in our area recently. Retractions in the journals were made as well.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/fayeflam/2015/01/22/investigator-offers-lessons-from-precision-medicines-cancer-scandal/

    Has Ken Ham ever allowed outsiders to look at his *research?* Did you know that his peer review process only allows those who believe in a young earth to review his stuff?

    In the meantime, there are many Christian scientists who are not young earth who participate in a true peer review system.

    Also, I do not believe in conspiracy theories. If one lies long enough, the truth will come out. My husband often says that if young earth were true, a non believing scientist would discover it and win the Nobel Prize for debunking a massive amount of scientific studies.

    Finally, we know a family in which the parents are ardent believers in young earth. They taught their kids that real Christians believe that. The son has grown up and walked away from the faith since he says his parents lied to him about evolution.

    My husband tried to talk to them and ask them if they would encourage him to look at materials by Christians who believe in evolution. They adamantly refuse since that would be “going against God.” Ham sure won in that family-didn’t he? One could be a young earth proponent and not be a believer, right?

  297. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    I feel like printing it out and distributing it to UCCD church members some Friday morning!

    I bet the lovely people of UCCD would fall down on the knees and repent!

  298. oldJohnJ wrote:

    dlc wrote:
    I did read the link you put in an earlier post. Radiometric dating is an interpretation of facts: the ratio of 2 or 3 isotopes to each other. It is based on assumptions. Your link suggested that since conditions haven’t changed in the last 40-100 years, we should assume that that they haven’t changed for the last 4.5 billion?
    In the absence of physical evidence that radioactivity half-lives have changed I think throwing out the entire field of radiometric dating entails far worse assumptions than the constancy of the quantities over time. To bring YEC age statements into agreement with science requires finding a factor of a million or so, not changes of a few percent. Where is the theory and observation that will support this?

    I agree with this and go further. The YEC admit that if the decay rates are not constant, they would need to change by Hugh amounts, and I agree with John’s estmates of a million (10^6) or more! Further, some YEC argue it would have to happen a short time during the flood period. A simple back of the envelope calculation shows that that excellerated radioactive decay would probably melt the earth and vaporize the oceans… Not a nice place to live..
    Further, changing the radioactive decay rates on the order of magnitude of 10^6 effects fundamental equations of the atom…. I.e. The world as we know it would not exist…. So, in reality, the YEC argument that radioactive decay has to change as much as they say, the world as we know it would not exist….. This is jaw dropping to me…

  299. refugee wrote:

    But I think you’re saying that this guy believes the church has authority to exercise church discipline on those outside the church? How crazy is that?

    I think he wants pastors to “discipline” pewsitters who don’t measure up in the proper theology or church polity departments. He hopes this will reduce the number of liberals in seminaries.

  300. Jeff Chalmers wrote:

    oldJohnJ wrote:
    dlc wrote:
    I did read the link you put in an earlier post. Radiometric dating is an interpretation of facts: the ratio of 2 or 3 isotopes to each other. It is based on assumptions. Your link suggested that since conditions haven’t changed in the last 40-100 years, we should assume that that they haven’t changed for the last 4.5 billion?
    In the absence of physical evidence that radioactivity half-lives have changed I think throwing out the entire field of radiometric dating entails far worse assumptions than the constancy of the quantities over time. To bring YEC age statements into agreement with science requires finding a factor of a million or so, not changes of a few percent. Where is the theory and observation that will support this?
    I agree with this and go further. The YEC admit that if the decay rates are not constant, they would need to change by Hugh amounts, and I agree with John’s estmates of a million (10^6) or more! Further, some YEC argue it would have to happen a short time during the flood period. A simple back of the envelope calculation shows that that excellerated radioactive decay would probably melt the earth and vaporize the oceans… Not a nice place to live..
    Further, changing the radioactive decay rates on the order of magnitude of 10^6 effects fundamental equations of the atom…. I.e. The world as we know it would not exist…. So, in reality, the YEC argument that radioactive decay has to change as much as they say, the world as we know it would not exist….. This is jaw dropping to me…

    Another little tidbit…. Figuring out how to significantly increase radioactive decay rates would be the holly grail of energy supply! Not only would one need much less uranium or plutonium for nuclear reactors and Bombs, but could solve the biggest problem of nuclear power….. Storing nuclear waste… With half life’s of 10 of 1000s of years, nuclear wastes is a real waste! and mess…. I know for a fact that singinifcant research has been conducted to try to change radioactive decay rates for this very purpose… And no significant cigar, unfortunately…

  301. Dee, i know of s number cases like his..dee wrote:

    away from the faith since he says his parents lied to him about evolution.

  302. @ dee:
    Thanks.

    It’s ironic, I’d considered the possibility of our kids someday being blindsided by evolution, so at home, teaching them, I talked about evolution (as a *theory* — as much a *theory* as creationism, as a matter of fact, since none of us were there to witness what actually happened, kind of a riff off of Ken Ham’s and Buddy Davis’ “Were you there?” argument).

    I guess Ham would have found me double-minded in not presenting creationism as *truth* rather than *theory* — but my scientific training would not allow me, in all conscience, to do that. I told my children I believed the bible was truth, and told them how different scientists tried to interpret the Genesis story, and even said it was all too “big” for me, so I chose to believe at the time that if God were powerful enough to create the whole world, he was powerful enough to figure out how to do it so that it would manifest all the details we’re familiar with in the present time. Or something to that effect.

    I have to admit, I was dismayed by the vitriol that came out in the Ken Ham/Peter Enns/Susan Wise Bauer/(was Jay Wile involved, too?) debacle. Or do I mean brouhaha?

    It doesn’t matter, in the end. As soon as our children began exploring the world freely (i.e. not constrained to bible based science materials), they chose evolution as making the most sense. It took quite a bit of reading and debate with others, but in the end evolution won the day. I don’t know if that has much to do with their walking away from the faith — their faith was already in shreds because of rampant hypocrisy and downright cruelty from their christian peer group.

    So Gregg Harris and his ilk were right! Peers are evil! Keep your children isolated and at home! (except when they’re traveling with you and hopefully earning speaker’s fees convincing all those other parents out there that you know the biblical way to raise a family)

    Actually, full isolation from the world may be about the only way to ensure your children believe creationism. However, I’ve heard enough stories of fully isolated adult children who’ve walked away from the faith (damaged, barely able to function in the world), I rather have my doubts about that, too.

  303. Dave A A wrote:

    refugee wrote:
    But I think you’re saying that this guy believes the church has authority to exercise church discipline on those outside the church? How crazy is that?

    I think he wants pastors to “discipline” pewsitters who don’t measure up in the proper theology or church polity departments. He hopes this will reduce the number of liberals in seminaries.

    I am reminded of the time I was involved in a national test process for a major denomination’s seminarians (as in the students were from all over, and as far as I know, from more than one seminary), as part of the administrative staff for the grading process. I remember being shocked by overhearing incredulous talk and laughter from a group of test-graders, about one of the seminarians. “He still believes the Bible is literally true!”

    It rather put me off, at the time. I was a member of a church in that denomination, actually. I remember thinking, if we can just pick and choose what part of the bible we want to believe, then what’s the point?

    After two decades in a different denomination, where teaching from a “literally true” bible was used to shackle us, I find myself asking the same question.

    What’s the point?

  304. @ oldJohnJ:
    I would encourage you to look into the link I posted earlier: http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/HydroplateOverview.html Take a few weeks or longer, and digest and understand his theory. He addresses the heat / radioactivity issue you raise. In his writing he gives a laundry list of facts that must be accounted for by any theory attempting to explain earth history. Dr. Brown’s theory is the only one I see that comes close to explaining the earth as we see it today. Daily I read earth science news and ask the question: what theory best explains the facts in that news? It only builds confidence in my young earth position. I appreciate your interaction.

  305. @ dlc:
    As a start lets stick the immediate narrow topic that we started with, the age of the Earth using radiometric dating methods. If Dr Brown has a position on this a brief summary would be a good place to start.

  306. I agree… I want to see a scientifically defenable explaination on how and why radioactive decay can Massively accelerate… Every day we all assume that the basic laws of physics apply and are constant; gravity comes to mind. The general conscience is that laws governing radioactive decay are in this same class…

    oldJohnJ wrote:

    @ dlc:
    As a start lets stick the immediate narrow topic that we started with, the age of the Earth using radiometric dating methods. If Dr Brown has a position on this a brief summary would be a good place to start.

  307. refugee wrote:

    Dave A A wrote:
    refugee wrote:
    But I think you’re saying that this guy believes the church has authority to exercise church discipline on those outside the church? How crazy is that?
    I think he wants pastors to “discipline” pewsitters who don’t measure up in the proper theology or church polity departments. He hopes this will reduce the number of liberals in seminaries.
    I am reminded of the time I was involved in a national test process for a major denomination’s seminarians (as in the students were from all over, and as far as I know, from more than one seminary), as part of the administrative staff for the grading process. I remember being shocked by overhearing incredulous talk and laughter from a group of test-graders, about one of the seminarians. “He still believes the Bible is literally true!”
    It rather put me off, at the time. I was a member of a church in that denomination, actually. I remember thinking, if we can just pick and choose what part of the bible we want to believe, then what’s the point?
    After two decades in a different denomination, where teaching from a “literally true” bible was used to shackle us, I find myself asking the same question.
    What’s the point?

    I think the Bible is literally true–where it’s intended to be.

    Did Jesus literally describe actual people when he spoke of the rich man and Lazarus? Must there have been two actual people with a heaven in which people can literally look across into hell and converse with the inhabitants thereof who beg to be allowed to have a drop of water from heaven on their tongues? Was Abraham literally there conversing with the rich man? Do these things have to be literally true or the Bible’s a lie? Did Jonah actually have to have been literally swallowed by a whale or was this literature and prophecy about both honoring God’s commands and prophetically about Jesus (of course Who was, like Jonah, three days buried and then rose again to preached the truth)? Does it matter?

    Can the Bible be a collection of literal historical facts, parables, ancient legal codes, song lyrics, poetry and great literature and still be inspired by God and be true? I think of course it can.

    The problem I have is not with people who think Jonah and the whale could be literature, but with: 1). People who insist it must be literally true by the standards of a 21st century western mind or the whole Bible falls to pieces, or 2). People who insist it cannot possibly be literally true because it doesn’t align with their human understanding of the laws of nature.

    Both group #1 and group #2 have way to small a conception of God. Of course God could put someone in the belly of a whale and either miraculously sustain him or raise him from the dead. Sheesh, He made the entire universe, what’s that to Him? But by the same token, God could very well decide to inspire literature to teach us the truth alongside literal historical accounts and give us the whole thing together. Why not?

  308. oldJohnJ wrote:

    If Dr Brown has a position on this a brief summary would be a good place to start.

    I always like to start with a short bio to see who it is that is saying something before looking at what might be said by that person. Wiki has a short bio which seems to say that this man has not found significant acceptance of his thinking on either side of the creation/evolution issue. Apparently he is the one who believes what he says. I did not pursue any further at that point.

  309. @ Okrapod:
    Present geology provides an adequate description of the surface characteristics of our Earth if it is as old as claimed by our science. Only when a 6000-10000 age can be convincingly established as science will there be any need to introduce different geological theories. If dlc is as familiar with Brown’s work as he indicates this will be easy for him.

  310. @ Bill M:
    That is exactly what it is. Having failed at his first attempt to take over, John Calvin had his yes-men put in place before he agreed to return to Geneva. The official council records (which were somewhat recently translated into English) reveal his ‘unofficial’ presiding over all – and I mean all – matters in Geneva. There was not so much as a firefly that could blink in Geneva without the approval of John Calvin. This is the same sort of ‘authority’ that allowed the Inquisition and all other torture/killing of ‘heretics’ throughout the so-called church’s history. I say ‘so-called’ because I believe this ‘official’, visible church has always been ruled by the same sort of power-hungry misogynists that oppress local churches today. (That is not to say there are not true members of Christ’s body within the church, but that the institutional church is NOT the true body of Christ. Having lost the power of the sword, today’s church leaders are left only with the tool of ‘church discipline’ or excommunication. Frighteningly, there is a somewhat ‘quiet’ movement among the neo-cal group for the restoration of theocracy – recreating the combined power of church and state that is necessary in order to put ‘dissenters’ to death. While of course they insist that the powers of church and state will officially be ‘separate’, there is little point of a theocracy unless it is to grant the essential (even if denied) power of the sword to the ‘church’. Imagine if those lording it over their members with threats of ‘church discipline’ had the power once again to declare a dissenting member a heretic.

  311. dlc wrote:

    Take a few weeks or longer, and digest and understand his theory

    I know you probably do not mean to come off sounding like you do, but you appear to be saying that if only we contemplated deeply and for weeks, or maybe longer, then we would see the definitive proof for a young earth like you have.

    Might I suggest that you present your *proof* and not tell people like OldJohnJ who has a PhD from Duke and is a committed Christian how long he must take to assess the value of your evidence?

    Brown has set up his own little place from which he lectures on his own theories. Just because he has a PhD does not mean that he is an expert in this field, especially if his science stems from an absolute a prior belief that the earth must be young. He is a guy living in his own bubble.

    He claims that no one wants to debate him. This is his way of pretending that people are afraid of him and his theories. They are not. He is a fringe person and no one wants to wast their time debating him or giving him any further attention that he so craves.

    There are zealots like him in the world. You might be interested in reading a post that I did about a well respected scientist who went down the whacky trail and became an HIV denier. It is absolutely fascinating. I won’t tell you how long to spend contemplating this.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2014/06/27/doug-wilson-and-the-american-family-association-hivaids-conspiracy-theorists/

    @ oldJohnJ:

    Old John J -do you know about this? I found it fascinating.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2014/06/27/doug-wilson-and-the-american-family-association-hivaids-conspiracy-theorists/

  312. dee wrote:

    Old John J -do you know about this? I found it fascinating.

    Thanks for the link and I suppose your comments to dlc are appropriate. I still hope he addresses the age issue I mentioned in my comment to him.

  313. Still entangled, as my elder husband is thoroughly brainwashed. Not sure if there is any hope of ever helping him see the truth, or if my marriage will be destroyed like so many other peoples’ family that have gone through this church. We have seen it happen again and again, until I finally ‘woke up’ to how unhealthy this church is. So tragic.

  314. @ dee:
    I apologize, did not mean to come across in a negative way. The reason I stated it the way I did is that his theory is a lot to digest. He covers alot of ground, brings up many points that any theory of earth history must account for, that in itself makes it worth the read. Why is he disqualified because he thinks for himself and has come up with original ideas? Science would never advance if group think is the only acceptable way. Interestingly, he was an evolutionist until evolution/uniformitarianism couldn’t provide answers to his questions.
    The question I still have is this. Is it possible for rational, informed, intelligent people to come to different conclusions about origins? Is it only a one way street? I get the impression that I am an idiot because I don’t know my place and I don’t accept the opposing side’s group think.
    Thank you for this site. It is a great service. It has me helped look at church in a new light, just as the origins debate has helped me relate to people in the church I disagree with. I will let the links I posted speak for the age questions. Your are welcome to email me if you wish. Thanks for the discussion.

  315. dlc wrote:

    I will let the links I posted speak for the age questions.

    To continue the discussion please provide a comment that gives a brief summary of Brown’s views on age of the Earth. Specifics, not generalities, will move the discussion forward. A link to a page summarizing Brown’s views would be a big help.

  316. refugee wrote:

    When I think of it, our teens were pretty much burned at the stake in our church. For them, it was a slow, painful roasting that lasted a lifetime. Well, almost a lifetime. We have been out of that church for a year now, but it is the culture they know, that they grew up in. They must build entirely new lives.

    My spouse was bemoaning what we see on their social media, its irreverence, even obscenity at times. He points to the company they’re keeping now… some of them “blatant atheists.”

    But if we were to somehow immerse them in “wholesome” company… well, they’d simply label it as “BTDT” — the “wholesome” church culture seared them and left gaping wounds. Why would they want to hang around with reverent, “clean” (the opposite of open obscenity) people?

    Beneath the “acting out” there is all sorts of thought going on. You don’t have to post squeaky clean facebook posts, or scripture verses (they have little use for scripture, anyhow) to be thinking deeply.

    But it is a strain, knowing our acquaintances in the christian homeschooling community is watching our family’s meltdown, seeing our children’s “rebellion” and saying with shock, “They used to be a leading family! How did they go wrong? I know! They didn’t shelter their children enough!”

    The cracks are already showing. Some people don’t want our kids around their kids. “Bad influence.”

    I would have thought the same thing, a few years ago.

    This breaks my heart. Perhaps not to this extreme, but I see the same thing happening in nearly every ‘sheltered’ kid that grew up with ours. Here is my take, and I know few will consider it – I sadly think this is the agenda. I sadly believe that many of these ‘leaders’ of the christian homeschool movement were wolves, and their very purpose was to push families into destructive extremes. I cannot help but feel the same about my church, as I have seen one family after another destroyed. That is the question I ask my husband, which, as an elder, he defensively denies. The truth is, I cannot think of an individual or family who is better off for having become a part of our church. That is a terrible, terrible thing to have to realize. And as the apostles even wrote of ‘infiltrators’ in the church seeking to harm and destroy the flock, I do not think this is anything new. The reality is, the ‘visible’ church is not the same thing as the body of Christ. In fact, it may very well be its worst enemy.

  317. @ refugee:

    “When I think of it, our teens were pretty much burned at the stake in our church. For them, it was a slow, painful roasting that lasted a lifetime.

    …They must build entirely new lives.

    Beneath the “acting out” there is all sorts of thought going on. You don’t have to post squeaky clean facebook posts, or scripture verses (they have little use for scripture, anyhow) to be thinking deeply.

    But it is a strain, knowing our acquaintances in the christian homeschooling community is watching our family’s meltdown, seeing our children’s “rebellion” and saying with shock, “They used to be a leading family! How did they go wrong? I know! They didn’t shelter their children enough!”

    The cracks are already showing. Some people don’t want our kids around their kids. “Bad influence.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i’m so sorry refugee. I hope I haven’t been too matter of fact in our exchanges. Re: your kids, I suspect this is a necessary process people have to go through who have been down the road you describe. God is absolutely available & findable everywhere. the less branding/packaging the better (ie, Christian culture). What’s more, “behold I stand at the door & knock, if anyone hears my voice, I will come in and dine with them and they with me.” And I tend to think the process they’re in can’t be rushed, hurried.

    I’m sure you and your husband are in process, too. I’m in process. We do our best, and avoid introspection and the resist the temptation to overanalyze.

    In my experience, happiness and good times are utterly healing. Go see movies in theaters, as a way to hit the reset button, and jolt oneself out of dwelling on a mental/emotional burden. Play card games / board games. Make fabulous meals of everyone’s favorite foods with tablecloth, candles, great honest music playing (not Christian), a good bottle of wine, chocolate cream pie….

    Here’s what else is healing: an endurance adventure together (something in the category of team building). Last week at a San Francisco beach a group of people trotted past me in military fashion, the leader carrying an American flag. men and women, no uniforms. they proceeded to do all sorts of boot camp type things on the sand, finishing off with sitting in the surf, locking arms, and doing a backwards somersault (or something) all together.

    I asked, “who are you? what are you?” I was told the organization is called “Go Ruck” — retired special ops people lead these groups that last 8-10 hours of challenge, endurance, working together, depending on each other. they were all were having a fabulous time — it was dang hard, but they were going for it, feeling great, and feeling great about themselves. it appeared to be quite a bonding thing. Most started out as total strangers to each other. after a time, they trotted off to their next stopping point/challenge.

    I thought to myself, “what fun!” What a great way to shake it all off. Shake off all the stress, the relational tension, the disillusionment….. and get back to all that matter is i’m alive, you’re alive, we made it! if a couple were to do it together (like me & mine!), or a family….

    I still have yet to really learn what this “Go ruck” thing is all about. but I thought, how very cool.

    this would be instead of being on ‘naked and afraid’. and something you can experience with loved ones.

  318. refugee wrote:

    The cracks are already showing. Some people don’t want our kids around their kids. “Bad influence.”

    (I love elastigirl’s advice btw) I suspect there’s an awful lot of ‘papering over the cracks’ going on in some of these other families though. You will probably never know. That’s why I don’t participate in facebook – apart from a friend with mental illness who ‘put it all out there’, I was seeing illusion – portraying yourself how you wanted to be seen, and spin. As I’m learning, everything is just marketing and communications…

  319. Haitch wrote:

    As I’m learning, everything is just marketing and communications…

    Ya’ got that right Haitch. It’s all designed to fuel the consumer mindset and throw away culture of the 21st century first world. And if the downstrata of the third world are ground into the dirt they eke a paltry living from who cares? In a black comedy sort of way, we’re like Odysseus when Polyphemus promised to eat him last.

  320. @ dlc:

    I think it’s important to remember that science is nothing more than a measuring grid stretched over reality by humans in order to make sense of that reality. oldJohnJ is very right in saying that the the current grid does not support a young Earth nor a young Universe for that matter. The experiments which argue for vast oceans of time are repeatable and confirmed by researchers the world over.
    Take heart though, one of the beauties of science is that it’s always open to revision.
    If it’s any consolation to you, I too have my doubts about the currently accepted paradigm. My doubts are based on what little we know about ‘bigness’ and ‘smallness’, ‘longness’ and ‘shortness’. Galileo had the good sense to leave the contradictions alone, but they drove Georg Cantor mad and he spent his last years in an asylum.

  321. Muff Potter wrote:

    Take heart though, one of the beauties of science is that it’s always open to revision.

    Very true, but in physics and its closely related fields the need for revision derives from experimental and observational facts that can’t be reconciled with the current theory. This is what happened towards the end of the 19th century and eventually lead to quantum mechanics and general relativity. The discrepancies between current theories and observations aren’t there so far.

    I took a quick look at Brown’s opus linked by dlc for Brown’s age of the universe. While a lot of ink was used to show why the universe looks as old as it does, I didn’t find a statement giving Brown’s estimate of its age using his book index. That is the primary reason I requested dlc give me a reference since he appears to be very familiar with Brown’s writings.

    The road to fame and fortune as a scientist requires upsetting an applecart or two along the way. However, the upsetting must be done and published as science. If a novel claim can be supported by appropriate facts and derivations it will be accepted eventually. Science is very conservative requiring more evidence for major revisions than minor ones. YEC is about as radical a revision as could be imagined for current theories.

  322. Jeff Chalmers wrote:

    Further, changing the radioactive decay rates on the order of magnitude of 10^6 effects fundamental equations of the atom…. I.e. The world as we know it would not exist

    I rather think that poetic statements in the biblescriptures referring to God’s establishing the earth so it cannot be moved (e.g. in Psalm 104 and, significantly, in Jeremiah 33 which refers to the fixed patterns of heaven and earth) address exactly this problem.

    I’m sure you’re aware of just how finely balanced the various constants governing the physical universe have to be in order for it to be stable and inhabitable. If, for instance, you so much as breathe on the relative strengths of the four basic forces, stars either collapse, go out or go boom. Hiking one of them by six orders of magnitude is, frankly, slapstick humour.

    In fact, one of the things I stand in awe of is by just how much Wisdom God founded the earth – which, incidentally, I take to mean the physical universe, as distinct from the spiritual one, rather than planet earth as such. Making a universe last billions of years is actually an astounding feat of imagination, design and engineering…

  323. I completely agree with this. Further, the “grand conspiracy” against the YEC is really just how science operates… Any concept/speculation/hypothesis that goes against current scientific understanding will be challeneged, and it is up to the person putting up the new concept to defend it with data, lots of data, and show how the data support the new idea. As oldJohnJ said, “quantum mechanics” was one of the best examples of a really radical idea taking awhile to get accepted…. And, it was able to absorb classical Newtonian physics, as long as proper length scales are considered (i.e. a refinement of Newtonian physics). However, at its core, “quantum mechanics” has precieved to be “conflicts/contradictions” to pragmatic human thinking.. does that means it is wrong? No, just we humans have limited understandings….
    I have been a PRofessor for 27 years, and I have put forward, several times, concepts that went against common thinking in my small little sub-areas… does that mean there is a “grand conspiracy” against me? NO!!! I had to, and to some extent to this day, still defend my concepts with data… that is how science is done.
    As Dee said in a previous post quoting her husband, if a scientist(s) could come up with sound, defendable data, showing the earth is young, they would do it. We scientist live for presenting and defending ideas/concepts/theories that go “against” the common thinking… That is how a scientist makes a name for themselves, and maybe wins a Nobel Prize. The same “selfish/fallen/sinful” human nature that YEC claim that scientist have is correct… ultimately, scientists want to be famous (i.e. are humans)… So, going against the idea that the earth is billions of years old, and being able to have sound, defenable DATA to demonstrate it would be so radical they would be hugely famous, on the level of Einstein. If some of the “problems” of radioactive dating were really “problems”, scientist would be really pursuing them. Beign able to “overthrough” radioative dating would have hugh impacts beyond age of earth questions (dating of rocks is a small part of atomic phsyics!).
    Finally, manny scientist did not like the theory of the “Big Bang” because of the philosophical implications (i.e. a point of creation/creator) Did that stop the theory from being tested?? NO. In fact, it probably drove some to further try to disprove it with experiments, which more and more, have shown that the Big Bang is consistent with the mathematical models and experimental data. Ken HAm likes to say that there is two types of science, experimental and historical; I completely disagree… hard core physics, which is experimentally and mathematically based, predicted the Big BAng, and specific experiments were designed and conducted to look for evidence of the Big Bang… And the evidence was found just as predicted…. This is the SAME physics that is used to understand and predict current and future phenomena… i.e. no difference between current and historical physics..

    oldJohnJ wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:
    Take heart though, one of the beauties of science is that it’s always open to revision.
    Very true, but in physics and its closely related fields the need for revision derives from experimental and observational facts that can’t be reconciled with the current theory. This is what happened towards the end of the 19th century and eventually lead to quantum mechanics and general relativity. The discrepancies between current theories and observations aren’t there so far.
    I took a quick look at Brown’s opus linked by dlc for Brown’s age of the universe. While a lot of ink was used to show why the universe looks as old as it does, I didn’t find a statement giving Brown’s estimate of its age using his book index. That is the primary reason I requested dlc give me a reference since he appears to be very familiar with Brown’s writings.
    The road to fame and fortune as a scientist requires upsetting an applecart or two along the way. However, the upsetting must be done and published as science. If a novel claim can be supported by appropriate facts and derivations it will be accepted eventually. Science is very conservative requiring more evidence for major revisions than minor ones. YEC is about as radical a revision as could be imagined for current theories.

    oldJohnJ wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:
    Take heart though, one of the beauties of science is that it’s always open to revision.
    Very true, but in physics and its closely related fields the need for revision derives from experimental and observational facts that can’t be reconciled with the current theory. This is what happened towards the end of the 19th century and eventually lead to quantum mechanics and general relativity. The discrepancies between current theories and observations aren’t there so far.
    I took a quick look at Brown’s opus linked by dlc for Brown’s age of the universe. While a lot of ink was used to show why the universe looks as old as it does, I didn’t find a statement giving Brown’s estimate of its age using his book index. That is the primary reason I requested dlc give me a reference since he appears to be very familiar with Brown’s writings.
    The road to fame and fortune as a scientist requires upsetting an applecart or two along the way. However, the upsetting must be done and published as science. If a novel claim can be supported by appropriate facts and derivations it will be accepted eventually. Science is very conservative requiring more evidence for major revisions than minor ones. YEC is about as radical a revision as could be imagined for current theories.

  324. P.S.
    What I just wrote above puts me in a “compromiser” category with many YEC. I have told this outright many times over my 35 years of pursuing science (translated… I am a bad christain for trying to be honest about how I conducte and think about science) Ken Ham did not start this type of labeling, it is common/consistent with most hard core YEC..(Many examples come to mind). Being an honest scientist puts you in the “dog house” when ever your science calls into question any beliefs that your particular flavor of Christianity holds. I know of many churhes that have YEC as one of their points in their faith statements.. my Christian High Schools still does.
    What links all of this to this BLOG post is that thankfully my fundamentalist baptist past did not have a signed covenant contract. II shutter think of being under church discpline for supporting a old earth position….

  325. P.S.
    What I just wrote above puts me in a “compromiser” category with many YEC. I have told this outright many times over my 35 years of pursuing science (translated… I am a bad christain for trying to be honest about how I conducte and think about science) Ken Ham did not start this type of labeling, it is common/consistent with most hard core YEC..(Many examples come to mind). Being an honest scientist puts you in the “dog house” when ever your science calls into question any beliefs that your particular flavor of Christianity holds. I know of many churhes that have YEC as one of their points in their faith statements.. my Christian High Schools still does.
    What links all of this to this BLOG post is that thankfully my fundamentalist baptist past did not have a signed covenant contract. II shutter think of being under church discpline for supporting a old earth position…

    es

  326. Jeff Chalmers wrote:

    Being an honest scientist puts you in the “dog house” when ever your science calls into question any beliefs that your particular flavor of Christianity holds.

    Yeah, well, I am thinking that one has not really grown up until one is classified as something ‘bad’ by some fundamentalist group or other. Or liberal group. Or orthodox/traditional group. Or can’t even really call them ‘christian’ group.

    So, anyhow, I don’t think you were here when I sent out the first invitation/notice so let me repeat. I am getting up a barbecue on the south lawn of somewhere in the sweet bye and bye. Literally. You and OldJohnJ don’t want to miss it. Not everybody is invited to this particular party, only the ones who had to choose at some point between the pursuit of truth and some repressive church structure. The rest will have to get up their own gathering. Of course, I am thinking that will be a huge crowd over on the south lawn.

    The only problem is that NC BBQ is pork. So between the ancient law on the one hand, and the fact that BBQ requires that something be sacrificed at some point, maybe we will have to come up with another plan. Whatever, y’all come-literally.

  327. @ Okrapod:

    “..to choose at some point between the pursuit of truth and some repressive church structure.”
    ++++++++++++++

    I resemble that statement. Ribs and India Pale Ale?

  328. elastigirl wrote:

    what’s our playlist?

    I’m hoping there’ll be at least one Benny Goodman number.
    (~ One O’Clock Jump ~ is my fave)

  329. Lydia wrote:

    Bill M wrote:
    Adding this with what Eeyore and Patrice have commented can it be proposed the flaw is not theology but that no one should have that much power? Should anyone who seeks power be suspect, regardless when they lived?
    My quibble with this is that Calvin’s ST is all about power (determinism) so the whole pecking order power dynamics caste system is ingrained from God to His priests on earth sort of thing. That does not mean every Calvinist today practices it. It has ebbed and flowed throughout its history in that respect.
    But determinism is based upon power not love. Calvin was more concerned with sovereignty than love. So not sure you can the theology from power. They seem to be one and the same to me since it is voluntarily more popular today without magistrates.

    This is so true. It’s an overemphasis on one aspect of God’s nature–his power. And in situations in which love and power might come into conflict, power is chosen. You’re right, too, that many of the older time Calvinists do not emphasize this aspect of Calvinism and exude more of the love of God. But Neo-Calvinists seem to be very attracted to the power dynamic.

  330. Abi Miah wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    Bill M wrote:
    Adding this with what Eeyore and Patrice have commented can it be proposed the flaw is not theology but that no one should have that much power? Should anyone who seeks power be suspect, regardless when they lived?
    My quibble with this is that Calvin’s ST is all about power (determinism) so the whole pecking order power dynamics caste system is ingrained from God to His priests on earth sort of thing. That does not mean every Calvinist today practices it. It has ebbed and flowed throughout its history in that respect.
    But determinism is based upon power not love. Calvin was more concerned with sovereignty than love. So not sure you can the theology from power. They seem to be one and the same to me since it is voluntarily more popular today without magistrates.
    This is so true. It’s an overemphasis on one aspect of God’s nature–his power. And in situations in which love and power might come into conflict, power is chosen. You’re right, too, that many of the older time Calvinists do not emphasize this aspect of Calvinism and exude more of the love of God. But Neo-Calvinists seem to be very attracted to the power dynamic.

    I meant in situations in theology in which his power and love might come into conflict, the Calvinist theologian chooses power. (Phil 2 shows that God chooses to give up power for the sake of love.)

  331. Abi Miah wrote:

    This is so true. It’s an overemphasis on one aspect of God’s nature–his power. And in situations in which love and power might come into conflict, power is chosen.

    And in order to be Godly, you must seize Absolute POWER.
    “Who is like God?”

    “The only goal of Power is POWER. And POWER consists of inflicting maximum suffering among the Powerless.”
    — Comrade O’Brian, Inner Party, Airstrip One, Oceania, Nineteen Eighty-Four

  332. Jeff Chalmers wrote:

    Finally, many scientist did not like the theory of the “Big Bang” because of the philosophical implications (i.e. a point of creation/creator) Did that stop the theory from being tested?? NO. In fact, it probably drove some to further try to disprove it with experiments, which more and more, have shown that the Big Bang is consistent with the mathematical models and experimental data.

    Don’t forget Sir Fred Hoyle, who proposed the Steady State Theory (based on Aristotle) in opposition to The Big Bang and dared everyone to “Prove Fred Wrong”. He had a longstanding reputation for that sort of thing, proposing an outrageous hypothesis and daring everyone to prove him wrong.

  333. Haitch wrote:

    I suspect there’s an awful lot of ‘papering over the cracks’ going on…

    Just like in the Soviet System leading up to 1989-1991.

  334. truthseeker wrote:

    Still entangled, as my elder husband is thoroughly brainwashed. Not sure if there is any hope of ever helping him see the truth, or if my marriage will be destroyed like so many other peoples’ family that have gone through this church.

    You took the Red Pill, and he gobbled the entire bottle of Blues.

  335. dee wrote:

    I know you probably do not mean to come off sounding like you do, but you appear to be saying that if only we contemplated deeply and for weeks, or maybe longer, then we would see the definitive proof for a young earth like you have.

    “You all must MEDITATE…”
    — Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

  336. Bill M wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    He is trying to make the case that without membership covenants the SBC is dwindling

    This would be where HUG should drop in and give an analogy to the Berlin wall. Their system was so great they needed armed guards to keep people in. These covenants, like the Berlin Wall, are monuments to their failure.

    Don’t need to. You were doing a pretty good job of it when I was on vacation (from the time of this comment of yours until today).

    And I had dinner with Eagle in DC last Tuesday.

  337. refugee wrote:

    I bought the first few Elsie Dinsmore books (used, I’m pretty sure. our budget did not stretch to buying stuff “new” from the VF catalog). I started to read the first one aloud to our eldest. I read two… maybe three chapters? It was boring. It was tedious. It was, frankly, dumb. This kid, who *loved* readaloud time, did not beg for more. We sort of mutually agreed to leave that series behind.
    I remember asking someone who’d enthused about the books, saying we were finding the first book heavy going, and she said, Oh, they get better as you go along. (In hindsight, I wonder if perhaps you become more numb, the more of Elsie you read.)

    I saw my first Elsie Dinsmore book last Saturday. On the shelves of a used bookstore in Dillsburg, PA (on Route 15, just north of the Rodeway Inn). It was in their children’s section, amid several shelves full of children’s lit hardbacks from Hardy Boys to the true classics.

    When I mentioned it (among other finds) to the bookstore owner, he said all the children’s classic hardbacks (including Elsie) were because “we have a lot of homeschoolers in this town.”

  338. Muff Potter wrote:

    refugee wrote:

    Isn’t Rick Warren looked down upon by the YRR? I thought I’d heard some of his teachings called “heretical” or unbiblical by that crowd.

    When there’s a perceived and common threat (in this case homosexuality and / or lesbianism) they’ll join arms like Arab Sheiks and Mukhtars against the hated Jews. When the threat is abated, they’ll go back to slitting one another’s throats with their jeweled daggers.

    “Me against my brother;
    Me and my brother, united against our cousin;
    Me, my brother, and my cousin, united against The Other.”
    — Arab proverb from my Assyrian Sister-in-Law

  339. numo wrote:

    @ Bill M:
    He was intensely anti-semitic. The “rant” you’re thinking of is titled “On the Jews and their lies.” It, and all of his other anti-semitic writings, have been repudiated by the Lutheran synod i belong to, fwiw.

    Was that AFTER the National Socialists carried out Luther’s rant and then some?

  340. Ted wrote:

    Refugee, we’ve had some discussions about Christian publishing over at internetmonk, also at orthocuban. Do a google search on “why evangelicals can’t write” for a couple of articles, both of which mention Flannery O’Connor (favorably, of course; she was a gift). I don’t know if they’re connected or not.

    Flannery O’Connor was also CATHOLIC, not Evangelical.

    Yet another example of why the good writers come from Western Rite Liturgical Churches.