The Allegedly Abusive Church Discipline Practices of Steve Estes: Senior Pastor of CEFC and Lecturer at Westminster Theological Seminary

“So often survivors have had their experiences denied, trivialized, or distorted. Writing is an important avenue for healing because it gives you the opportunity to define your own reality. You can say: This did happen to me. It was that bad. It was the fault & responsibility of the adult. I was—and am—innocent.” The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis” link

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Tutorial point #1:

Always distrust any church that speaks of church discipline and refuses to qualify what and how various *sins* will be punished.

Church Discipline Is Ill-Defined: (This is my favorite post in defining the issue.)

If *Simil Justus et Peccator;* Then What Should the Church Discipline?

The situation: link

Hurit was married for a few years to Brock Estes, son of the Senior Pastor of CEFC. Brock is allegedly an excessive drinker (some would say alcoholic), addicted to internet pornography(which is NOT a victimless crime) and abusive verbally and physically. He allegedly drew a gun on his wife and, on another occasion, put her in a choke hold so strong that she almost passed out. Brock alleges that he has a *sleep disorder.* However, except for getting a prescription of Xanax,  he reportedly did not seek help for this alleged problem. (Note: any normal, non-abusive man who almost shoots his wife would get intensive medical help immediately. Instead, he got an anti-anxiety drug.) Since Brock is a prison guard, I would think the prison authorities were surely made aware of this problem…

Steve Estes and His Boys (aka *Elders*) excommunicated the wife for not following their *authority* but Steve's little boy is walking in repentance.

Steve allegedly said that his son was "the most repentant man he had ever seen in 30 years of pastoring." (See previous post.) "Voila!" Brock was walking in repentance! This is after years of boozing, cruising (porn sites) and abusing his wife. Just like that Brock has been healed!

Brock's wife, however, was disobeying the authority of the elders and Papa Steve when she filed for divorce. They said she must remain married to the abuser because, although he allegedly almost shot her, he is now a good boy. Daddy said so. Hallelujah and pass the pretzels-the meeting is adjourned.

Did you ever consider that church discipline could be used to protect a man who points a gun at his wife?

Has your church ever explained what they will discipline? Do you know that The Village Church attempted to discipline a woman who left her pedophile and kiddie porn watching husband? That's Matt Chandler's church and Chandler eventually had to apologize when the story went international. So even the celebrity leaders screw this stuff up badly.

Surely, you might say, this is just a mistake. Maybe Steve Estes and his merry men were just stupid or stressed out?

If this is what you think, then you would be wrong. Not only is Steve an old guy like your adorable blog queens, but he teaches young and impressionable seminary students at Westminster Theological Seminary. Guess what he teaches? It ain't "How to make money from church potlucks." He teaches Practical Theology. 

Imagine the exam essays. "Give the 10 steps it takes to cover for your abusing son." Or "How to excommunicated your innocent daughter in law in three easy steps." Today, I left a couple of messages at Westminster and plan to follow-up on them tomorrow. I want to know whether Westminster believes that women should stay married to men who threaten them with guns and choke holds. Maybe it is found somewhere in the Westminster statement of beliefs?

Caveat Emptor from the Deebs: Do not sign any membership covenant until you know exactly what the guys in charge will discipline. Remember, your pastors and elders are sinful.

The Deebs, along with many others, are opposed to membership covenants because they are primarily used to protect the church from lawsuits when churches do stupid and abusive things as seen in this story. Never forget that your pastors and elders are just as sinful as the guy sitting next to you and are capable of doing some really bad things. Going to seminary does not seem to prevent pastors from being jerks. Remember, Steve Estes teaches how to apply theology and look how he applied *theology* at his church.

Also, keep in mind that some pastors might deny that these contracts are legal documents. Do not be deceived. Just wait until some incident happens. Suddenly, the pastors and the boys will realize what a gem they have had the people sign.

You can get out of these contracts. The United States government recognizes your right to resign from a voluntary organization. Recently, one woman was concerned about the direction of her church. She resigned her membership prior to any problems. She now attends the church as a nonmember while trying to figure out a way to get her husband to leave. This is a church which you would recognize.

Where did this emphasis on discipline begin?

Below, find a reprint of a post written by Todd Wilhelm who looks at 9Marks influence on church discipline as found in today's authority driven churches. I also highly recommend the link in his post to a great article from 2013 When Church Discipline Is Sin.


Todd Wilhelm: 9Marx Experiencing Pushback

It appears that the cries of the rock-throwing peasants are being heard by the royalty inside the safe haven of Capitol Hill Baptist Church.  You will recall that Mark Dever, Senior Pastor of CHBC, and his lieutenant, Jonathan Leeman, run a para-church organization called 9Marks.  Billed as an organization that “exists to equip church leaders with a biblical vision and practical resources for displaying God’s glory to the nations through healthy churches,” they trumpet 9 items that a healthy church must be doing to display “God’s glory.”  I could list all nine for you, but will refrain from doing so. It is my observation that you really only need to be familiar with two of the nine marks,  the other seven are mainly window dressing. I am sure the dynamic duo, pictured below, would strongly disagree with me, but they can make their case at their breakout session of the T4G conference.

What are the 2Marks? Membership and discipline, discipline and more discipline.  Did I mention discipline?  Membership is important only because you can’t very easily discipline a non-member.  (Although I wouldn’t put it past Leeman to turn some new ground by writing a book on that subject.)

Tired of the seemingly endless parade of mangled people resulting from the application of Dever and Leeman’s ceaseless teaching on discipline (may I refer to the tandem as “Deeman” to save keystrokes?), we rock-throwing peasants have tagged their organization with the moniker of “9Marx.” Much to the chagrin of Deeman, the moniker has caught on and there seems to be a groundswell among the proletariat of opposition to the heavy-handed application of discipline by Deeman’s disciples.

Realizing their fiefdom is in danger of being toppled, or, more likely, facing a dwindling revenue stream, Deeman has cleverly decided to diffuse the uprising by good-naturedly poking fun at themselves.  They will be conducting a breakout session utilizing the 9Marx moniker. 

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Mark Dever & Jonathan Leeman: Breakout Session II at T4G 2016 from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Dever admits that he and Leeman may be numbered among the “stupid pastors” who unwisely implement discipline, drawing lines in the wrong places, etc. (This may be as close to an admission of guilt for Dever allowing CJ Mahaney to flee to CHBC to escape discipline at Covenant Life Church, Mahaney’s home church that we will ever see.) Dever’s allowing Mahaney to flee to his church was to totally undermine everything he teaches on discipline, but, as the Wartburg Watch stated: “Mark Dever continues to support CJ Mahaney who is the best example of failed church discipline that exists. That is the problem. You see, church discipline is only for the little people.”

Two things bother me in this video.  First is Dever’s attempt to blame most discipline problems on young, overly zealous, unwise 25-year-old pastors.  While I have no doubt that there are many young pastors who are wreaking havoc in their churches by implementing Deeman’s model of church discipline, there have been numerous cases of older, experienced pastors also misapplying church discipline.   Chief among these is Matt Chandler. His church was about to discipline a woman who returned from the mission field and sought an annulment of her marriage because she discovered her husband was a pedophile. Facing a certain lawsuit, Chandler wised up and apologized to the woman.   More recently we have seen the horrible handling by pastor Ken Ramey of a child rape case.   Need I mention CJ Mahaney or Mark Driscoll?  I also have a good friend who was excommunicated from my former church, UCCD, in what can only be classified as a total miscarriage of justice.  Fortunately for UCCD, my friend is much more gracious than the pastor and asked me not to go public with his story. The pastor of UCCD? John Folmar, a man who was mentored by Mark Dever and served as an assistant pastor at CHBC for several years.

The second thing that bothered me was Leeman’s flippant comment at the end “that we are all in a learning process of how to do theses things well.”  Really?  How many more lives must you and your disciples ruin in your learning process, Mr. Leeman?  I pray that  on behalf of those on the receiving end of your disciplinary process that you quickly come to the realization that your process doesn’t work.

Comments

The Allegedly Abusive Church Discipline Practices of Steve Estes: Senior Pastor of CEFC and Lecturer at Westminster Theological Seminary — 195 Comments

  1. In reading the links about church discipline, does not 1 Corinthians 5 give a list regarding sin that requires church discipline or social restrictions within the church? However, is there any church or church network that takes this list seriously?

  2. I don’t think they will see that their process doesn’t work because they’ll be on the wrong side of the law … when they are, there is always an exit waiting for them.

  3. @ JYJames:
    I doubt it, 2 corinthians 2 says to forgive and restore, discipline usually stops short of that. Kicking out people is easy, admitting you were wrong or did it wrong isn’t.

  4. “Dever admits that he and Leeman may be numbered among the “stupid pastors” who unwisely implement discipline, drawing lines in the wrong places, etc.”

    Wonder if there is a process now for restitution from their lack of authoritarian wisdom. They set themselves up as the experts.

    My guess is this breakout session has a cya factor involved. Much like how companies used to hire us to conduct sexual harassment training back before insurance required it. It came in handy legally.

  5. In my escape from a large mega church that seemed off (senior pastor had an affair and the church imploded), I went to a much smaller church where we were promised that they were back to “Biblical Basics” and the 9Marks of a Health Church.

    The pastors/elders there are in there late 40s and 50s. No they aren’t a bunch of 25 year olds.

    When I signed the Membership Covenant, the pastors/elders said it was a Biblical basic (hindsight: How many pages did Jesus make people sign to follow Him? Zero page) I was thinking that if it was in case I had an affair, like the guy in the Corinthian church in the Bible, and the church would set me straight. I didn’t know that the Membership Covenant would be used as a crowbar by the pastors/elders to insinuate themselves into all aspects of members’ lives, order us in to meetings, and tell us what to do about things that are NONE of their business!!!

    We were told that elder-rule was “Biblical”. Nonsense. It’s just more authoritarian control. If we had a congregational vote we could have rid ourselves of this insufferable, arrogant, abusive senior pastor.

    (“Biblical” just means don’t think for yourselves and do exactly what we say.)

    *The first woman to be publicly disciplined before our church, hundreds of members, was a middle-aged, professional married woman. Her crime? According to the senior pastor they “had worked with her for a long time” (meaning screamed at her and bullied her according to her) and she “wasn’t submissive to her husband”. In point of fact she thought this church was nuts and she refused to return and went to another church, in another denomination, with oversight and checks and balances (which our church plant had none of).

    We were told to “pursue” her to “repentance” which basically means stalk and harass her on the senior’s pastors/elders’ orders. She disconnected her cell phone and email and moved out of the family home for that stunt.

    The pastors/elders lied about her before all. They were manipulative liars who lied about a good and decent woman.

    *Next up Pastor John MacArthur’s long-time good friend was ordered to be excommunicated and shunned. The man is a doctor in his 70s! (Happily married
    50+ years, grown children & loving relationships.) The doctor gave of his time and money to the church. He bought books and DVDs and CDs for the church lending library and started it. He invited and paid for the senior pastor to join him and John MacArthur on a trip to North Carolina to meet the Rev. Billy Graham at his log cabin home a few years ago.

    The senior pastor told hundreds of members that they had “worked with the doctor for more than 5 years” to no avail, but he wasn’t one of us. The doctor had disagreed with the pastors/elders in private about the running of the church.

    The senior pastor told us to “pray for [the doctor’s] wife”. When I interviewed her later, the doctor’s wife told me that she’d always hated the senior pastor, the elders, and the church, thought something was terribly wrong, and that she’d warned her husband that they shouldn’t go to that church!

    Funny, my (ex) senior pastor NEVER told us the doctor’s wife SAID THAT!

    *Next it was my turn to be excommunicated and shunned. I’d opposed the pastors/elders bringing their friend a Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer to church, giving him a position of leadership and trust (experts in sex crimes around the world have criticized my ex-church leaders for that), let him attend all church events (including Bible studies in which parents brought their children and didn’t know there was a sex offender there), and invited him to volunteer at a 5-day basketball camp for children in the summer (never telling all parents that who entrusted their kids to us, including non-believers in the community, and the Seventh Day Adventists in Los Altos, CA who rented their school’s gym to us, are self-insured, and can be sued for any acts of negligence that occur on their property or enjoined. The SDA’s are self-insured.)

    I lost all of my friends of 8 1/2 years. My reputation was destroyed. The Sheriff’s sex offenders’ task force demanded to know what kind of church that I went to that threatened me, yes the pastors/elders told me to have no contact with law enforcement about the sex offender (obstruction of justice and a felony that the pastors/elders can land in state prison for).

    Mark Dever at 9 Marks has just spun a new version of the 1970s Heavy Shepherding Movement. It’s the Salem Witch Trials II all over again. Adults as incompetent idiots incapable of running their own lives.

    Mark Dever lacks love. All of his problem solving skills involve rules and blaming others instead of resolving things in love and gentleness, in a respect for others.

    Mark Dever has done so much harm to so many peoples’ lives, reputations, to churches, and to our witness. And he’s just dead wrong.

    (P.S. At my ex-church the pastors/elders’ controlled members’ friendships, personal information/private – demands for it, décor, chastised people for what they fed their kids, brought to the church potluck. It just never stopped. Nutcases. And vicious.)

    Stay away from that mess.

  6. Lydia wrote:

    @ JYJames:
    They have their own definition of good fruit. It is correct doctrine.

    That and filled pews: there’s the fruit, correct theology and the size of the sanctuary. If Pastor Joe Celeb were ever to be caught red-handed making child porn, snorting cocaine and making off with half a million in embezzled funds, no shortage of fans would line up to say to detractors: “So, how many people have you led to the Lord, he had thousands come forward at the altar calls last year, are you perfect and without sin?”

  7. “It appears that the cries of the rock-throwing peasants are being heard by the royalty inside the safe haven of Capitol Hill Baptist Church.” – Dee

    That is just too funny! I am sending my rock from California to Washington, D.C. via wrist rocket with a note to Mark Dever.

  8. “(Note: any normal, non-abusive man who almost shoots his wife would get intensive medical help immediately. Instead, he got an anti-anxiety drug.)”

    Excellent point. If Brock loved Hurit even close to Christ loving His Church, that event ought to have terrified him into seeking serious help. It didn’t. What does that say about Brock as a Christian husband? I will let you connect the dots.

    Also, I don’t get the whole “I know how to handle a gun” excuse he allegedly made. So bizarre? If so, any idiot knows that you don’t point a loaded gun at another person without cause (i.e. they are about to shoot you). He certainly had that training as a prison guard. Crazy!

  9. Many years ago a Christian young mother I know woke up to see her alcoholic drug addicted husband pointing a gun at her head. Her waking up shook him up and he went and passed out. She called his non Christian father (who was only too aware of how addicted to drugs and alcohol his son was. He came right over and took his son’s guns away from him. This young mother later divorced her husband and the family all stood behind her. Amazing that a non Christian father had more sense than Hurit’s father in law. By the was the son went to numerous altar calls but continued to use and abuse. The last time I saw him he was obviously permanently brain damaged from his D&A usage and he was only in his 30’s

  10. Yo, Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman! Let me tell you what your 9Marx reminds me of? Scientology. Yes, Scientology, the cult of greed and power, the outfit that has its members sign contracts where any disputes have to be arbitrated outside of court. (Even to the violation of one’s First Amendment right to practice one’s own religion, as some employees of a Scientologist have found out recently.) I have also lived over 20 years in a part of the country (the Intermountain West) where there is a dominant religion, and it practices excommunication. It can be the social kiss of death.

    Based on those observations, I am absolutely of the opinion that “discipline,” as practiced, is generally harmful to most people. And the people who need to be disciplined (the spouse abusers and the pedophiles) end up getting protected and even promoted by church leadership.

    Really, you two need to study Scientology and then burn your church covenants. That’s all they’re good for, as fire starters.

  11. Velour wrote:

    Adults as incompetent idiots incapable of running their own lives.

    Living Hope Baptist Church is in Hopkinsville, Ky, only a few minutes drive from my daughter’s house. It is listed on the 9Marx church finder. I talked to my daughter a while back about certain types of churches, membership contra – oops – covenants, and discipline ……..
    My sil has business associates who are members of LHBC. A couple of weeks ago, they invited my daughter and sil to church. (snicker). My sil was game for checking the place out. But, after they talked for a short time about church practices, my daughter said, “No thank you!” When the associates got pushy, my daughter became a bit … uh, vicious. They backed off.

    Complete idiots? I’ll say. I checked out the church website. The location arrow for the church’s location is waaaayyyy off. The websites and authors recommended by the pastors?????? GTY, Desiring God, 9Marks, John Piper, John MacArthur, David Platt, JI Packer, RC Sproul, Tripp ……….

    I offered to go there with my daughter and see how much trouble the two of us could start. But, she said her Papaw would be a bit peeved if he had to bail both of us out of jail on the same day, and the banks are closed on Sundays.

  12. David (Eagle) wrote:

    Here is the open letter I did to Matt Carter of CEFC. Here is a question I have…how does a man go form admitting that Hurit was a victim of sexual assault and then led her excommunication service 10 days or so later? How does that happen?

    doublethink, comrade, doublethink.
    doubleplusdoublethink.

  13. Law Prof wrote:

    If Pastor Joe Celeb were ever to be caught red-handed making child porn, snorting cocaine and making off with half a million in embezzled funds, no shortage of fans would line up to say to detractors: “So, how many people have you led to the Lord, he had thousands come forward at the altar calls last year, are you perfect and without sin?”

    LawProf, after that sort of crap over and over, why would anyone in his right mind WANT to be a Christian?

  14. Nancy2 wrote:

    I offered to go there with my daughter and see how much trouble the two of us could start. But, she said her Papaw would be a bit peeved if he had to bail both of us out of jail on the same day, and the banks are closed on Sundays

    Why I’d wire you girls bail money from CA. It would be my honor!

  15. Dever admits that he and Leeman may be numbered among the “stupid pastors” who unwisely implement discipline

    So the consequence is greater authority? Add churches to the list of bureaucracies that promote incompetence. If these guys ran the military the way to get a promotion at an airbase would be dropping a bomb on your neighbors.

  16. Divorce Minister wrote:

    Also, I don’t get the whole “I know how to handle a gun” excuse he allegedly made.

    I don’t own a gun but even I aware that the first or second rule in ALL gun safety rules is “only point a gun in a safe direction”, that includes even when unloaded. There is no debate on the matter, point a gun at someone you are not prepared to shoot means you have no idea how to handle a gun.

    So we are left with two choices,
    1) The husband is a complete fool and has no idea how to handle a gun.
    2) The husband is telling the truth, he does know how to handle a gun, he was pointing it at someone he was prepared to shoot.

    Only two choices folks.

  17. @ BC:

    “Amazing that a non Christian father had more sense than Hurit’s father in law.”
    ++++++++++++

    I don’t think it’s amazing at all.

    the most sensible and wise people I know (let alone kind, honest, generous, sincere)are not Christians.

  18. Lydia wrote:

    @ JYJames:
    They have their own definition of good fruit. It is correct doctrine.

    Bingo!
    You can get away with almost anything, as long as you say, “repent”, and keep spouting the correct doctrine.

  19. Nancy2 wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    Adults as incompetent idiots incapable of running their own lives.
    Living Hope Baptist Church is in Hopkinsville, Ky, only a few minutes drive from my daughter’s house. It is listed on the 9Marx church finder. I talked to my daughter a while back about certain types of churches, membership contra – oops – covenants, and discipline ……..
    My sil has business associates who are members of LHBC. A couple of weeks ago, they invited my daughter and sil to church. (snicker). My sil was game for checking the place out. But, after they talked for a short time about church practices, my daughter said, “No thank you!” When the associates got pushy, my daughter became a bit … uh, vicious. They backed off.
    Complete idiots? I’ll say. I checked out the church website. The location arrow for the church’s location is waaaayyyy off. The websites and authors recommended by the pastors?????? GTY, Desiring God, 9Marks, John Piper, John MacArthur, David Platt, JI Packer, RC Sproul, Tripp ……….
    I offered to go there with my daughter and see how much trouble the two of us could start. But, she said her Papaw would be a bit peeved if he had to bail both of us out of jail on the same day, and the banks are closed on Sundays.

    I chuckled at that last sentence. BTW, I was born in Kentucky, and I’m very familiar with the terms “Papaw” and “Mamaw”. 🙂

  20. Divorce Minister wrote:

    Excellent point. If Brock loved Hurit even close to Christ loving His Church, that event ought to have terrified him into seeking serious help. It didn’t. What does that say about Brock as a Christian husband? I will let you connect the dots.

    It says he’s Pastor’s SON, Heir to Daddy’s Pulpit.
    Future ManaGAWD Can Do No Wrong.

  21. Mae wrote:

    You can get away with almost anything, as long as you say, “repent”, and keep spouting the correct doctrine.

    doubleplusduckspeak INGSOC, comrade.

  22. I believe in Church Discipline. I believe that most people, even people on this site, believe in Church Discipline.

    The problem is how Church Discipline is defined and how it is applied.

    The biggest problem that I see with 9 Marks, as it relates to these horror stories, is a critical problem with the definition of the boundaries of the Church’s authority. If a church does not understand the proper boundaries of its authority, there is a good chance that discipline will be misapplied.

    Dever and Leeman decry the horror stories. But they fail to see that what is causing the problems is the poor understanding of church authority that they are promoting.

    Leeman’s view of Church Authority is set forth in this article: “What Does It Mean to Submit to the Church?” http://www.christianity.com/print/11637095/

    As stated at the beginning of the article, the article is an adaptation of a chapter from Leeman’s work, “The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love; Reintroducing the Doctrines of Church Membership and Discipline.”

    The summary of Leeman’s position on Church Authority is this; when a person joins a local church, that member submits themselves to the church “physically, socially, affectionately, financially, vocationally, ethically, and spiritually.”

    If you read the article, you will see that Leeman spends a great deal of time speaking against authoritarianism and a lack of wisdom.

    However, when you start the game by describing the authority of the local church in such broad terms, the misapplication of discipline is inevitable. The horror stories occur most often in cases of overreach and favoritism.

    If a church believes his has authority over your life “physically, socially, affectionately, financially, vocationally, ethically, and spiritually”, it’s just a matter of time before the wheels come off.

    Of course, you don’t find this conclusion in the NT. It is a constructed conclusion. That is true is other areas of theology. But in this area, the support is very thin. It would seem that there are many formulations of discipline that differ from Leeman’s and I am sure they consider all of these scriptures – but with different conclusions.

    If you add to this the recent and candid revelations about the nature of congregationalism as advocated by 9 Marks (it’s limited participation, not true direction), what you end up with is a small group of people claiming the right to have authority over the entire person. No area of life is spared.

    You can counsel “wisdom” and “go slowly” all you want, but that will not fix a bad premise. If you are driving from New York to San Diego with a bad map, you will never get there regardless of how slow or carefully you drive.

    I do not expect Leeman to ever change his views on local church authority. It is a major portion of his opus. He presents as open to correction and is engaging, and I am sure he perceives that he could change is mind if presented with good argument. But the truth is a man of his age, who has written as much on the subject as he has written, is not going to admit that he got it wrong, no matter how badly church discipline comes to be practiced in the sister churches where he travels.

    My own view of church authority is that the church (or whatever governing body the church has designated) has the authority to keep order, to protect people, to adopt and maintain its doctrinal confession, and to order its business and practices. To the extent a member is openly threatening any of these matters (unless it is an appeal for change through proper channels), the church can and should act (depending on the circumstances). Also, in cases of public, egregious sin (such as sleeping openly with one’s mother in law) which even the world recognizes to be wrong, the church should act, as Paul wrote in One Corinthians (tip to Donald Trump. Btw, I have taken to calling books “One” and “Two” just to annoy officious denominational and Christian leaders who think they have the right to declare which candidates are out of bounds for Christians to support).

    So, if you have a person like that in your church, consider discipline. Better yet, be patient. That person will probably not feel comfortable in the church and will move of their own accord. (This is where the idea of rejecting preemptive resignations is a bad and non-scriptural idea. If a person comes to reject a key doctrine of the church’s doctrinal confession, that person will move on and they should be allowed to move on).

    The solution to the discipline woes of 9 Marks churches lies in the recognition of the proper bounds of church authority. Once that is corrected, there may still be church discipline horror stories, but they will be fewer.

  23. This is surreal. I used to attend CHBC (apparently while Dever was a pastor if not head pastor?) and I remember his sermons being good. Nothing weird about them. I wonder now if they or his views changed over the years.

  24. Bill M wrote:

    Divorce Minister wrote:
    Also, I don’t get the whole “I know how to handle a gun” excuse he allegedly made.

    I don’t own a gun but even I aware that the first or second rule in ALL gun safety rules is “only point a gun in a safe direction”, that includes even when unloaded.

    I believe the first rule is that a gun is always considered to be loaded. Ergo, do not point it at your wife.

  25. @ Anonymous:

    You don’t need to write sermons, run websites, and hold conferences to convince Christians that churches should do something about a family man hiring a prostitute.

  26. Anonymous wrote:

    The biggest problem that I see with 9 Marks, as it relates to these horror stories, is a critical problem with the definition of the boundaries of the Church’s authority. If a church does not understand the proper boundaries of its authority, there is a good chance that discipline will be misapplied.

    Great analysis of Leeman and 9Marks discipline. By chance do you pastor a small church in NC? Your writing style is concise and reminds me of a few books of his.

  27. Anonymous wrote:

    I do not expect Leeman to ever change his views on local church authority. It is a major portion of his opus.

    I also don’t expect Leeman to change simply because 9Marks is where he gets his paycheck from and he’s in too deep. Also, if he ever wanted to leave he would most likely face church discipline (threats in elders’ meetings), excommunication and shunning before all via Mark Dever.

  28. @ Anonymous:
    Well stated. Another issue is they set themselves up with a level of authority that Paul would recoil in horror at–in fact, he did when he vigorously spoke against the superapostles. Authority vested in a select group of leaders to impose discipline unilaterally does not exist in the New Testament era, discipline was for the church as a whole to impose, and it was to be imposed upon leaders as well–you can argue from the text that it was for leaders in particular. Leadership in the New Testament era is not about God’s chosen few casting their vision upon the ignorant and ousting those who fail to fall into line–such a paradigm does not exist in the New Testament era.

    The problem is the type of person who thinks they should have the level of authority in the church which Lehman, Dever, Driscoll, Piper, etc. endorse is invariably a person who has stopped listening to or never listened to God at all. Their God is their appetite, be it for mansions or power or narcissistic supply.

    Therefore, abusive church discipline is virtually guaranteed in their paradigm.

  29. if a church believes [it] has authority over your life “physically, socially, affectionately, financially, vocationally, ethically, and spiritually”, it’s just a matter of time before the wheels come off.

    As a Catholic, I must say that I don’t know of ANY parish or diocese that would ever in a million years claim it has authority over all of those areas. Physically? Socially? Vocationally? Are you kidding me? No priest, bishop, or pope — and yeah, that includes Gregory VII, the Borgias, you name it — would ever claim such stuff. Talk about control-freaky micro-management. Yikes.

  30. Great summary…. As a further example, if they claim authority over your professional life, what if you go to a YEC church, and you are a practicing geologist looking for oil?? There is no viable YEC model of how to find crude oil, but there is a old earth model! So, either you must be intellectually dishonest or quite your job? I can cite many other professions that are based on the science of old earth and the evil “evolution”!!

    @ Anonymous:

  31. Anonymous wrote:

    believe in Church Discipline. I believe that most people, even people on this site, believe in Church Discipline.

    Yes. I find it egregious that perps are catered to while the victims are shamed as sinners, too, who must give instant forgiveness and attend church with the evil one who did great harm.

    That is the sort of “discipline” we have seen so far in that movement.

  32. Anonymous wrote:

    I do not expect Leeman to ever change his views on local church authority. It is a major portion of his opus. He presents as open to correction and is engaging, and I am sure he perceives that he could change is mind if presented with good argument. But the truth is a man of his age, who has written as much on the subject as he has written, is not going to admit that he got it wrong, no matter how badly church discipline comes to be practiced in the sister churches where he travels.

    You are correct. The message is now: be kinder dictators.

  33. Anonymous wrote:

    If you read the article, you will see that Leeman spends a great deal of time speaking against authoritarianism and a lack of wisdom.

    The problem with this view is one has to be in constant search for benevolent and wise authorities. My question is why adults need to be consistently in charge of other adults. When does does growth occur in that model? The idea that adults need “elders” all their spiritual lives is a sign of a lack of growth on both sides. But it seems to be the new normal.

    I do not see it as a static function in the NT but as an stop gap in the early church where it was far from glamorous or authoritarian and even dangerous.

  34. Law Prof wrote:

    The problem is the type of person who thinks they should have the level of authority in the church which Lehman, Dever, Driscoll, Piper, etc. endorse is invariably a person who has stopped listening to or never listened to God at all. Their God is their appetite, be it for mansions or power or narcissistic supply.

    Many of these pastors/elders will say that they were “called by God” to the preach. I’ve come to be as skeptical of those claims as I am of their word “Biblical”, all employed to mean “don’t think!”

  35. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    No priest, bishop, or pope — and yeah, that includes Gregory VII, the Borgias, you name it — would ever claim such stuff. Talk about control-freaky micro-management. Yikes.

    That is overstating it a bit considering history tells a very different story.

  36. Lydia, no, IMHO it is really not overstating it.

    When has the Catholic Church ever told laypeople, “No, you cannot take a job as a baker; we want you to be a butcher instead”? The Church could not micro-manage at that granular level even if it wanted to. It’s logistically infeasible for a huge global institution to micro-manage to that extent.

    Moreover, I would not necessarily rely on the highly tendentious “history” you may have been fed over the years. There’s a lot of serious misinformation out there, especially in fundagelical-land.

    History is messy and complex. I am married to a guy who has his doctorate in (Byzantine) history from Harvard, for what that’s worth, which ain’t much. Like every historian I’ve ever known, though, he measures his words carefully and qualifies them to death, and he never makes sweeping, confident statements about history’s supposed “story.” 😉

    Lydia wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
    No priest, bishop, or pope — and yeah, that includes Gregory VII, the Borgias, you name it — would ever claim such stuff. Talk about control-freaky micro-management. Yikes.
    That is overstating it a bit considering history tells a very different story.

  37. elastigirl wrote:

    I don’t think it’s amazing at all.

    the most sensible and wise people I know (let alone kind, honest, generous, sincere)are not Christians.

    Nor do I find it amazing. In my opinion, faith and works Are Not separate realms; but rather, they are inextricably linked. One is a sufficient condition for the other to exist. In math we call this an ‘if and only if’ condition between two things. Yeah Muff, this is all academic, fine and good, so whatcher’ point?
    So… if the peeps you’ve cited do the things Jesus taught, how are they not Christians?
    (C.S. Lewis argued along a similar line I believe, but I can’t remember where…)

  38. Anonymous wrote:

    The summary of Leeman’s position on Church Authority is this; when a person joins a local church, that member submits themselves to the church “physically, socially, affectionately, financially, vocationally, ethically, and spiritually.”

    Is the quoted section actually from a book or paper that Leeman has written? I am only asking because I can’t believe he would actually put that in writing — it is so absurd.

  39. Bridget wrote:

    Anonymous wrote:

    The summary of Leeman’s position on Church Authority is this; when a person joins a local church, that member submits themselves to the church “physically, socially, affectionately, financially, vocationally, ethically, and spiritually.”

    Is the quoted section actually from a book or paper that Leeman has written? I am only asking because I can’t believe he would actually put that in writing — it is so absurd.

    It’s from the article linked to in the post you were replying to:

    ” Christians emulate Christ’s example by submitting to one another physically, socially, affectionately, financially, vocationally, ethically, and spiritually.”

    If course, the scope is then largely limited to how Christians would submit (on only one direction) to the Church – rather than how this may work itself out on multiple levels of mutual submission between Christians in various positions.

    In fact, reading that article, I can’t believe it’s so bad. Whilst there are small caveats here and there – that are largely taken as read – the ultimate message is easily twisted in the ways we see here.

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  42. Anonymous wrote:

    This is where the idea of rejecting preemptive resignations is a bad and non-scriptural idea.

    At my former 9Marxist/John MacArthur-ite church, which rents from the Seventh Day Adventists on Fremont Ave. in Sunnyvale, CA., if a member wanted to leave to go to another church they were required to have an “exit interview” with two pastors/elders.

    Shockingly, my ex-pastors/elders brought their friend a felon, Megan’s List sex offender/kiddie pornographer, to church, gave him church membership (told no one and I discovered him on Megan’s List while doing a research project for an attorney), put him in a position of leadership and trust (my ex-pastors have been criticized by sex crimes experts around the world who said that should have NEVER been done), gave him latitude to attend all church events (including those where people brought their children such as Bible studies), invited him to volunteer for 5-days at a summer basketball camp the church puts on for children, and REFUSED to vet him with his supervising law enforcement agency (the Sheriff’s Sex Offenders’ Task Force) or meet with them!

    In fact my ex-pastors/elders repeatedly threatened me and told me to never contact law enforcement again about this sex offender and that I was to “obey” and to “sumbit to my elders in all things”, i.e. obstruction of justice – a felony crime that can land the pastors/elders in state prison.

  43. Bridget wrote:

    Is the quoted section actually from a book or paper that Leeman has written? I am only asking because I can’t believe he would actually put that in writing — it is so absurd.

    Following are several direct quotes:

    “Step 5: Christians emulate Christ’s example by submitting to one another physically, socially, affectionately, financially, vocationally, ethically, and spiritually. “

    Keep in mind as you read the following quotes that Lehman uses slight-of-noun by switching “one another” to “local church” as he explains further…

    ” Publicly

    Christians should submit to their local churches publicly, by which I mean formally or officially.

    Notice that “one another” transmogrifies to “local churches”?

    He goes on:

    ” Physically and Geographically

    Christians should submit to their local churches physically and perhaps geographically.

    ” Socially

    One of the purposes of submitting physically and perhaps geographically to a local church is the opportunity to submit oneself socially.”

    ” Affectionately

    One component of friendship, of course, is the sharing of affections, and one more way that Christians are called to submit to the local church is through submitting their affections to one another.

    Notice Lehman has again changed “one another” to “local church”?

    ” Financially

    Christians should submit to their local churches financially.”

    Taking Lehman’s view at face value – the “local church” replaces “one anothers” AND the “local church” replaces God.

    Here’s another choice quote:

    “Jesus is a totalitarian. He’s not some monarch of old who overtaxes the peasants to build his castle. He’s like the old Soviet state that wanted to get inside people’s heads and change the very way they think, calling submission to their doctrine “freedom.” Their claim was total, and so is his.

    That’s what Jesus means when he tells us that we must be like a seed that goes into the ground and dies, or that we must be born again, or that we must take up our cross and follow him. We become free when the truth of him become our internal operating principle—our affections, motivations, desires, and worship.”

    “We *become* free says Lehman.

  44. If you could, and I know this is off topic, but remember us here in Orange, Newton Counties, of Texas especially. The Sabine River flood has shut down most of the City of Orange. Has destroyed the town of Deweyville…Interstate 10 was closed earlier this morning. ( since re-opened) Even during hurricanes Rita and Ike the interstate never shut. They probably will close it again later today.

  45. K.D. wrote:

    If you could, and I know this is off topic, but remember us here in Orange, Newton Counties, of Texas especially. The Sabine River flood has shut down most of the City of Orange. Has destroyed the town of Deweyville…Interstate 10 was closed earlier this morning. ( since re-opened) Even during hurricanes Rita and Ike the interstate never shut. They probably will close it again later today.

    I will tweet out your prayer request, K.D., to my followers. Praying now.

  46. Muff Potter wrote:

    Nor do I find it amazing. In my opinion, faith and works Are Not separate realms; but rather, they are inextricably linked. One

    Thank you!!!

  47. @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    I read secular history. Christian history was a bloody evil mess on both sides. One hint on micromanaging people is the lack of literacy historically in the state church that controlled such things. Your mistake is thinking I am Protestant. I am not.

  48. Bridget wrote:

    Anonymous wrote:

    The summary of Leeman’s position on Church Authority is this; when a person joins a local church, that member submits themselves to the church “physically, socially, affectionately, financially, vocationally, ethically, and spiritually.”

    Is the quoted section actually from a book or paper that Leeman has written? I am only asking because I can’t believe he would actually put that in writing — it is so absurd.

    What if he called the “church” the Assembly or the “called out ones”? Then it really sounds absurd. In praxis, he is really advocating for total submission to the leaders who are, in his construct, the church.

  49. @ BL:
    They really try to convince folks that any independent thinking or self determination is evil. The converse is the problem. Jesus is like the old Soviet Union? Please tell me that is a typo.

  50. @ Chris S:

    I don’t quite understand your response. I did go back and read the first 1/2 of the article. I found it to be much as it is explained by BL. Submitting to one another as described in the NT is twisted to submitting to the church (church leaders). The article enforforces this thought with the picture of a church building prominently at the top.

  51. Lydia wrote:

    @ BL:
    They really try to convince folks that any independent thinking or self determination is evil. The converse is the problem. Jesus is like the old Soviet Union? Please tell me that is a typo.

    It is not a typo.

  52. Lydia wrote:

    What if he called the “church” the Assembly or the “called out ones”? Then it really sounds absurd. In praxis, he is really advocating for total submission to the leaders who are, in his construct, the church.

    Yes.

    Is it just me, or does it seem to others that the bulk of churchianity teaching for the past half-century (books, conferences, pulpits, blogs, articles, etc) has been on Authority and Submission?

    My introduction to this was in the early 70s via the Fab Five’s shepherding and discipleship launch.

    And while that particular movement may have imploded (maybe it was more a type of mushroom exploding and sending out its spores…) – their teaching on Authority and Submission seems to have permeated throughout visible churchianity.

    The S & D folks stressed how we were all rebellious, disobedient, individualists therefore we needed to submit, no matter what. And of course, any question presented automatically got you labeled as rebellious, disobedient and individualists.

    I fell for it then, and I see that the same assertions are still being made today.

    But I now believe that we actually have a much greater tendency toward a conformity, herding, group-think, give-us-a-king, fear-driven mentality.

    Once we find ‘our group’ – it seems to take a massive trauma before an individual starts just *thinking* that something might be wrong with their herd-of-choice.

  53. @ Muff Potter:

    “So… if the peeps you’ve cited do the things Jesus taught, how are they not Christians?”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    because they didn’t get baptized, pray the sinner’s prayer, clap 3 times and spin around, nor go to church each Sunday.

    (totally kidding here)

    my muslim friend is the most excellent humam being. she knows God extremely well. just by another name.

  54. Lydia wrote:

    They really try to convince folks that any independent thinking or self determination is evil. The converse is the problem. Jesus is like the old Soviet Union? Please tell me that is a typo.

    Not a typo.

    Totalitarian.

    They equate Jesus as a totalitarian.

    Which really explains why the leadership who believes such about Jesus, become the type of churchianity leaders we see parading about.

    It makes total sense now.

    What is even more distressing, is that a quick googling will bring up a number of people who are saying & teaching that Jesus is a totalitarian…

  55. Muff Potter wrote:

    In my opinion, faith and works Are Not separate realms; but rather, they are inextricably linked. One is a sufficient condition for the other to exist.

    This is what Tim Challis didn’t get when he sort of put down Ruth Tucker’s opinion because it was based on her experience. Our experiences, our actions, our lives are all bound together with our faith. I guess some people are so scared of works that they totally separate faith and works (our everyday lives), even thought they’re meant to be together.

  56. BL wrote:

    But I now believe that we actually have a much greater tendency toward a conformity, herding, group-think, give-us-a-king, fear-driven mentality.

    Yes!

    My first introduction to the authority focus was the early 90’s when I first started hearing the comp teaching.

  57. Bridget wrote:

    @ Chris S:

    I don’t quite understand your response. I did go back and read the first 1/2 of the article. I found it to be much as it is explained by BL. Submitting to one another as described in the NT is twisted to submitting to the church (church leaders). top.

    I’m not sure what there is to understand, I said much the same thing. Rather than a mutual submission to fellow Christians (which will differ based on the role and place they have in each others life – wives/husbands will submit to each other differently than they would to Christians outside their matrimonial relationship), Leeman replaces it with a solely one way submission to the church by which he means the elders (so much for congregational governance, which he claims to also adhere to).

    What Dever et al need is a proper business meeting:

    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/the-pope-needs-a-business-meeting

    “You could criticize what was going on, and it was OK. You weren’t unsupportive or unspiritual. Even if “God was blessing,” you could ask if it was Biblical, or true to the church’s purpose. You could question the pastor right there to his face, instead of dealing with one of his underlings or enforcers. And if the pastor said something stupid like “Don’t criticize what God is blessing….,” you could laugh at him right there in front of everyone.

    New business was our church’s way of keeping the people and the leadership on common ground. It didn’t keep leaders from leading, but it didn’t put members in the position of a bobblehead doll either.”

  58. @ Velour:
    That is nuts. I remember a pastor friend I had years ago. He graduated from Western Baptist seminary and idolized John Piper. He harassed an inactive church member at her place of employment. It was wrong to harass. At the place of employment was way over the top. He was also a bit authoritarian and the deacons and church booted him out. One of the reasons expressed at that church vote was that they didn’t feel loved. He was Calvinist. I and other people in the church argued with him over free will. I wouldn’t be surprised if you added the Conservative Baptist Association to your list of “denominations” infiltrated by Neo Calvinism. It no longer goes by the Conservative Baptist name. Also Neo Calvinism has infiltrated the GARBC, traditionally a fundamentalist separatist sect. I think these two Northern Baptist off shoots went Neo Calvinist in the 80’s and 90’s. One good thing is Millard Erickson now teaches at Western Seminary and he isn’t exactly a fan of Neo Calvinism. He is also egalitarian.

  59. I reject the premise. No church has authority over me. Ever. It isn’t in the Bible, and Dever et al’s tortuous eisegesis won’t change that. This crowd uses “biblical authority” as a cudgel to hide the fact that they have rejected the principles of the NT. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all their aberrant theology is self-serving.

  60. And to piggyback on my own comment, I remain baffled at the number of people who fall for the mindless rhetoric pumped out by this crowd. I mean, you really have to be a mindless drone to even give their ideas the time of day.

  61. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    And to piggyback on my own comment, I remain baffled at the number of people who fall for the mindless rhetoric pumped out by this crowd. I mean, you really have to be a mindless drone to even give their ideas the time of day.

    Mindless or anesthetized (brainwashed)? Sometimes you can’t see it until you are away from it.

  62. elastigirl wrote:

    @ elastigirl:
    actually it’s the same name, allah, Arabic for God. (just to complete my thought, not to invite challenge).

    I’ll challenge you. Jesus isn’t just another thing, He’s the whole thing. What a person says and thinks about Him is everything. And if the muslims say He’s but a prophet, they’re wrong, they don’t know the Lord, because Jesus is that Lord, and if the rabid complementarians make Him subordinate eternally, then they’re wrong, they likely don’t know the Lord, because they’ve gone and made Him second best. What a person says about Jesus is absolutely everything, He’s the stumbling block, and most of the people we decry on this forum, as well as the Muslims, trip right over Him and miss the whole thing.

  63. Dever and Leeman are so far down the rabbit hole! Funny and not all at the same time. What Leeman and Dever and their ilk want to do is raise walls. Not to keep people out but to keep people in. There’s a lot of the same mentality that history tells us was part of Stalinist Russia. Control, using one to report on another, constant criticism. Turn the church into a bunker complete with “no gurlz allowed”
    It’s about balance, your faith should enable you to engage the world, not withdraw from it. I’m no bible scholar but that doesn’t seem to be the point of the gospels. But what do I know? I’m an “egalitarian intolerista”.

  64. @ Law Prof:

    I figured someone would. no problem. yes, I hear what you’re saying. wearing cognitive discopants, here (shiny metallic turquoise). (and roller skates). I have hard time reconciling it all, when the gospel d!ckheads get a free pass while the truly excellent human beings, who pursue kindness and goodness and honesty at great cost to themselves, are s.o.l.

    I do think something’s amiss, somehow askew, in some way, in what constitutes the evangelical conclusions on the matter. it’s just too cute & buttoned up, all nice and neat.

  65. @Dee

    Re: “(may I refer to the tandem as “Deeman” to save keystrokes?)”

    Hearty thanks for giving yourself permission to do this. But we need a more general term to describe not just these two guys but their whole manly ilk.

    May I suggest “manholes”? Because manholes are equipped with covers, and these types always think they have a covering to clamp onto women. 😉

  66. KD – my husband is from Orange, TX. He still has relatives there. He is checking on them now. You may know or have known some of my husbands family. The last name is Roberts. We went thru Hurricane Ike in Galveston. Had about 4-5 feet or water in our home. It was devastating. We will be praying for you. I now live in East, TX.

  67. K.D. wrote:

    remember us here in Orange, Newton Counties, of Texas especially. The Sabine River flood has shut down most of the City of Orange. Has destroyed the town of Deweyville…Interstate 10 was closed earlier this morning.

    So sad. Praying for all of you.

  68. elastigirl wrote:

    I do think something’s amiss, somehow askew, in some way, in what constitutes the evangelical conclusions on the matter. it’s just too cute & buttoned up, all nice and neat

    I agree with you. I believe that there are many ways to the truth. I’ve known so many good people of different faiths, or no faith at all, that it can’t be that simple with a gleeful Jesus hurling everyone who doesn’t have the “sinner prayer get out of jail free” card into h-e-double hockey sticks. If it is, then I’d better pack my sunscreen!

  69. Friend wrote:

    @Dee
    Re: “(may I refer to the tandem as “Deeman” to save keystrokes?)”
    Hearty thanks for giving yourself permission to do this. But we need a more general term to describe not just these two guys but their whole manly ilk.
    May I suggest “manholes”? Because manholes are equipped with covers, and these types always think they have a covering to clamp onto women.

    Manholes, that is funny!

  70. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    I figured someone would. no problem. yes, I hear what you’re saying. wearing cognitive discopants, here (shiny metallic turquoise). (and roller skates). I have hard time reconciling it all, when the gospel d!ckheads get a free pass

    In all honesty, have you ever seen me or anyone here give them that free pass?

  71. @ Law Prof:

    here’s a better summary of my thoughts:

    from Matthew 7: ““Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

    if people who wear the Christian uniform completely miss the boat because of their behavior and choices, then to me it stands to reason that those who don’t wear any uniform at all or wear a ‘religiously exotic uniform’ could make the boat because of their behavior and choices.

    ‘love covers a multitude of sins’ — kind of an enigmatic thing, if I remember correctly as to its appearance in the NT. of course professionals systematically theologize it into something nice & neat. I think there’s plenty of room for mystery here.

    just sick & tired of nice & neat everything, including those edgy, haphazard fashion looks pastors don these days which they actually spend a lot of time in the mirror trying to achieve, coiffing away.

    think i’ll go live on some piece of tundra.

  72. Are you seriously saying that the Catholic Church controlled literacy levels? Yikes. Now I’ve heard everything. Lydia wrote:

    @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    I read secular history. Christian history was a bloody evil mess on both sides. One hint on micromanaging people is the lack of literacy historically in the state church that controlled such things. Your mistake is thinking I am Protestant. I am not.

  73. @ elastigirl:
    When I was a little girl my mom was reading a bio of Amy Carmichael to me and it was about her trying to save little girls from being temple prostitutes as a missionary. My mom told me that Jesus Christ does not condemn the ones who could not saved from that life. I still believe that.

    Believing that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh should not automatically mean one thinks all others who don’t, are condemned. I realize many do. But professing Him should not be seen as automatically intolerant, hopefully.

  74. @ elastigirl:
    I think this works into the post nicely. No one knows who’s in or not. We live in a pluralistic society. Christians are but one voice & don’t agree amongst themselves but what’s happening with the neo cal crowd is a complete refusal to dialog. They want you to go live on a piece of tundra. They want to keep their flock of elect isolated from the likes of you. They don’t consider you Christian. But don’t feel bad,they wouldn’t consider Law Prof Christian either. If denominations & churches accept this then Christianity will wither and die. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists,Wiccan & atheists all hold their beliefs as dear to them. Your faith should enhance your interactions with others. I’m humming “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” Good time to stop now.

  75. @ Lydia:

    “Believing that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh should not automatically mean one thinks all others who don’t, are condemned. I realize many do. But professing Him should not be seen as automatically intolerant, hopefully.”
    ++++++++++++++

    that’s really great, Lydia. it’s so awesome, so comforting, such a relief to know that there are others in this silly religion of mine who think like I do at least in some things, even if just a titch.

  76. @ Jack:

    “I’m humming “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” Good time to stop now.”
    ++++++++++

    love that commercial, the whole idea. (I, of course, was extremely young when that was a thing) no need to stop!
    ————

    “Christians are but one voice & don’t agree amongst themselves ”
    +++++++++++++

    yes, this, too. there is so much disagreement on what things mean in the bible, my perspective is just as valid as all the other joe schmoes.

  77. Elastigirl.

    He said he was the way and the truth and the life, and no one could get to the Father except through him. He was totally unequivocal about that, nothing he said about doing the will of the Father can negate it–both are true. That said, “out” and “in” are not defined by reciting a prayer that acknowledges Jesus is the way or believing it in the sense that one believes a piece of academic knowledge, either. That’s the problem I have with many of the bullies we discuss, when their behavior is worse that the average atheist, I tend to think they know God only in the nominal sense. They’re like fans of a team; they don’t memorize batting averages, they memorize scriptures–and know the meaning of not one. It all works together, faith is Jesus which shows up in your life, not an intellectual acknowledgment. Something happens that cannot easily be put into words when you come to that faith, you come to know that he meant exactly what he said when he claimed to be the only way.

  78. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    no, absolutely not. i’m talking ultimately, in the final analysis, the final balancing of the books.

    Me too. As I said, I don’t think those people are the real deal, I’d hate to be one of them when those books are balanced, because the one who keeps them balances them himself, and I sincerely doubt that the average church bully knows him.

  79. And by the way, I’ll let others have the final word on this, I’ve hijacked this thread long enough.

  80. BL wrote:

    Which really explains why the leadership who believes such about Jesus, become the type of churchianity leaders we see parading about.

    It makes total sense now.

    And it makes the Devil into the greatest Hero in all history, because he stood up to that Cosmic Monster.

  81. @ Law Prof:

    “…It all works together, faith is Jesus which shows up in your life, not an intellectual acknowledgment. Something happens that cannot easily be put into words when you come to that faith, you come to know that he meant exactly what he said when he claimed to be the only way.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    thank you, Law Prof, for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it all. my faith seems to be in all 3 of ’em, God/Jesus/HolySpirit (not that your’s isn’t). I don’t focus on one more than the other, besides acknowledging (for sheer practical reasons) that HolySpirit is the ultra-local actual presence of God/Jesus to help, cheer, comfort, influence, communicate, elucidate, heal, etc.

    as far as coming to know that he meant exactly what he said when he claimed to be the only way, it’s not that I doubt it — it’s just that it’s a huge concept, including the significance of it.

  82. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Mark wrote:

    Mindless or anesthetized (brainwashed)? Sometimes you can’t see it until you are away from it.

    Unfortunately true.

    And like @Brad has pointed out in his articles on his blog @futuristguy that many times that people who may have had trauma in their past, i.e. childhoods, may find themselves in an authoritarian, spiritually abusive church.

    (Pastor) Ken Blue found the same was true in almost all of the victims of spiritual abuse that he counseled. He wrote a good book called Healing Spiritual Abuse.

    We also live in a more fragmented society and people may be looking for connection. Then there’s peer pressure. I think the NeoCals have been very savvy about planting new churches in upper-class neighborhoods with high net-worth incomes to attract. I don’t think that’s a mistake at all. I think it was @Lydia who may have raised some of those points in other posts here on TWW.

    In my area of California (northern), my ex-NeoCal church has a Bible Study at the elite Stanford University in which they attract many undergraduate and graduate students, who also invite their friends. Many of the students are Asian, although some are white. I think my ex-pastors/elders were pretty calculating to start a Bible study at Stanford University as opposed to the poorer and much larger public university, San Jose State, near by.

    In retrospect, I think it was all very calculating.

    And many of the NeoCals are renting churches from the Seventh Day Adventists, who worship on Saturdays and have Sundays free to rent to others.

  83. TWW Friends,

    Please check out a post that I have made for Shauna and Billy under the Christina article here.

    It seems that Shauna (and her son Billy) don’t have a computer and she’s looking for stable work. If anybody has an extra lap top that it’s good condition that we could ship to TX to Shauna, please advise. Also some flash drives.

    Also, if you have any ideas of places, such as non-profits, that provide low-income families with computers/laptops for free or low-cost – any research you could do on bona fide organizations – please post over on the other story.

    Thank you.

  84. Law Prof wrote:

    And by the way, I’ll let others have the final word on this, I’ve hijacked this thread long enough.

    When I was feeling particularly non Christian, you mentioned how the Neo-cals would love to see me gone. It was a bit of cold water in my face & put a lot perspective into what I read here. Never thanked you for that. So thanks.

  85. First of all, Anonymous’ post above was excellent and well worth reading.

    I believe 9Marks is trying to address an important need in the American church but there are fatal flaws which Anon. highlighted above.

    I believe 9Marks is popular because theologically conservative Christians see a moral slide in the broader culture that is also in the church and they know a laisse faire approach to church life will not result in the faithfulness to God which should characterize His people. They also see some examples of church discipline in the Bible and want to be faithful to what they see there.

    On the other hand, in a culture which tends to shy away from authority and which is easily offended, church discipline will be an uphill battle always.

    So many of us I think are out here knowing that church discipline is sometimes necessary but not convinced that the 9Marks approach is the best way.

    So how should church discipline look within the local church? How can we avoid the errors of 9Marks without throwing out the whole concept?

  86. js wrote:

    I believe 9Marks is popular because theologically conservative Christians see a moral slide in the broader culture that is also in the church and they know a laisse faire approach to church life will not result in the faithfulness to God which should characterize His people. Th

    If this is so then how come so many go along with them on protecting molesters and such? Their approach to cheap grace when it comes to such heinous behavior and their cruelty to victims does not fit your explanation.

  87. Lydia wrote:

    js wrote:

    I believe 9Marks is popular because theologically conservative Christians see a moral slide in the broader culture that is also in the church and they know a laisse faire approach to church life will not result in the faithfulness to God which should characterize His people. Th

    If this is so then how come so many go along with them on protecting molesters and such? Their approach to cheap grace when it comes to such heinous behavior and their cruelty to victims does not fit your explanation.

    There is an irony here that while conservative Christians see the need for holiness it is not always present in our own lives. This may be an additional attraction of the 9Marks approach. It seems to give a method which, if practiced, will yield desirable results. When it doesn’t work well, we blame the method when in reality, the problem was trusting in the method in the first place.

    In addition, and I am prepared to be blasted for this but I do believe it . . . I believe many evangelicals have not seen the kind of brokenness of a terrible sin like pedophilia. I know there are many silent victims among all classes of people but many evangelicals have never dealt with a situation like that, even those in leadership. So when something happens, they don’t know how to handle it. They get fearful, they get tempted to make it less heinous, they just want it to go away. Just last week I was connected at a distance to an alcoholism struggle someone was having. There was an obvious need for rehab as health was deteriorating and various other problems were in place. Yet the parents of this adult child did not want her in rehab. They wanted to minimize. They didn’t want to deal with the problem. I think this is also at the heart of the church problems so often. When you portray the church as the happiest place in the world, how can you deal with it when something comes in that crushes that picture?

  88. @ Lydia:

    Here is JS wanting to talk about theologically conservative christians on some moral crusade. But some are saying that the neo-cal megas are playing to the young and clueless who have no background in christianity and are easily deceived.

    What is wrong with this picture?

    So is it that some alleged christians who espouse whatever it is that they call conservatism and who seem to be still struggling to even spell the word theology are looking for an excuse to stomp on the clueless youth?

    I don’t call that Jesus-style christianity.

  89. @ js:

    I think that what you are saying is making excuses for people. It may be that somebody offered these people those excuses and they picked up on them and you are merely recording what you think is going on, but make no mistake these are excuses.

  90. okrapod wrote:

    @ Lydia:

    Here is JS wanting to talk about theologically conservative christians on some moral crusade. But some are saying that the neo-cal megas are playing to the young and clueless who have no background in christianity and are easily deceived.

    What is wrong with this picture?

    So is it that some alleged christians who espouse whatever it is that they call conservatism and who seem to be still struggling to even spell the word theology are looking for an excuse to stomp on the clueless youth?

    I don’t call that Jesus-style christianity.

    I can’t make any sense out of what you are written here. I am trying to understand what is going on. I have no interest in making excuses. If we want to just be each other’s enemies let’s just say so and be done. I have no interest in such.

  91. okrapod wrote:

    @ js:

    I think that what you are saying is making excuses for people. It may be that somebody offered these people those excuses and they picked up on them and you are merely recording what you think is going on, but make no mistake these are excuses.

    Do you always react rightly to every sin you see in yourself or another? Have you ever turned your eye from a need because it was messy or inconvenient or just too much to handle emotionally? I wouldn’t come to you in those times and say you were making excuses. I would just call you human, capable of sins of omission and commission.

  92. js wrote:

    I believe many evangelicals have not seen the kind of brokenness of a terrible sin like pedophilia. I know there are many silent victims among all classes of people but many evangelicals have never dealt with a situation like that, even those in leadership. So when something happens, they don’t know how to handle it.

    In that case, they should have the humility to seek the counsel of those who do know how to handle it. When someone is deathly ill or seriously hurt, you call an ambulance. When crimes have been committed, or might have been, you call the police. If you don’t understand the nature of pedophilia, you talk to someone who has experienced it and/or studied it thoroughly.

    I can’t believe this is so difficult for the Calvinista big shots. Even if their initial contact with pedophilia and the like is distressing to them, you’d think they would’ve at least learned something from the recent history of the Catholic church. Why must they repeat the mistakes of the past?

  93. @ js:

    Well, I think you would be mistaken. If I cringe and use that as an excuse, then it is an excuse. If I say that I was not being judgmental but rather just pursuing holiness, that is an an excuse for being judgmental. If I pretend to not notice something which I should notice, if I fail to research to the limits of my opportunity some ‘strange’ doctrine, if my default position is always that I did not know or was afraid then I am excusing my irresponsibility. If I tolerate that in myself then I should be called out on it.

  94. js wrote:

    So how should church discipline look within the local church? How can we avoid the errors of 9Marks without throwing out the whole concept?

    First things first: Get rid of the membership contracts. They are nothing but a control mechanism.

    Also, do not implement any form of church discipline unless it also includes some means for the membership to hold pastors/elders/whatevers accountable.

    That’s just off the top of my head. Maybe someone with more experience and knowledge can fill in the details.

  95. js wrote:

    On the other hand, in a culture which tends to shy away from authority and which is easily offended, church discipline will be an uphill battle always.

    I worry about adults who seek out authorities for themselves. Are they not capable of self governance? Why is this it that so many Americans view government, work and church as their “authority”?

  96. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    I can’t believe this is so difficult for the Calvinista big shots.

    I can.
    When your Doctrine/Ideology is Totally Utterly CORRECT and PURE, ergo You Can Think No Wrong, ergo You Can Do No Wrong…

  97. @ okrapod:
    I have never viewed 9 Marx as just wanting to practice “biblical” church discipline. I saw their approach as “encroachment” (clean the rolls, hook the young, take control of people).

    Nine Marks has been about authoritarianism since day one. Seriously, can we read Leeman and not see this? Can we view Dever’s open arms to the fleeing Mahaney and not see the hypocrisy?

    It worked because the young they groomed are enamored and don’t question their “authority”.

  98. Law Prof wrote:

    Jesus which shows up in your life, not an intellectual acknowledgment. Something happens that cannot easily be put into words when you come to that faith, you come to know that he meant exactly what he said when he claimed to be the only way.

    To me the whole point of Messiah’s incarnation was to come to us and to become one of us, not the other way round’, providing a way to an unapproachable God. For me it’s a whole different starting point and presupposition.

  99. js wrote:

    There is an irony here that while conservative Christians see the need for holiness it is not always present in our own lives. This may be an additional attraction of the 9Marks approach. It seems to give a method which, if practiced, will yield desirable results. When it doesn’t work well, we blame the method when in reality, the problem was trusting in the method in the first place.

    I would think Holiness would look like love and justice, too. At the very least mercy for the victims.

    How did they go from the benign resolution to clean up church rolls to insisting a young woman must get their permission to leave a pedophile missionary? Or that victims are just as big of simmers as their molester?

    They got there because the foundation is authoritarianism. It always was. Disagreement is disobedience in their world. It was always about control.

  100. js raises a great question…. Maybe WW should start a blog discussing alternatives to disturbing church discipline that we have seen here….

    js wrote:

    First of all, Anonymous’ post above was excellent and well worth reading.
    I believe 9Marks is trying to address an important need in the American church but there are fatal flaws which Anon. highlighted above.
    I believe 9Marks is popular because theologically conservative Christians see a moral slide in the broader culture that is also in the church and they know a laisse faire approach to church life will not result in the faithfulness to God which should characterize His people. They also see some examples of church discipline in the Bible and want to be faithful to what they see there.
    On the other hand, in a culture which tends to shy away from authority and which is easily offended, church discipline will be an uphill battle always.
    So many of us I think are out here knowing that church discipline is sometimes necessary but not convinced that the 9Marks approach is the best way.
    So how should church discipline look within the local church? How can we avoid the errors of 9Marks without throwing out the whole concept?

  101. @ Jeffrey Chalmers:
    First it has to be defined with specifics. You need a decoder ring when it comes to these discussions with Neo Cals and their fellow travellers. How on earth do we go from 1 Corin 5 to a molested child being the same sinner as their molester?

  102. Lydia wrote:

    They got there because the foundation is authoritarianism. It always was. Disagreement is disobedience in their world. It was always about control.

    Strange thing here in that these are precisely some of the things that their ancestors in my day railed against the RCC about-control, authority, utter non-tolerance for disagreement.

  103. @ Lydia:

    There is no rational way to get there. This is not about the bible or about reason or about anything more than the hardness of the human heart.

  104. @ Muff Potter:
    And being human is supposed to be a good thing. Not an impossible thing. The more evil, the less human.

    Christians usually believe the opposite.

  105. Stan wrote:

    What discipline did Dever and Leeman endure for being “9Marxists”, as they admitted?

    The same as the fleeing Mahaney who used to “degift” people? He was exempted from church discipline. Dever did not telll him to go back and face the music he wrote for others. No. Dever welcomed him with open arms. Had him teaching!

    How one can think these guys have any credibility on the subject boggles my mind.

    Some animals must be more equal than others. :o)

  106. js wrote:

    On the other hand, in a culture which tends to shy away from authority and which is easily offended, church discipline will be an uphill battle always.
    So many of us I think are out here knowing that church discipline is sometimes necessary but not convinced that the 9Marks approach is the best way.
    So how should church discipline look within the local church? How can we avoid the errors of 9Marks without throwing out the whole concept?

    Well you have quickly parroted the Mark Dever statement about why he has put himself in a position of authority, crowning himself as a proverbial Protestant pope in my estimation, with the associate pastors/elders as cardinals, complete with the “keys” (i.e. excommunications and shunnings).

    How are you defining “culture”?

    You said “a culture which is easily offended”, how so? We have a culture that is in many parts of the U.S. quite tolerant and accepting of many cultures and points of views, and in my estimation that’s a good thing. What “culture” are you speaking of? And so the 9Marx way to control the “culture” through what, theocracy?

    “a culture which shys away from authority”. Well that’s not true either. Crime rates have consistently dropped nation-wide, the divorce-rate has consistently dropped.

    We have many people who have been suckered, outright deceived, into these abusive, authoritarian, Neo Cal churches.

    So you think church discipline should be meted out against you for having a thought? An independent idea? That’s how church discipline is being meted out.
    But the powers that be – Mark Dever, Jonathan Leeman, and the rest of the NeoCal crowd – don’t want a dose of their own vile medicine.

    We have churches, marriages, families, friendships being ripped to sunder by “church discipline” cases that are nothing like the Scriptures and are simply the arrogant pastors/elders wielding power. Those pastors/elders aren’t fit to serve.

    People have lost their reputations, all of their friends, been harassed, stalked, lost livelihoods, had mental breakdowns, and even committed suicide (including a law enforcement officer unfairly disciplined by his church who was so distraught he went to the church and committed suicide with a gun before everyone).

    Mark Dever should disband 9Marks, apologize for the damage, and step down. Ditto Jonathan Leeman. “Deeman” has done enough damage across the U.S. and around the globe. They can never undo the damage they have inflicted. And they were wrong.

    Anon put it best. The person who is in immorality will most likely feel uncomfortable and leave. The person who disagrees with the doctrine of the church, or any of its other beliefs, and wants to leave — let them go.

  107. Lydia wrote:

    And being human is supposed to be a good thing. Not an impossible thing.

    Exactly, which is why I now reject the main conclusions of Augustine’s Christology and Soteriology. I no longer believe that the Almighty ever had an absolute standard of perfection that cannot be met by his beloved humans. I’ve adopted the modern rabbinic view that humans work in partnership with God in the here and now, doing the best they can with what they have in building a better world in the here and now.

  108. js wrote:

    When you portray the church as the happiest place in the world, how can you deal with it when something comes in that crushes that picture?

    Stop portraying (lying about?) it as the happiest place on earth . . . for a start. Stop.

  109. js wrote:

    So when something happens, they don’t know how to handle it. They get fearful, they get tempted to make it less heinous, they just want it to go away.

    Leaders Stop acting like you know how to handle difficult and heart breaking situations. Stop acting like God’s common grace is not available to the church by way of professional counselors and psychologists. Leaders stop acting like you have the answer to everything and God will only work through your counsel. Please stop being proud, arrogant and/or fearful.

  110. Stan wrote:

    What discipline did Dever and Leeman endure for being “9Marxists”, as they admitted?

    Did Dever's disciple in Dubai ever apologize to Todd Wilhelm for the 9Marxist church discipline he endured?

  111. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    And to piggyback on my own comment, I remain baffled at the number of people who fall for the mindless rhetoric pumped out by this crowd. I mean, you really have to be a mindless drone to even give their ideas the time of day.

    There’s more to what is going on within this dynamic than initially meets the eye and I would advise caution to those who think they would never ‘fall’ to something like this. Because it is very evident that a large percentage of humans are vulnerable to it.

    I ran across a doctoral dissertation located here:

    http://www.alexandrastein.com/uploads/2/8/0/1/28010027/attachment_networks_and_discourse_in_ext.pdf

    Which I have found absolutely fascinating in regards to not just the leaders of these totalitarian churchianity systems BUT the *followers*.

    Here are some quotes from it:

    ” It is this appeal (the appeal to followers of authoritarian leaders) that scholars of conversion, brainwashing, and coercive persuasion have tried to understand. There are two aspects to this appeal: first, the initial appeal that draws followers into the charismatic’s sphere of influence (and this must be understood not just as a function of the charismatic, but also as the result of social conditions, situational factors and the particular ideological come-on employed) and, second, the issue of retention – why, in some cases, followers remain strongly bound to the charismatic leader. ”

    “Communication is highly restricted within totalist systems – in particular communication about the actual experience of followers. Free use of language is not available with which to construct a narrative and thus store experience in explicit memory. “

    “The most basic feature of the thought reform environment, the psychological current upon which all else depends, is the control of human communication. Through this milieu control the totalist environment seeks to establish domain over not only the individual’s communication with the outside (all that he sees and hears, reads and writes, experiences, and expresses), but also – in its penetration of his inner life – over what we may speak of as his communication with himself (Lifton 1961 p. 420). ”

    “The goal of this study is to explore the structure and mechanisms of totalism, a form of social relationship between a charismatic authoritarian leader and his or her followers. A feature of such relationships is the existence of an extreme social control within the totalist system for the purpose of “the domination of each single individual in each and every sphere of life” ”

    That last one sounds very much like Lehman’s assertion: ” when a person joins a local church, that member submits themselves to the church “physically, socially, affectionately, financially, vocationally, ethically, and spiritually.”

  112. And from the same link above the following sounds like all the personality-elder-led churches we see today. Got the pastor and his sycophantic elders who know everything – so that the followers not only don’t need to know – they don’t even need to think about it.

    And it describes the turmoil around the ‘inner group’ which adds to their instability and insures that they never know when they may end up OUT of the ‘inner group.’

    Former followers are treated as if they were ‘dead’ to those still in.

    “In the center of the movement, as the motor that swings it into motion, sits the Leader. He is separated from the elite formation by an inner circle of the initiated who spread around him an aura of impenetrable mystery which corresponds to his “intangible preponderance”. “

    “His position within this intimate circle depends upon his ability to spin intrigues among its members and upon his skill in constantly changing its personnel. Regardless of size, the totalist system will seek to limit and control followers’ relationships with those outside the system (unless those relationships have some instrumental benefit to the leader). “

    “Former followers will be shunned (again, unless there is instrumental gain). Close attachment relationships, whether within or external to the system, will be rigidly controlled and limited …”

    The next helps explain why whose people you thought were your friends for the last 10 years, so easily forget that you ever existed if you leave the group. The appearance of closeness in the relationships within these groups, is usually just an appearance. Also noted is how the churchianity’s hyper-schedule actually isolates its members.

    ”A characteristic of such systems is that followers are highly atomized and isolated within the system.

    There may be an appearance of close, “comradely” relationships, but these will be instrumental and repressive; followers will be “pressed together” so tightly that no difference exists between them, causing, perhaps paradoxically, intense isolation. This control of attachment relationships is part and parcel of the process of creating an affective identification with the leader, or the group as proxy.”

    ”The intense schedule and activities of the group will further reinforce this separation by simply leaving no time to continue pre-existing attachment relationships.”

  113. Bridget wrote:

    js wrote:

    When you portray the church as the happiest place in the world, how can you deal with it when something comes in that crushes that picture?

    Stop portraying (lying about?) it as the happiest place on earth . . . for a start. Stop.

    I agree.

    I was analyzing, not excusing and certainly not approving. My words on this thread are descriptive not prescriptive.

  114. @ BL:

    Thank you for taking the time to post all of that. It is exactly what happened in my ex-NeoCal/9Marx/John MacArthur-ite church that is pastored by an abusive senior pastor from The Masters’ Seminary (California). Former members’ – men and women, all ages, all professions, many high net-worth earners – accused my former pastor, the assoc pastors/elders, of being liars and bullies. That was certainly my experience with them. We all got screamed at behind closed doors and told what to do, calls to our homes with orders, e-mails from them, forced coffee/lunch meetings (with no way out). Insufferable. Authoritarian. Toxic.

  115. js wrote:

    I was analyzing, not excusing and certainly not approving. My words on this thread are descriptive not prescriptive.

    I believe you. I was/am reacting against the ideas themselves -not reacting against you. You seem to be very thoughtful and easy to talk to. I hope to hear more of what you have to say. You have good insight into how people do.

  116. okrapod wrote:

    js wrote:

    I was analyzing, not excusing and certainly not approving. My words on this thread are descriptive not prescriptive.

    I believe you. I was/am reacting against the ideas themselves -not reacting against you. You seem to be very thoughtful and easy to talk to. I hope to hear more of what you have to say. You have good insight into how people do.

    Thanks for the clarification.

  117. Bridget wrote:

    js wrote:
    So when something happens, they don’t know how to handle it. They get fearful, they get tempted to make it less heinous, they just want it to go away.
    Leaders Stop acting like you know how to handle difficult and heart breaking situations. Stop acting like God’s common grace is not available to the church by way of professional counselors and psychologists. Leaders stop acting like you have the answer to everything and God will only work through your counsel. Please stop being proud, arrogant and/or fearful.

    ….And if I might add, stop bullying, shaming those who refuse your dogma, counsel.

  118. Anonymous wrote:

    So, if you have a person like that in your church, consider discipline. Better yet, be patient. That person will probably not feel comfortable in the church and will move of their own accord.

    I’m not sure why a special activity called Church Discipline is needed for the church to safeguard its authority, which you describe thus:

    “to keep order, to protect people, to adopt and maintain its doctrinal confession, and to order its business and practices. To the extent a member is openly threatening any of these matters … the church can and should act (depending on the circumstances). Also, in cases of public, egregious sin (such as sleeping openly with one’s mother in law) which even the world recognizes to be wrong, the church should act…”

    Most of these things can be managed through normal human interaction, church teaching, and pastoral care or counseling. The most serious problems might need a lawyer, police, or mental health professionals.

    Having considered your words for awhile, I keep wondering how loving it is to choose between 1) disciplining a noxious church member and 2) biding our time and hoping he or she feels uncomfortable enough to leave.

    Many church members certainly know how to 1) stomp on people and 2) ward them off–but is that what we’re about? We shouldn’t shun pedophiles; we should call the police. As for adulterers, or people who question doctrine or challenge our business and practices, maybe we can listen, and not assume the worst, and show them a better way. “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”

  119. js wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    js wrote:
    I believe 9Marks is popular because theologically conservative Christians see a moral slide in the broader culture that is also in the church and they know a laisse faire approach to church life will not result in the faithfulness to God which should characterize His people.

    Exactly, and the 9Marks types are exactly like the Pharisees, who saw that same moral slide and dealt with it in the same way. If I had to choose between being a 9Marks Pharisee, essentially a son of hell making disciples even more objectionable than himself, or a full boat libertine, giving into the culture and its slide, I’d choose the latter. No, wait a minute, I’m wrong, I’m arguing from your paradigm, JS, which is a perfectly wrong-headed paradigm that will invariably lead to the worst possible solution. The problem with the 9Marks types is not that they are going to far in their reaction against the moral slide of the world, it’s that they are leading the church into the moral slides of the world, they are lording it over others, exactly like the gentiles, they are assuming for themselves the position of authority solely reserved for Christ, they are circling the wagons to protect each other, exactly like the world does it, they are willing to tell any lie, to destroy anyone, to protect their system, which–surprise, surprise, puts them on the top rung of the ladder! It’s the 9Marks types who are full scale into the ways of the world, more than any drug-addled prostitute lying in a gutter.

    The problem, JS, is you start from a paradigm that simply is a full on lie from hell, then expect to tweak a little here, a little there, and get to heaven.

  120. Lea wrote:

    This is surreal. I used to attend CHBC (apparently while Dever was a pastor if not head pastor?) and I remember his sermons being good. Nothing weird about them. I wonder now if they or his views changed over the years.

    When did you attend? I was there in the early 2000s and the tendencies were already apparent then…

  121. From the OP: “Do not sign any membership covenant until you know exactly what the guys in charge will discipline. Remember, your pastors and elders are sinful.”

    Do any of these covenants address what the church will do if a LEADER has sinned?

    Covenants, if I understand them correctly, list out the obligations of both parties, the responsibilities of both parties, and the rewards for keeping the covenant as well as the consequences should EITHER of the parties fail the covenant.

    So, do any of these church covenants list out the consequences of a failure by the leaders?

  122. Regarding that Mark Dever article linked to by Anonymous, a couple of things stood out.

    One, I think his comparison of Jesus to the old Soviet state revealed more than Dever intended. Communists are well known for the practice of brainwashing people, in addition to genocide, gulag systems, and oppressing any neighbors they can conquer. To remain in power, they had to control as many aspects of people’s private lives as possible. In an ecclesiastical context, I don’t think I’ve seen such an attempt to micromanage Christians’ lives since the Puritans, who the neocalvinists seem to revere.

    Two: “Most Christians recognize that we should give financially, but I propose, further, that the firstfruits of a Christian’s regular giving should go to his or her local church.” And a bit further down: “Giving our firstfruits affirms and demonstrates trust for the church leaders and how they will use the money to grow the church and its outreach.”

    The only other person I’ve ever seen use the word “firstfruits” with regard to church giving was Larry Burkett. He was arguing not just for the validity of the tithe, but 10% of your gross earnings, not the net. Does anybody know what Dever believes about this?

  123. BL wrote:

    So, do any of these church covenants list out the consequences of a failure by the leaders?

    In my experience the church leaders, a group of yes-men who are friends, get a *pass on Membership Covenants*. There is no discipline for them. Membership Covenants merely serve as a crowbar by authoritarian, intrusive church leaders to insinuate themselves into all aspects of members’ lives.

    Having lived through the nightmare of a 9Marx/John MacArthur-ite/NeoCalvinist church…I will never sign a church membership again.

    In retrospect, now that I’ve thought through the whole pack of lies that we were sold, how many pages of paperwork did Jesus make people sign to follow Him? Yes, that would be 0 pages. The Apostle Paul? 0 Pages to join the church.

    Mark Dever and the other big proponents of these authoritarian systems insist that membership covenants had to exist because the early church took attendance and *their number grews*. Proof texting.

    Here’s Pastor Wade Burleson’s excellent article (he does E-Church here on Sundays) about why people should say “no” to church membership covenants:
    http://www.wadeburleson.org/2015/05/five-reasons-to-say-no-to-church.html

  124. NJ wrote:

    The only other person I’ve ever seen use the word “firstfruits” with regard to church giving was Larry Burkett. He was arguing not just for the validity of the tithe, but 10% of your gross earnings, not the net. Does anybody know what Dever believes about this?

    Ronnie Floyd, current president of the SBC, talks about “first fruits” often.

  125. @ Law Prof:
    Agree with all of this and will add that what is frustrating to me is how so many lead with the assumption that we must be for “church discipline”. That is how this mess got started and was sold as a bait and switch. People agreed with a broad concept that ended up as evil personified.

  126. Velour wrote:

    I lost all of my friends of 8 1/2 years. My reputation was destroyed.

    Hi Velour,
    I just wanted to say they weren’t your ‘friends’ if the condition was that all a ‘pastor’ and his cronies had to do was malign you for them to abandon you.

    No one needs those kinds of ‘friends’. You are better off free of them and their kind.

    The best friends you can have are those people who want what is good for you for your sake, and who don’t have any gain out of it for themselves or for any agenda.

    Christians are more to one another than that kind of ‘friend’, and these people failed you there also.

    Pray for them. They need your prayers. Likely, in time, they will turn on one another. So it goes.

  127. Muff Potter wrote:

    I’ve adopted the modern rabbinic view that humans work in partnership with God in the here and now, doing the best they can with what they have in building a better world in the here and now.

    Tikkun Olam beats It’s All Gonna Burn by a long shot.

    Under Tikkun Olam, even your mundane activities and creative arts can build a better world in partnership with God. (Even the My Little Pony fanfics I’ve been assisting on for a couple years — they show Hope and present a world more-or-less in Harmony instead of grinning nihilism and/or over-Spiritualized Perfection.)

  128. BL wrote:

    The appearance of closeness in the relationships within these groups, is usually just an appearance. Also noted is how the churchianity’s hyper-schedule actually isolates its members.

    To the point they have NO friends or contacts or any connections outside Church. At which point, they have NO fallback position or escape route. No Berlin Wall you can go over if all that’s outside Eurasia is Oceania and Eastasia.

  129. Bridget wrote:

    Stan wrote:

    What discipline did Dever and Leeman endure for being “9Marxists”, as they admitted?

    Did Dever’s disciple in Dubai ever apologize to Todd Wilhelm for the 9Marxist church discipline he endured?

    How can you apologize when your Doctrine is Correct and not only Have You Done No Wrong, You Can Do No Wrong?

  130. Lydia wrote:

    @ Jeffrey Chalmers:
    First it has to be defined with specifics. You need a decoder ring when it comes to these discussions with Neo Cals and their fellow travellers. How on earth do we go from 1 Corin 5 to a molested child being the same sinner as their molester?

    My Dear Wormwood,
    I refer you to my previous epistle on Semantics — specifically, the redefinition of words into their diabolical meanings.
    Your Ravenously Affectionate Uncle,
    Screwtape

  131. Anonymous wrote:

    The solution to the discipline woes of 9 Marks churches lies in the recognition of the proper bounds of church authority. Once that is corrected, there may still be church discipline horror stories, but they will be fewer.

    ISTM that the solution to the discipline woes of 9Marx groups and similar is much more radical, and lies in the scrapping of the bounds of “local church” authority as they are currently understood. Thence, holding all of these self-governing, law-unto-themselves groups accountable to the full, true, local church: all of the believers in a locality. That way we would all have to learn to “submit” to people we haven’t appointed, might not agree with, and who have no less or more mandate than we do ourselves.

    But, says a voice from the back, that’s not possible any more. It would take an unrealistic “miracle”.

    Well, duh. Of course it would take a ******* miracle. It has never taken anything less to build the Church. It began with a string of implausible miracles (the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus; the pouring out of the Holy Spirit into human beings). The stupidity – if I may be blunt – lies in believing a “church” can be built by anything less: a doctrinal basis, membership covenants, a shared taste in music or liturgy or tradition – or whatever.

  132. This whole issue regarding church discipline within an authoritarian church I find interesting. These YRR folks believe they are going back to the glory days of earlier times in enforcing earlier standards of church discipline. Earlier times weren’t so glorious, nor are present abusive standards so praiseworthy. A church that really prides itself in church discipline are the Churches of Christ. A Church of Christ member’s wife left him for an adulterous affair. The member didn’t inform the church about this painful matter. He was excommunicated and shunned and the adulterous ex wife didn’t receive a censor. A couple I know were excommunicated from a Church of Christ because they were hadn’t been attending this Church of Christ for awhile so church discipline proceeding were started. Guess what? The reason the couple hadn’t been attending church was because they had moved to another community and were attending another Church of Christ. Church discipline, nay harassment and intrusiveness, at its most glorious.

  133. @ Mark:
    They have Romanticised the Puritans and the Reformation. They ignore the evil, bloody parts that came with the authoritarian church state mentality. What they really long for is a variation of the Divine right of Kings– Puritan style. Leeman claims Jesus is totalitarian like the old Soviet Union. Nope. Leeman and Dever are.

    There can be no relationship with a totalitarian. Only obedience. Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden light.

  134. Christiane wrote:

    I just wanted to say they weren’t your ‘friends’ if the condition was that all a ‘pastor’ and his cronies had to do was malign you for them to abandon you… The best friends you can have are those people who want what is good for you for your sake, and who don’t have any gain out of it for themselves or for any agenda…Pray for them. They need your prayers. Likely, in time, they will turn on one another.

    Thanks for your wise and comforting words. I certainly learned, hindsight is 20/20, not to put all of my *friendship eggs* in one basket, a church like this NeoCal church. I would call my ex-NeoCal/9Marx/John MacArthur-ite church a cult and a high demand cult. All of our free time was spent on church activities, groups, socializing. My ex-senior pastor actually screamed at me demanding to know why I hadn’t been to a Bible study in another member’s home and what was my ‘excuse’? Me: “I work and I commute. I’m not home in time.”

    The pastors/elders are master manipulators, master liars. They manipulate hundreds of members in closed door meetings after church insisting to all that they had “worked with [name of member being excommunicated] for years to no avail.” They fail to say, “Oh we screamed at Velour, threatened her, ganged up on her four of us to one of her, called her home and threatened her, said she was destined for Hell for having any independent thoughts, and we’ve also done it to others. That’s what our ‘counsel’ consists of: bullying sessions.”

    There are good people stuck in that church and I will pray for them. Many of them were duped. Young engineers who are graduates from U.C.L.A. came to Silicon Valley for high tech jobs. They started attending this church. Then they invited their fellow U.C.L.A. graduates who moved North for jobs. Ditto U.C. San Diego graduates. Stanford University undergraduates and graduate students (a local, elite university).

    I miss my friends whose little boy is a pre-schooler who has had major cancer/tumor surgery at Children’s Hospital and chemo. I used to help them all of the time and we were very close. They have moved out of the area but don’t communicate with me any more, even if I email them. Their son has had a reoccurrence of cancer.

    Whenever I was gone for anything they used to come up and wrap their arms around me and cry. And now, they shun me.

    I really think that 9Marks should be added to the cult warning database over at Steve Hassan’s website. (He is a therapist, ex-cult member, author, and knows about mind control of groups.) https://www.freedomofmind.com/Info/list.php

    I think other groups like it – these NeoCal churches (John MacArthur’s The Master’s College and The Master’s Seminary should also be entered).

    I will pray for my ex-church members. We all got trapped. None of us were told the truth. I apologized to the doctor and his wife, he was excommunicated and is in his 70s, after I was excommunicated. They told me that I was the ONLY former church member to contact them and to apologize. I said that I always knew it was lies. I knew him, I knew his character, and I knew they were lying. There was no charge they could bring against him. None. He had done no wrong.

  135. I have practiced biblical church discipline through the years. It is most biblical but can certainly be abused. I also employed a membership covenant. In my case, I saw it as a means of control. I learned that it is not up to me to control individuals. If I were to serve again, I would give every new family a Bible and say, “here is our church covenant.” “be here on Sunday and we will explain it. That’s all you really need!

  136. Amen

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    @ Jeffrey Chalmers:
    First it has to be defined with specifics. You need a decoder ring when it comes to these discussions with Neo Cals and their fellow travellers. How on earth do we go from 1 Corin 5 to a molested child being the same sinner as their molester?
    My Dear Wormwood,
    I refer you to my previous epistle on Semantics — specifically, the redefinition of words into their diabolical meanings.
    Your Ravenously Affectionate Uncle,
    Screwtape

  137. Mark wrote:

    discipline, nay harassment and intrusiveness, at its most glorious.

    And here in lies the rub. How much of my private life does my fellow pew sitters need to know? What I say may used against me. Willa Appelt wrote a great book called “Cults in America” – confession, keeping the people busy, constant criticism and reporting on one another – all hallmarks of mind control. And it has nothing to do with intelligence or education. Anyone can fall prey.
    There is NO need for church discipline. It’s a slippery slope. You want to be my friend and warn me if you see me say, drinking too much or you notice depression and are genuinely concerned, I’m cool with that but dare to judge me based on the books I read, my personal thoughts, my sexuality, the friends I hang out with then get stuffed. I probably wouldn’t want to go to heaven with them anyway. An eternity with Leever or Devmann or whatever moniker you want to call them? No thanks, I’ll stick with my friends.
    I’m too lazy to look it up right now but there’s something about planks and eyes and looking at your brother.

  138. Law Prof wrote:

    Jesus which shows up in your life, not an intellectual acknowledgment. Something happens that cannot easily be put into words when you come to that faith, you come to know that he meant exactly what he said when he claimed to be the only way.

    Maybe this is why I’m having a hard time getting fully invested. I’ve never had this happen. Closest I had to a religious experience was a drunken encounter with an elk in Banff National Park (I was drunk, the elk may or may not have been).

  139. Jack wrote:

    An eternity with Leever or Devmann or whatever moniker you want to call them?

    How does DeveL. sound for a moniker?
    …… just a random thought.

  140. Jack wrote:

    And here in lies the rub. How much of my private life does my fellow pew sitters need to know? What I say may used against me.

    I learned at my ex-NeoCal church that the prayers we wrote on the back of cards the pastors/elders would later use the information against church members. I won’t be telling a church again my information, unless I tell them face to face and know them to be honest, gentle, kind, and trustworthy.

    I was required by my ex-Neo Cal/9Marx/John MacArthur-ite senior pastor to get rid of an Italian cross in my living room that offended a retired church member (she had negative opinions about everything) and she was a friend of the senior pastor’s. I wish I had left that bizarre church then. The Italian cross was a birthday gift, costs hundreds of dollars, I’d had it for years, and it’s beautiful art work. (I never went in to their homes and told them to get rid of anything, let alone their birthday gifts.)

    When I declined to give my personal, private information to another middle aged woman church member (Adult Child of an Alcoholic, Codependent, no boundaries) and said that was “personal and private and I don’t share that”, I wasn’t respected.
    I was subjected to her temper tantrums that I didn’t “trust her”. She then went to the senior pastor and chairman of the elder board who demanded meetings with me to “explain [my]self”. I refused. (Ex-church members said that bizarre, boundaryless woman did the same thing to them.)

    I got weary of the hate too. The constant denigrating of gays. I don’t identify. One of my bosses is gay and is one of the nicest supervisors I have had in my entire working career. He’s a lot nicer than ANY of the NeoCal pastors/elders that I had and a lot of small-minded people I went to church with. I’d get fired from my job for talking the way those church members did, and I simply don’t want to. It’s hateful and low-class.

  141. Lea wrote:

    This is surreal. I used to attend CHBC (apparently while Dever was a pastor if not head pastor?) and I remember his sermons being good. Nothing weird about them. I wonder now if they or his views changed over the years.

    I’ve had this experience with some popular Christian teachers, only to go back and listen to some messages and realize it was me who changed- I grew in the depth of my understanding to where I could see loads of b.s. I had not been aware of before.

  142. It seems like there needs to be a new saying, “Those who don’t understand church history are doomed to repeat it.”

  143. BL wrote:

    absurd.

    Following are several direct quotes:

    “Step 5: Christians emulate Christ’s example by submitting to one another physically, socially, affectionately, financially, vocationally, ethically, and spiritually. “

    Keep in mind as you read the following quotes that Lehman uses slight-of-noun by switching “one another” to “local church” as he explains further…

    ” Publicly

    Christians should submit to their local churches publicly, by which I mean formally or officially.

    Notice that “one another” transmogrifies to “local churches”?

    He goes on:

    ” Physically and Geographically

    Christians should submit to their local churches physically and perhaps geographically. ”

    ” Socially

    One of the purposes of submitting physically and perhaps geographically to a local church is the opportunity to submit oneself socially.”

    ” Affectionately

    One component of friendship, of course, is the sharing of affections, and one more way that Christians are called to submit to the local church is through submitting their affections to one another.“

    Notice Lehman has again changed “one another” to “local church”?

    ” Financially

    Christians should submit to their local churches financially.”

    Taking Lehman’s view at face value – the “local church” replaces “one anothers” AND the “local church” replaces God.

    Here’s another choice quote:

    “Jesus is a totalitarian. He’s not some monarch of old who overtaxes the peasants to build his castle. He’s like the old Soviet state that wanted to get inside people’s heads and change the very way they think, calling submission to their doctrine “freedom.” Their claim was total, and so is his.

    That’s what Jesus means when he tells us that we must be like a seed that goes into the ground and dies, or that we must be born again, or that we must take up our cross and follow him. We become free when the truth of him become our internal operating principle—our affections, motivations, desires, and worship.”

    “We *become* free says Lehman.

    It is absolutely mind blowing that any thinking adult would willingly submit himself to this! I’ve been reading the Bible for 40 years and I would never have drawn any of this out of it. How do they keep a straight face while they say these things?

    “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.” !!

    And, I’m sorry, but these churches are men, they are mere men. They are NOT God. They do not stand in the place of God. They are sinners just the same as you and me. They have no legitimate authority over anyone but themselves.

  144. Velour wrote:

    I learned at my ex-NeoCal church that the prayers we wrote on the back of cards the pastors/elders would later use the information against church members. I won’t be telling a church again my information, unless I tell them face to face and know them to be honest, gentle, kind, and trustworthy.

    The pastor of the church I used to go to kept a card file with any dirt he dug up on members of the church. When he met people in the community who knew a member of the church, he would actually ask questions about them, and see if he could come up with any juicy tidbits to put it in file.

    Run from people like this.

  145. John wrote:

    If I were to serve again, I would give every new family a Bible and say, “here is our church covenant.” “be here on Sunday and we will explain it. That’s all you really need!

    Amen! Thank you!

  146. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    And to piggyback on my own comment, I remain baffled at the number of people who fall for the mindless rhetoric pumped out by this crowd. I mean, you really have to be a mindless drone to even give their ideas the time of day.

    I cannot understand it.

    The simple antidote, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”

    Is it really that unusual for Christians to check what they’re being taught against the Bible? Am I that out of step with the mainstream because I do this?

  147. siteseer wrote:

    It is absolutely mind blowing that any thinking adult would willingly submit himself to this! I’ve been reading the Bible for 40 years and I would never have drawn any of this out of it. How do they keep a straight face while they say these things?

    Oh but it gets even better. The 9Marxist pastors/elders (John MacArthur-ite too) somberly tell church members that the leaders “will have to give an account to God for your souls”, and so you must obey and submit to your pastors/elders in all things. If you question a pastor/elder you are told that you are “bringing an accusation against an elder without cause” and that you can only do so
    if you have “two witnesses”.

    They are (proudly) manipulative.

  148. js wrote:

    I believe 9Marks is popular because theologically conservative Christians see a moral slide in the broader culture that is also in the church and they know a laisse faire approach to church life will not result in the faithfulness to God which should characterize His people. They also see some examples of church discipline in the Bible and want to be faithful to what they see there.

    The Holy Spirit is capable of causing growth and faithfulness in the believer’s life. There are no rules or methods or authorities or groups that can accomplish what only the Spirit’s job is. If people want to be faithful, they should begin by “showing themselves approved, workers who do not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” Placing human beings in authority over themselves cannot bring about spiritual growth and it can’t guarantee anything.

    It is a mistake in judgment, I believe, to think that ‘church life’ has anything more to impart than a chance to meet and fellowship with others who (supposedly) believe as you do. We all yearn for that safe place of belonging where everything is right and everyone’s motives are pure and everyone subscribes to the same values. There is no such place in this world! Those who expect it are leaving themselves open to betrayal and disillusionment. Christ is only found in Christ.

  149. siteseer wrote:

    The Holy Spirit is capable of causing growth and faithfulness in the believer’s life. There are no rules or methods or authorities or groups that can accomplish what only the Spirit’s job is. If people want to be faithful, they should begin by “showing themselves approved, workers who do not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” Placing human beings in authority over themselves cannot bring about spiritual growth and it can’t guarantee anything.

    This.

    Yes, Membership Covenants are supposed to take the place of the Holy Spirit in believers’ lives at these authoritarian 9Marxist churches and others like it.
    Elder-led is also supposed to take the role of the Holy Spirit in believers lives and to usurp that as well as the “priesthood of all believers” that would come about by a congregational vote. A congregational vote doesn’t protect from all abuses, but it can certainly be used to get rid of bad actors in leadership.

  150. @ Jack:

    Law Prof wrote: “Jesus which shows up in your life, not an intellectual acknowledgment. Something happens that cannot easily be put into words when you come to that faith, you come to know that he meant exactly what he said when he claimed to be the only way.”

    Jack wrote: “Maybe this is why I’m having a hard time getting fully invested. I’ve never had this happen.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    never really happened to me, either. there aren’t recipes for these things. and if one does happen to follow a spiritual recipe, what comes out of the oven may not be exactly what is expected.

    one of the best Christian persons I know doesn’t ever recall ever ‘asking jesus into his heart’ (i’m so sick of that terminology). but knowing God/Jesus/HolySpirit just sort of happened over time. you know, that word ‘osmosis’.

    I reckon no 2 spiritual journeys are the same.

    *the more someone insists that people do spirituality by ‘this’ method, & ‘this’ procedure, which will lead to a result that looks like ‘this’, the more I’m repelled (and the more I think God is repelled from interacting in any of their lives).

    (*no one’s doing this here at TWW in my opinion, by the way)

  151. Velour wrote:

    The 9Marxist pastors/elders (John MacArthur-ite too) somberly tell church members that the leaders “will have to give an account to God for your souls”,

    Can someone explain this to me? I hear something similar from comps that the husband is accountable for God or the husband will have to account, etc. I thought that when we die and stand before God, we’re judged as blameless if we follow Christ (his sacrifice takes away our sins, etc.). So, how can a believer be held accountable? Now, this assumes that a person is a true believer and acts that way. Obviously an unrepentent murderer or pedophile is held accountable, but would an unrepentent person like that be a real believer anyway? I don’t think so.

  152. @ Patriciamc:

    It’s all done with smoke and mirrors. Thing is though, many of them sincerely believe that this is what the Bible ‘teaches’, and that’s their right and privilege. Over the years I have found that Bible ‘teaching’ is a very subjective dynamic and depends largely on a teacher and teachee relationship, which tends to be very authoritarian in fundagelical circles.
    Much of stuff I believed without question many years ago is at present, no longer valid for me when examined under my own ‘Berean’ scrutiny.

  153. John wrote:

    If I were to serve again, I would give every new family a Bible and say, “here is our church covenant.” “be here on Sunday and we will explain it. That’s all you really need!

    And when somebody doesn’t come up with the same conclusions? What then?

  154. @ Patriciamc:

    from Hebrews 13:

    17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

    ….I don’t know what to make of it exactly, other than it can be embraced to ridiculous proportions in a hyper fear of having to be absolutely air-tight. such ‘rulers’ (or pastors) have a hard time sleeping at night, the pressure from being responsible for every life choice each of their congregants makes is just too much.

    or else it’s simply being given a Controller’s License, issued by God himself. (& monkeys flew out of my butt) (as Wayne would say from Wayne’s World).

    such a weird, crazy, unhealthy co-dependent thing kicks in, between pastor and congregant. it’s miserable for all.

  155. Patriciamc wrote:

    Can someone explain this to me? I hear something similar from comps that the husband is accountable for God or the husband will have to account, etc. I thought that when we die and stand before God, we’re judged as blameless if we follow Christ (his sacrifice takes away our sins, etc.). So, how can a believer be held accountable?

    Some things to research in Scripture might be ‘judgement seat’ and ‘reward’ and “treasures in heaven.”

    For example Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:

    10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.

    11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

    12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,

    13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.

    14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.

    15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved–even though only as one escaping through the flames.

    Matthew 6:19

    ” “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

  156. Patriciamc wrote:

    Can someone explain this to me? I hear something similar from comps that the husband is accountable for God or the husband will have to account, etc

    I can’t locate any Scriptural support for the assertion that the husband is accountable to God for the wife. Except some who teach this refer back to Genesis.

    The Scripture used to support the assertions that leaders will give an account is Hebrews 13:7.

    “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

  157. BL wrote:

    as those who will give an account

    Hmmm. An account for what?

    an account for what they themselves do and how the handled their job/calling responsibly?

    an account for what other people do and whether other people did what they were told to do by said leader?

    Two very different ideas.

  158. Muff Potter wrote:

    John wrote:

    If I were to serve again, I would give every new family a Bible and say, “here is our church covenant.” “be here on Sunday and we will explain it. That’s all you really need!

    And when somebody doesn’t come up with the same conclusions? What then? They are free to disagree with the teachings.

  159. John wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:
    John wrote:
    If I were to serve again, I would give every new family a Bible and say, “here is our church covenant.” “be here on Sunday and we will explain it. That’s all you really need!
    And when somebody doesn’t come up with the same conclusions? What then? They are free to disagree with the teachings.

    Ideally, when two, or more, people disagree, they should simply agree that they disagree amicably and move on. ……… Share commonalities and peacefully debate differences, but do not give ultimatums to one another. I can do my thing, you can do your thing, and we can meet in the middle. The problem is, too many people think/say, ” You must believe what I believe 100%, or you’re a heretic!”

  160. All,

    Here is Pastor Wade Burleson’s blog about the rising level of authoritarianism in our churches. http://www.wadeburleson.org/2012/01/our-problem-is-authoritarianism-and-not.html

    (Wade is the pastor for the TWW’s E-Church here on Sundays that Deb puts together.)

    His father Paul Burleson, also a pastor, responded to another person’s comment about this subject on the article:

    “I’m not Wade and won’t attempt to speak for him in any fashion, but, my thoughts are that the Syntax, tense, voice, and mood of “peitho” in Hebrews 13:17 all shed light on the meaning of the author’s command to obey the leadership and it gives a far different understanding than is commonly talked about today.

    The language indicates the submission of a believer is a result of an inner persuasion and not dictation or fear. Their obedience was not to be blind obedience, but a submission that comes by a thoughtful observance of those who are in leadership.”

  161. Velour wrote:

    The 9Marxist pastors/elders (John MacArthur-ite too) somberly tell church members that the leaders “will have to give an account to God for your souls”

    okrapod wrote:

    You have said, in other words, how can one be held accountable in the judgment if the doctrine of imputed righteousness is correct.

    I’ve heard clergy accountability called “cure [old term for care] of the soul.” The pastor is to minister to the flock: to serve it, feed it, protect it, teach it, understand it, comfort and love it–not to beat the flock into submission.

    At least, that’s what I hope God will be asking about.

  162. Nancy2 wrote:

    Share commonalities and peacefully debate differences

    Love this, Nancy! I’m of the opinion that since the Bible is living and active and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart, it’s a reasonable conclusion that not all thoughts and intentions of the hearts of individuals are identical. It’s very personal in application. Otherwise we are looking at a legal handbook rather than one that enables us to draw near with confidence to the throne of grace.

  163. Gratitude

    I simply want to thank everyone at TWW, and especially in this discussion, for sincere and thoughtful conversation. It so happens that I’m having a hectic week, but all day I’ve been thinking about the responses to this topic, and my heart has just been singing. I truly believe that these conversations are healing the Body of Christ.

  164. okrapod wrote:

    Hmmm. An account for what?

    an account for what they themselves do and how the handled their job/calling responsibly?

    an account for what other people do and whether other people did what they were told to do by said leader?

    Two very different ideas.

    Yes, they are.

    The idea that leaders will be held accountable for the sin of their followers goes against the overall view of sin and responsibility in Scripture.

    The idea that followers will not be held accountable for sins if they were being obedient to their leaders also goes against the overall view of sin and responsibility in Scripture.

    Ezekiel 33 describes the responsibility of those who God may use to speak to His people.

    If they speak what God has told them to speak – and the people who do not take heed? Then those who did not take heed are held responsible for failing to do so, the speaker does NOT bear any responsibility.

    If they choose to NOT speak what God has told them to speak – leaving the people without the chance to know what God wanted to be heard, then he/she who should have spoken DOES bear responsibility.

    So, IMO, there is some nuance that the authoritarians are missing here.

    It’s a case of using a singular verse and interpreting it in a way that increases their claim to their authority and their claim to your submission and obedience.

    Got to do what we tell you to do – or God is going to get US!

    Yeah, that one doesn’t make any sense.

  165. Friend wrote:

    Were you looking in I Wikipedia or II Wikipedia, or the Epistle of Paul to the
    Wikipedians?

    That would be two wikipedia. Vote for me for the nominee.

  166. BL wrote:

    It’s a case of using a singular verse and interpreting it in a way that increases their claim to their authority and their claim to your submission and obedience.
    Got to do what we tell you to do – or God is going to get US!

    At which point, they’re Kapos in the KZ.
    Staying alive & useful by helping shove other prisoners into the ovens.

  167. JYJames wrote:

    In reading the links about church discipline, does not 1 Corinthians 5 give a list regarding sin that requires church discipline or social restrictions within the church? However, is there any church or church network that takes this list seriously?

    The list in I Corinthians 5 was assigned to Hurit. Unbelievable.
    Brock was the drunkard, abuser, slanderer, porn addict… what a twist!

  168. Nancy2 wrote:

    The problem is, too many people think/say, ” You must believe what I believe 100%, or you’re a heretic!”

    I know it well. I was a Calvary Chapel bobble-head for the better part of two decades.

  169. Velour wrote:

    Oh but it gets even better. The 9Marxist pastors/elders (John MacArthur-ite too) somberly tell church members that the leaders “will have to give an account to God for your souls”, and so you must obey and submit to your pastors/elders in all things.

    Given what some of these Pastors(TM) and Elders(TM) are like and what they’ve been doing, maybe you’d want to get them in trouble on J-Day.

  170. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    At which point, they’re Kapos in the KZ.
    Staying alive & useful by helping shove other prisoners into the ovens.

    Don’t worry, I’m not coming back; but an analogy between prisoners in a concentration camp (KZ) who were recruited to bully other prisoners on behalf of the SS and authoritarian pastors and elders is beyond belief. Words fail. I can think of no possible justification for such a comparison. It belittles the suffering in such camps, and is entirely inappropriate.

    I’ve been to more than one KZ, and could in all conscience not fail to register a protest about such an analogy, all the more so in view of the context in which it appears.

  171. I understand this blogs intent with addressing issues of church discipline and I am posting this because another concern. The only refuge in California, New Jersey, Oregon, and now Illinois is that if a child has been sexually abused in church and is struggling with issues of homosexuality as a result, a professional counselor cannot counsel them or else they will lose their license. The state laws are not placed on church elders in those states respect of addressing this should they seek counseling. The professional counselors are out of luck in helping. Please pray in respect to these laws. They are not even Rogerian in the attempts of respecting a client’s rights, thus they are getting it from both ends of the spectrum in terms of trying to receive some sort of intervention should they want it.

  172. Glenn wrote:

    I understand this blogs intent with addressing issues of church discipline and I am posting this because another concern. The only refuge in California, New Jersey, Oregon, and now Illinois is that if a child has been sexually abused in church and is struggling with issues of homosexuality as a result, a professional counselor cannot counsel them or else they will lose their license. The state laws are not placed on church elders in those states respect of addressing this should they seek counseling. The professional counselors are out of luck in helping. Please pray in respect to these laws. They are not even Rogerian in the attempts of respecting a client’s rights, thus they are getting it from both ends of the spectrum in terms of trying to receive some sort of intervention should they want it.

    Are you saying that in some states professional counselors (state certified) cannot help sexual abuse victims that were abused in church settings? I’m unclear as to what you are saying.