Mortification of Spin Hosts Discuss Abusive Pulpits on Bully Pulpit Broadcast

"This has done incalculable damage to ordinary Christians, not only those who've been abused but those who quite frankly get sick of the cover-ups and sick of the self-serving rhetoric at the top. I can understand why people drift away from the reformed faith on this score, and that's why I think the leaders need to take more responsibility… We're trying to make the point that our faith is being damaged by the need to preserve certain organizations and certain ministries. That's a problem."

Carl Trueman

http://www.alliancenet.org/mos/podcast/bully-pulpit-abusive-pulpits#.VxgHaj-XtFXMOS Logo – Screen Shot

In the wake of all the hoopla surrounding last week's Together for the Gospel conference, we are overjoyed that a few brave souls have dared to take on 'the Calvinista establishment' in a very public way.  More on that in a moment… 

It was exactly 85 months ago yesterday that Dee called me and exclaimed:

"If we don't start this blog RIGHT NOW, I fear we're gonna be swallowed up by a BIG FISH." 

It startled both of us into action.  Although neither of us had a clue about blogging, we acted on faith and launched The Wartburg Watch.  We've come a long way since then, but our earliest posts demonstrate that we at least had a basic understanding of what was occurring in the conservative corners of Christendom.  Here are our first few posts should you care check them out.  They are so short that it will take mere minutes to read them. 

Who Highjacked My Church?

Patriarchy and Authoritarianism — Biblical Responses to Feminism?

Pedophilia, Domestic Violence, and Tom Foolery

We have poured our lives into this endeavor and consider TWW to be our ministry to the disillusioned and downtrodden.  In recent days, we have been accused of unjustly focusing our attention on the Young, Restless, and Reformed, whom we call "Calvinistas".  Hey, if the YRR crowd can make up words like 'complementarian', so can we.  🙂 

While our posts have covered quite an array of topics (just check out our categories section), we readily admit that we have devoted a considerable amount of time to the Calvinistas (Neo-Reformed).  And why is that?  Because the Calvinistas have been shouting from the rooftops, pulpits, and websites LOOK AT US, LOOK AT US!  It took a while for them to get our attention (2009), but now are taking notice and weighing in on what we are seeing.  As it turns out, the BIG FISH Dee was worried about is the Neo-Cal movement, although she didn't realize it at the time she made that statement.

It's been ten years since the first Together for the Gospel gathering in Louisville, and even though the Fab Four were able to attract 10,000 participants, there are some serious problems in the movement.  The elephants in the room have been ignored for way too long, and we are grateful that at least a few Reformed individuals have these behemoths in clear view.

In case you aren't aware, three brave souls  — Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt, and Aimee Byrd — have dared to take on 'the establishment' by addressing problems they perceive with those whom we call Calvinistas.  They share their concerns on their Mortification of Spin broadcast, which can be heard on the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals website.  Their latest Bully Pulpit installment addresses Abusive Pulpits.  Here are the highlights: link

1.  Carl Trueman explained that he recently visited the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) website, and he thought it had been hacked.  He soon realized that a post entitled Soap Bubbles Submission by Martha Peace was in fact legit.  Who is Martha Peace?  Although CBMW doesn't provide a bio to accompany the post, it appears she is a colleague of Jay Adams and serves on the faculty of the Institute for Nouthetic Studies.  She and her husband have been married since 1966, and we find it highly disturbing that this older woman would be providing such ridiculous instruction to younger women.  Recently, Dee weighed in on CBMW's Soap Bubbles post.  Dee wrote: 

"If I were her friend, I would be concerned about her well being."

And yet this woman appears to be teaching others Nouthetic/Biblical Counseling?  What a scary thought!!!  Here is Carl Trueman's candid reaction to Soap Bubbles Submission:

"I think in my own home if I did that with my wife I hope that you would all come and visit me in [the] hospital while I was recovering."

Carl challenged husbands to try this at home and when they get out of the hospital send them an email and let them know how long it took for them to recover. 

I loved how this segment was followed up with a rendition of Desperado

2.  Todd Pruitt addressed child sexual abuse within the church.  He said it's not just a Catholic problem — it's a Protestant problem.  He then mentioned the Academy Award winning movie Spotlight.  Todd asked:  How do we deal with the public scandal upon our churches in a faithful way?

Carl Trueman responded as follows:

The first thing that one's gotta draw out of this is when we're dealing with pastors and elders, we're not dealing with legal burden of proof.  You don't have to be found not guilty in a court of law to be totally compromised as a church leader on this.  1 Timothy 3:7 gives that qualification, moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders so that he may not fall into disgrace and to a snare of the devil.  Well thought of by outsiders.  Somebody of good reputation.  And somebody of good reputation – that's above and beyond legal definitions of proof such that I think if there is a reasonable suspicion that something bad has gone down and somebody may be connected to it, that's enough to disqualify you. 

There are always gossips out there; there are malicious people who spread vicious rumors, but some of the recent cases of allegations of child abuse in the Protestant evangelical church are not just malicious rumors, and when lawsuits get dismissed on technicalities, that's a problem.  When allegations are made that could be easy to refute such as the acceptance of vacations or money or whatever, that could be easy to refute if they're not true and they are not refuted, then I think reputations are publicly tarnished in a way that puts you in the crosshairs of 1 Timothy 3:7. 

Todd Pruitt said that he doesn't want to give credibility to slanderers, we know they're out there.  If you've been in ministry long enough we know that sometimes there's smoke where there isn't fire, but we also have common sense.  Todd further stated:

If a man's reputation is so tarnished by reasonable accusations, he needs to really consider whether or not he's able to fulfill the requirements in 2 Timothy and in Titus.  And I know that that can be a bit murky, I know that, and I know that there are slanderers.  But goodness, when somebody's ministry in life is haunted with lawsuits and years worth of scandals and accusations…

Aimee Byrd said that when this isn't dealt with openly and isn't communicated well, there is mystery and wondering whether other children have been sexually abused.

Here is how this matter is addressed in the Mortification of Spin post (see screen shot below). 

http://www.alliancenet.org/mos/podcast/39712

Todd Pruitt said that one of the things that every overseer has to take into account is as his reputation goes, so goes the reputation of Christ, and he doesn't want to tarnish the name of Christ or the reputation of His church.  He explained that there came a time in Jesus' ministry and the Apostles' ministry where they lost the favor of outsiders, but it was because of the Gospel, not because they were continually hounded by charges of child sexual abuse, and that's a BIG difference.

3.  Carl Trueman then addressed the MONEY issue that we keep hammering here at TWW.  He rightly said:

And I hate to bang the same old drum that I always bang at this point, but lay people need to realize there's big money involved, and some of the high profile cases of guys who survive long after they should not have survived because they are no longer of good reputation, some of those cases connect to money.  It's as simple as that.  Every time I say that I get emails from people saying well give me an example.  Well, it's hard but just open your eyes, just open your eyes and look at the level at which some of these guys are living at.  We're not talking of huge millions and millions of dollars, but we're talking of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In our world we're talking of significant sums of money that are attached to particular names that have become brands, and again I assume that I'll be totally ignored on this one. 

I would remind listeners that pretty much everything I've said about the celebrity culture and evangelicalism and  pretty much everybody I've called out in the last decade I've been proved to be right even though you've all ignored me; that's fine.  But I just want to say the whole big money uber conference circuit depends upon big names.  And the pressure on the one hand to write blog posts about child abuse and then to Tweet stuff protecting people who have been pulled into those kind of scandals, that's HUGE, it's HUGE because it plays to the gallery on the one hand that you look care and concerning, but when it comes down to brass tacks, you're really not doing the evangelical movement any favors at all.

The concluding part of the broadcast was also spot on.  Todd, Carl, and Aimee made some excellent points such as:

– An event or project may have been wonderful for a time, but when people's livelihood is connected to it and you have to protect it, that's when it's a problem. 

– The money has gotten so big from a lot of these peripheral organization that names become indispensable to the economy of evangelicalism, and that's a real problem. 

– For a Gospel that is all about repentance, grace, mercy, and forgiveness, it shows you how strong sin is. 

– The message we hear is so different from the actions we are seeing.  Christianity is a life of repentance.

Near the conclusion Todd Pruitt implored ministry leaders and well known evangelicals to sit and talk with some of the victims of child sexual abuse and with some of the parents and to empathize with the horrors they have experienced. 

Carl Trueman expressed his frustration in reading statements where you get 2 or 3 lines of throat clearing about child sexual abuse and what they should have done and then 36 pages of how the devil is using this to destroy some good man's ministry.  Finally, Carl made this important statement toward the end of the discussion:

This has done incalculable damage to ordinary Christians, not only those who've been abused but those who quite frankly get sick of the cover-ups and sick of the self-serving rhetoric at the top.  I can understand why people drift away from the reformed faith on this score, and that's why I think the leaders need to take more responsibility…  We're trying to make the point that our faith is being damaged by the need to preserve certain organizations and certain ministries.  That's a problem.

Please be sure to listen to the 20-minute broadcast. You will definitely be encouraged!  And please pray for those who have been hurt in abusive ministries.  May they find peace, comfort, and healing in the days ahead.

Comments

Mortification of Spin Hosts Discuss Abusive Pulpits on Bully Pulpit Broadcast — 531 Comments

  1. So I’m assuming, here, that Carl Trueman is taking back his previous support of CJ being cleared and fit for a return to ministry?

  2. And third. Bouts of severe insomnia definitely are aggravating, but I might decide to read here instead of toss and turn, and then I have something to concentrate on that’s bigger than myself. Thank you for covering this. There are promising signs that the days of shushing are numbered. May the trend increase. (And I loved the freshly hatched baby bluebird pic, by the way!)

  3. (Waves to fellow insomniacs)
    It seems to me that blogs like TWW are the contemporary version of Woodward and Bernstein. I rarely post but really appreciate the blog’s mission and the virtual community it has created.
    I live just north of Danvers MA, ground zero for CBMW (as in “Danvers Statement”).

  4. It is absolutely huge that this respected trio within the neo-Cal world have so boldly and bluntly addressed the travesty of T4G allowing Mahaney to speak at their conference.

    I believe Mohler and Mahaney have overplayed their hand. The charade is over, the game is up.

    Church members, if your pastor attended T4G, and especially if he attended on the church’s dime, need to have a serious church-wide discussion with their pastor. It is time to end these Christian celebrity worship fests.

  5. Wow! They are clearly referring to SGM, CJ Mahaney, T4G, and probably TGC, without mentioning them by name. Yes, it could have gone a lot further, and I believe the complementarian theology is abusive in itself and also enables abuse, but it is amazing that they have spoken out in this way.

  6. Very very interesting. I had to laugh at Carl Trueman's imagined result of a soap bubble event in his home.

    The cynic in me thinks there's more to all this. Didn't Carl Trueman basically say Mahaney had no case to answer earlier? Has he changed his tune now or was his earlier statement at odds with his true opinion?  *ponders*

  7. Thank you for preparing and sharing this article, Deb, and thank you to Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt, and Aimee Byrd for your courage in taking a stand for protecting everyday disciples from harmful people and practices. I find it encouraging indeed to see that there is a “loyal opposition” contingent within the Reformed ranks who offer self-critique, because the excessively authoritarian YRR/Neo-Calvinist/Neo-Puritan movement has come to look like a “fifth column” within the Reformed stream of Christianity.

    A couple of thoughts sparked by the post.

    First, the recent Baptist News article by Bob Allen on “C.J. Mahaney says churches should defend their pastors” came to mind as I thought about what these three Reformers were protesting. Whereas Mr. Mahaney seems to demand unconditional trust in and respect for himself and others pastors purely based on their professional position, these three are restating what we know from Scripture, that trustworthiness and reputation are earned through consistency in personal character — and the reputation in the community of a church or denomination is judged by the lives of the leaders.

    https://baptistnews.com/2016/04/18/c-j-mahaney-says-churches-should-defend-their-pastors/

    This ties in with core concepts in Presence, a book by Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy, who says people judge you within seconds of first meeting you, based on two criteria:

    * Can I trust this person? (Warmth)

    * Can I respect this person? (Competence)

    So much of the institutional Neo-Calvinist “presence” related to Mr. Mahaney comes across as self-protecting, closed-circle, Dude-Bro elitism and not as open, compassionate, or trustworthy.

    And how are we to have respect for the defenders of Mr. Mahaney, when so many of their statements of support prove ill-informed — and some even outright false? Quite a few of the tweets and quips and clips I’ve read in the past weeks are real doozies, and certainly don’t indicate due diligence in even finding out the details of the case. Some seem to believe that Mr. Mahaney’s mere denial of charges in the lawsuit gives sufficient “evidence” of his innocence. Some misbelieve that the courts have already cleared him/SGM by dismissing the initial civil suit in Maryland (and don’t even know that it was based on technical statutes of limitation issues). Some snark at survivors and whistleblowers, as if their allegations are all fabrications, and that exonerates the alleged perpetrators.

    I truly do hope others in leadership roles listen to what these three insiders are saying — for the sake of the Church, its reputation in the community, and the protection of everyday disciples and families.

  8. As a P.S. to my earlier comment, here’s an article about Amy Cuddy’s book, Presence, and a quote I found particularly intriguing:

    “If someone you’re trying to influence doesn’t trust you, you’re not going to get very far; in fact, you might even elicit suspicion because you come across as manipulative,” Cuddy says. “A warm, trustworthy person who is also strong elicits admiration, but only after you’ve established trust does your strength become a gift rather than a threat.”

    Trust/trustworthiness is definitely a core issue in the contemporary Reformed stream to wrestle with, and I’m thankful for those who are offering their constructive critiques.

    http://www.businessinsider.com.au/harvard-psychologist-amy-cuddy-how-people-judge-you-2016-1

  9. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    Church members, if your pastor attended T4G, and especially if he attended on the church’s dime, need to have a serious church-wide discussion with their pastor. It is time to end these Christian celebrity worship fests.

    Preach it, Todd! The Gospel Coalition is pushing its Reformation Celebration planned for next April, with two of the Fab Four (Mohler and Duncan) slated to speak.

    Lather, Rinse, Repeat…

  10. Rose wrote:

    So I’m assuming, here, that Carl Trueman is taking back his previous support of CJ being cleared and fit for a return to ministry?

    I have always wondered about Carl Trueman's involvement on the Preliminary Panel that found Mahaney 'fit for ministry' almost five years ago.

    Here is what Trueman, Kevin DeYoung, and Ray Ortlund concluded at that time:

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2011/08/03/is-c-j-mahaney-fit-for-ministry/

    “We do not believe C.J. Mahaney’s confessed sins have disqualified him from Christian ministry. Or to put it positively, from all that we have seen, heard, and read, we believe C.J. Mahaney is, at this moment in time and based on those sins which he has acknowledged, still fit to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a pastor to others.”

    Looks like that statement has been removed from the Sovereign Grace Churches website.

    In the wake of the Morales conviction and the lawsuit (dismissed on a technicality), Trueman has obviously reversed his position 180 degrees. I do wish he would publicly acknowledge this reversal beyond what was stated on yesterday's broadcast.

  11. Deb wrote:

    I have always wondered about Carl Trueman’s involvement on the Preliminary Panel that found Mahaney ‘fit for ministry’ almost five years ago.

    I’ve thought for a long time that what CT probably didn’t realise at the time was how the language around ‘anointing’ functions within a charismatic context and how that language can be used to cut off criticism of leaders.

    So essentially he saw SGM as a kind of chaotically run session-led church with some form of oversight.

  12. Is this perhaps the intro to someone of stature within the NeoCal community finally saying to Al Mohler and CJ Mahaney and their fanboys (think the boys at Pyro–can’t refer to them as men): “Have you no decency, Sirs?”

  13. I listened to that podcast yesterday; I thought it was excellent.

    Also yesterday, courtesy of the Aquila Report, I discovered another blogger doing a series on spiritual abuse within the Reformed world. David Murray, whose site includes the Head Heart Hand blog, is a confessional Presbyterian who is very much a stickler for Reformed theology and church practice. Definitely not YRR, although he probably is complementarian. Between this and his other series critiquing a nouthetic counseling book by Heath Lambert, I’m actually surprised by this guy. I don’t care at all for some of the things he has said about justification and sanctification, but I’m cautiously hopeful that this may be a sign that at least the confessional reformed world is sitting up and taking notice of things happening within parts of the protestant world that claim to be reformed.

  14. Deb wrote:

    I do wish he would publicly acknowledge this reversal beyond what was stated on yesterday’s broadcast.

    What did he state in the podcast, Deb?

    Trueman does not seem to understand that he has been part of the propping up of CJ Mahaney. Why couldn’t these people “who now speak” listen to the many men, women, and children who were speaking up five years ago when all the issues with Mahaney began to be made public? Why did they dismiss these brothers and sisters in Christ so easily . . . was it because they were lowly, not leaders, too loud and messy?

    I really don’t understand the accolades being given to this threesome today when there are plenty of men and women who have been sounding an alarm for years. There are plenty of men and women (Christian and non Christian) who have paid a heavy price for their nearness to CJ Mahaney and Company. They are the ones who deserve accolades in my book, not Carl, Todd and Aimee.

  15. that soap bubbles thing is hysterical, and surreal. So, does the husband laying down his life for his bride include telling her she missed some suds (as an aside, she must just be bad at washing dishes, how hard is it to spray some extra water to get the suds off:)). Something has dawned on me as to why this crew protects CJ…he’s a useful idiot. He says all of the things that they don’t want to say and he’ll take the heat for it (like how much we should love and protect our pastors).

  16. “Carl Trueman explained that he recently visited the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) website, and he thought it had been hacked”

    It is almost impossible to tell reality from satire anymore.

    You know, I have to apologize to the liberals who have been banging on about evangelical Christians and how all this crazy stuff is being promoted. I honestly thought they were nuts, because I grew up in church and it just wasn’t like this. It wasn’t perfect, but no one ever talked like this. You guys do good work in calling it out.

  17. Lea wrote:

    I honestly thought they were nuts, because I grew up in church and it just wasn’t like this. It wasn’t perfect, but no one ever talked like this. You guys do good work in calling it out.

    Don’t worry. The two of us had rose colored glasses and wonky theological applications in our past as well. We just needed one pedophile situation handled badly in a church to wake us up.

  18. Bridget wrote:

    Trueman does not seem to understand that he has been part of the propping up of CJ Mahaney.

    I would really like to hear him talk about this now. I mean, I could accept a ‘if the facts change I change my mind’ analysis. But, I want to hear it. Otherwise he’s hiding with the rest, really.

    I do think they made a lot of good points. One thing I liked about Pruitt's article the other day was that he pointed out the money, and now trueman is doing the same. I think it would be easier to make people realize not to trust these guys if they get out of the gospel/bible analysis and start thinking about cold hard cash as a motive. Everybody understands that one

  19. @ dee:

    Well, BST (which is UCT + 1) is 5 hours ahead of EST. The timestamp on this comment will be (I assume) around 9:55 am, whereas it’s 14:55 in Scotland the noo – and very sunny, I might add.

    Gus may be… hmm… another hour ahead?

  20. NJ wrote:

    I’m cautiously hopeful that this may be a sign that at least the confessional reformed world is sitting up and taking notice of things happening within parts of the protestant world that claim to be reformed.

    Sometimes it takes years and years of elucidating the issues and speaking for the wounded before it starts to sink in.

  21. dee wrote:

    Deb wrote:
    Lather, Rinse, Repeat…
    Snort!

    So… now, it’s
    Lather, Rinse, Repeat, Snort?

    #confused

  22. dee wrote:

    Don’t worry. The two of us had rose colored glasses and wonky theological applications in our past as well. We just needed one pedophile situation handled badly in a church to wake us up.

    I’m glad you did wake up. I had sort of wandered away from church in adulthood, so maybe I missed the change over too. I kept visiting here and there over the years and was never able to settle on a church. Now I think maybe there is a good reason for that, even if I couldn’t pinpoint it.

  23. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I am currently in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina and it is cloudy but warmish. The azaleas are out. I am at a conference with my husband.

  24. I was so glad Carl, Todd, and Aimee had the backbone to address abusive pulpits. I’m praying people will open their eyes, and close close their wallets to pastors who are only after power and money.

  25. Rose wrote:

    So I’m assuming, here, that Carl Trueman is taking back his previous support of CJ being cleared and fit for a return to ministry?

    This is exactly my concern: if he is pressing forward without being honest about his past associations, this is short-term progress, but ultimately corrupt long-term. Still waiting for some no holds barred honesty and wisdom from evangelicals.

  26. Chris S wrote:

    So essentially he saw SGM as a kind of chaotically run session-led church with some form of oversight.

    I have major issues with the SBC welcoming this guy after the mess he left at SGM. I think it’s very follow the money at this point. Connections everywhere, Dever, Mohler…What a mess.

    BTW, the last church I attended (semi) regularly for a couple years before I stopped attending church regularly? Capitol Hill Baptist. So to see Dever all over this stuff is surreal.

  27. @ dee:
    It’s a beautiful day here in Raleigh – currently 60 degrees and sunny. I was up late working on this post, but I just finished a 3-mile walk with my wonderful hubby.

  28. I really hate the “my wife would kill me/put me in the hospital/six feet under” joking. It plays into the trope of women being volatile, emotionally unstable, and therefore in need of control.

    I’ve heard it most often from comp men who wanted to sound more reasonable.

    CBMW is trolling themselves. Notice he picked a female writer to criticize, though.

    Also, Trueman is free anytime to be more explicit on his withdrawal of support for Mahaney.

  29. Ron Oommen wrote:

    Very very interesting. I had to laugh at Carl Trueman’s imagined result of a soap bubble event in his home.
    The cynic in me thinks there’s more to all this. Didn’t Carl Trueman basically say Mahaney had no case to answer earlier? Has he changed his tune now or was his earlier statement at odds with his true opinion?  *ponders*

    I wonder if enough has finally been exposed that CT actually believes some of the victims. He appears not only to be calling CJM to the mat, but the entire T4G celebrity line-up. Still, I have doubts about his motives.

    Repeated criticism about soap bubbles on my dishes? Well, first I’d try dousing my husband with cold rinse water. If that didn’t help, my husband wouldn’t be in a hospital. I wouldn’t take him there, and he’d be to embarrassed to call anyone else.
    I can just imagine a “Complementarian” man in a hospital bed getting baskets of dish detergent instead of baskets of flowers!

  30. Deb wrote:

    It’s a beautiful day here in Raleigh – currently 60 degrees and sunny. I was up late working on this post, but I just finished a 3-mile walk with my wonderful hubby.

    Stormy and miserable in Kaintuck Territory, but I have flowers coming up in my flower beds, and irises starting to bloom. God is watering them so I don’t have to!
    Oh, it is not “lather, rinse, repeat”. It’s “lather, rinse, repeat rinse, repeat rinse, repeat rinse …….” ( soap bubbles, doncha know!)

  31. Martha Peace is also author of the book “The Excellent Wife,” which has been popular in many reformed circles.

  32. David (Eagle) wrote:

    BTW…here’s my analysis on what happened with Darrin Patrick and The Journey.

    Now you’ve made me quite curious to see the article I assume will be coming eventually from this blog! I do agree with you about the lack of information. It’s all very hush hush. Are they so secretive when they boot church members?

  33. I used to have a fair amount of respect for Trueman until he participated in the whitewash report on CJ. I would really like to hear what his thoughts on that are today. He needs to confront the issue rather than let it fester in the background.

    Trueman’s been speaking out against the religious celebrity culture for quite a while, yet he hasn’t ever called out any practitioners of celebrity fame and money-grubbing in the reformed camp by name.

    In short, I think Trueman’s on the right road, but he’s got a bit further to go to be a more credible critic, but he’s made an excellent start here.

    I’ve sensed for a while that he is being pushed to the side by the celebrity powers that be in the celebrity preacher world because of the previously mild criticisms he has offered and this most recent stand isn’t going to help, but good on him for shining a light into the dark corners of the Calvinistas.

    I’m sure his invitations to join in the Calvinista reindeer games are drying up even further and it’s refreshing to see someone who has resisted their celebrity worship.

  34. Aimee Byrd is a friend and someone I admire greatly for her writing. When she says the emperor has no clothes, the emperor and friends should listen carefully. Not that I think they will, but there are others who will listen to Aimee and Todd and Carl and start to look more closely at what is happening in leadership at CBMW and TGC.

  35. Nancy2 wrote:

    Oh, it is not “lather, rinse, repeat”. It’s “lather, rinse, repeat rinse, repeat rinse, repeat rinse …….” ( soap bubbles, doncha know!)

    Thanks for the gentle correction. 😉

    When I do hand-wash the dishes, I'm gonna have to purge that ridiculous illustration of complementarianism in action from my mind.

  36. Tim wrote:

    but there are others who will listen to Aimee and Todd and Carl and start to look more closely at what is happening in leadership at CBMW and TGC.

    Amen! CBMW, TGC, T4G, et. al. have become ugly caricatures of Christianity.

  37. Deb wrote:

    When I do hand-wash the dishes, I’m gonna have to purge that ridiculous illustration of complementarianism in action from my mind.

    When I read that post all I could think was “Why didn’t he grab a dishtowel and help out?” Then I realized he was helping out in true patriarchal fashion: he pointed out her faults and made sure she knew he was watching her until she got it right.

  38. JeffT wrote:

    Tim wrote:
    but there are others who will listen to Aimee and Todd and Carl and start to look more closely at what is happening in leadership at CBMW and TGC.
    Amen! CBMW, TGC, T4G, et. al. have become ugly caricatures of Christianity.

    Indeed!

  39. @ Tim:

    My husband gets annoyed at me when I assert myself and wash the dishes. That's no joke! I am the cook, and he feels the least he can do is help clean up after we eat.

    In all sincerity, I pity women who are married to comp men. I wouldn't trade my marriage dynamics for theirs for anything in the world.

  40. Wow
    So, now that some members of the Reformed crowd is starting to see the depth of depravity in the YRR, TG4TG, et al, do they make it now true since they are males? Was the corruption, sexual abuse, cover-ups, not real when the Debs talked about, but it now is??

  41. Tim wrote:

    When I read that post all I could think was “Why didn’t he grab a dishtowel and help out?” Then I realized he was helping out in true patriarchal fashion: he pointed out her faults and made sure she knew he was watching her until she got it right.

    A true Doug Wisonite!

  42. Deb wrote:

    My husband gets annoyed at me when I assert myself and wash the dishes. That’s no joke! I am the cook…

    Whereas my apron has

    GET THE F**K OUT OF MY KITCHEN

    stencilled on it.

    I’m not sure whether that makes me a “man-fail” or not. (Not that I give a schist.)

  43. “…. a few brave souls have dared to take on ‘the Calvinista establishment’ in a very public way.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    it’s great that they’ve spoken out.

    brave? are Christians so timid & fragile that it’s become heroic to simply call a spade a spade?

    on the other hand, have organizations like T4G and TGC garnered so much power that to challenge their rotten and scuzzy character is to risk being ruined by them?

    this silly religion of mine is a corrupt freak show.

  44. I lack understanding why Mohler’s comment has not elicited a larger pushback; I teach high school–I would expect that kind of snark from a poorly formed adolescent–not from a seminary president and mentor of future ministers.

    If I were a member of an SBC church, I would seek to have all funds withheld at a denominational level from Mohler’s seminary until he resigns. I have a few former students who will ask me questions regarding spiritual issues after they have gone away from home and been exposed to different church systems than they grew up with. It is amazing how many of them see Piper, especially, from a much wiser viewpoint than in their not so distant earlier years.

    Character does matter to them; the hypocrisy, latent spiritual arrogance and, for lack of a better word, meanness really turns them off. I get to view from a distance the process of disillusionment they undergo, and then the substantive character and faith that results as they figure out who Jesus is, in comparison to the leadership that professes to be what Jesus looks like.

    I have great hope for this next generation–many are without guile.

  45. Deb wrote:

    My husband gets annoyed at me when I assert myself and wash the dishes. That’s no joke! I am the cook, and he feels the least he can do is help clean up after we eat.

    My husband does the dishes sometimes, always does his own laundry and ironing, helps with the home canning, and sweeps the floors – the military trained him well. He can’t boil water without scorching it, but when I was miserably sick, I taught him to make jelly and jam, and cook bacon and eggs.
    He does bring his clothes to me when there is a bad stain or something torn, though. The only stain remover he knows is bleach, and he has no clue what do do with a sewing machine!
    With the health problems I have now, I realize and appreciate how much he has always stepped up to the plate.

  46. @ Jeffrey Chalmers:

    “So, now that some members of the Reformed crowd is starting to see the depth of depravity in the YRR, TG4TG, et al, do they make it now true since they are males? Was the corruption, sexual abuse, cover-ups, not real when the Debs talked about, but it now is??”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    should we expect more from this silly religion and its phallic enchantment?

  47. andrew wrote:

    he’s a useful idiot. He says all of the things that they don’t want to say and he’ll take the heat for it (like how much we should love and protect our pastors).

    Useful idiot. I love that term. I’ve said something similar in regards to others in politics (I’m not referring to the current election.), but have never stated it so well.

  48. dee wrote:

    I am currently in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina and it is cloudy but warmish. The azaleas are out. I am at a conference with my husband.

    Could be worse!

  49. I did find it odd that the folks on the show kept referring to “the Reformed faith,” as if it were a belief system separate from basic Christianity. Is this a NeoCal thing? The Calvinists that I know dont use this language… Not around me, anyway.

  50. Mother wrote:

    I really hate the “my wife would kill me/put me in the hospital/six feet under” joking. It plays into the trope of women being volatile, emotionally unstable, and therefore in need of control.

    I’ve heard it most often from comp men who wanted to sound more reasonable.

    CBMW is trolling themselves. Notice he picked a female writer to criticize, though.

    Thanks for putting in words what I was feeling.

    The idea of a wife putting her husband in the hospital isn’t an improvement on the husband being controlling and nit-picking over suds on the dishes.

  51. I am going to speak up for my friend Carl because he will not do it. Some of the things I have seen written about him in the comments section of this blog border (at least) on slander.

    You must remember the limited scope of Carl’s work with SGM. He was asked to, along with several others to review the hundreds of pages of documents that had been dumped into the public record. Please remember that this was BEFORE any of us knew about allegations of covering up child sexual abuse. The finding of that committee is that those documents did not reveal anything that was necessarily disqualifying for ministry. Full stop. In fact, the documents did reveal that the application of confession of sin by SGM churches was a bit weird. I read the documents and, quite frankly, I couldn’t find a “smoking gun.”

    So let’s please stop repeating the lie that somehow Carl Trueman found CJ Mahaney, SGM, and CLC shining exmaples of personal and institutional health. He simply came to the same conclusion that I had reached about the hundreds of pages of documents released through Brent Detwiler.

  52. It is nice to see this development. I feel cautiously optimistic. But also curious what is going on behind the scenes. When you’ve developed the degree of skepticism I have, it doesn’t dissolve overnight.

    I remember as a naive young Christian, before megachurches and big conferences and popular Christian music and books, wondering why evangelical Christianity always had to go in tatters. I’ve come to feel over the years it’s because money and popularity bring corruption.

  53. GSD wrote:

    I did find it odd that the folks on the show kept referring to “the Reformed faith,” as if it were a belief system separate from basic Christianity.

    Yes. This is where their allegiance is.

  54. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    “C.J. Mahaney says churches should defend their pastors”

    It kind of reminds me of that point in The Wizard of Oz where the wizard frantically shouts, “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

  55. siteseer wrote:

    GSD wrote:
    I did find it odd that the folks on the show kept referring to “the Reformed faith,” as if it were a belief system separate from basic Christianity.
    Yes. This is where their allegiance is.

    Actually my allegiance is to Christ. I specify “the Reformed Faith” to allow people to know where I am coming from. I believe the Westminster Standards represent a clear and accurate summation of the doctrine found in Scripture. I am a confessional Presbyterian because I believe it to be biblical. So please don’t slander me or my friends by suggesting that our loyalty is grounded somewhere other than Jesus.

  56. @ JeffT:

    re: Carl Trueman — “I’ve sensed for a while that he is being pushed to the side by the celebrity powers that be in the celebrity preacher world because of the previously mild criticisms he has offered and this most recent stand isn’t going to help…

    I’m sure his invitations to join in the Calvinista reindeer games are drying up even further and it’s refreshing to see someone who has resisted their celebrity worship.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    I would hope it would be beneath him to accept such an invitation.

    does he really need these ‘celebrity powers that be in the celebrity preacher world’? they’re so embarrassing to begin with — to align yourself with them compromises everything (from values down to good taste).

  57. I could probably put all the dirty dishes back in the cupboard without washing them and my husband would never notice- ha ha!

  58. @ siteseer:

    my view is that money compromises the mission. take money out of the equation and amazing things would happen. (kind of like with my kids, when I set severe boundaries with their cell phones — it actually make them much happier, kinder people)

    I mean, in the end, where those brass tacks are, a church exists to protect and perpetuate itself so it can pay it’s salaries, bills, and be continually spending money to look hip, cool, and relevant to attract giving units.

  59. siteseer wrote:

    I could probably put all the dirty dishes back in the cupboard without washing them and my husband would never notice- ha ha!

    Of course he’d notice. He just wouldn’t care. It’s a man thing.

  60. P.S. Which makes me wonder whether soap-bubble husband is actually a bit of a Man Fail. No real man would care about soap bubbles on a glass, for bleep’s sake.

  61. Deb wrote:

    My husband gets annoyed at me when I assert myself and wash the dishes. That’s no joke! I am the cook, and he feels the least he can do is help clean up after we eat.

    At Muff Manor, Muff is chief cook, bottle washer, and scullery boy. No ideology attached in any fashion whatsoever. It’s just real life with real life choices and options. It’s hard to fathom how an organization like CBMW can be so divorced from the real world of ordinary people.

  62. I feel that Carl Truman, given the role he had in declaring CJ mahaney fit for Ministry, is obligated to apologize to all the victims of the cover-ups that have occurred.

    It's great that he's begun to speak out. It's obvious he's referring to sgm churches and the abuses that have occurred there. But I find it inadequate, to speak in vague terms, when he explicitly said that CJ mahaney was fit for Ministry.

    Where is the repentance and mortification of sin that these guys love to talk about so much?

  63. This post discusses ‘Together for the Gospel’ members rallying around CJ Mahaney:

    The Failure of Complementarian Manhood
    https://carolyncustisjames.com/2016/04/21/the-failure-of-complementarian-manhood/

    Snippet:

    Despite many protests and appeals, T4G leaders spotlighted CJ Mahaney as a plenary speaker before an audience of 10,000. Mahaney, one of T4G’s founding members, has been living under a cloud ever since he was implicated in lawsuits alleging systemic leadership cover-ups of sexual abuse in Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM).

  64. siteseer wrote:

    GSD wrote:
    I did find it odd that the folks on the show kept referring to “the Reformed faith,” as if it were a belief system separate from basic Christianity.
    Yes. This is where their allegiance is.

    Exactly! I disagree with much of Reformed theology, but that’s not my problem with it. My problem is with its glorification. Raising it up so much (Reformed this, Reformed that, Reformed church and university and conference, etc.) has turned it into an idol, and yes, it does seem like it’s apart from regular Christianity. This is much more of a problem on the conservative end of the Reformed faith than on the liberal end. So, let me throw out this idea: has making an idol out of Reformed theology created a weakness for more idolatry to set in (worship of exclusivity, worship of power, worship of maleness as a part of worship of power, etc.)? Has this idolatry created an entitlement mentality that leads some to prey on the weaker or lower in status? I do think the worship of power led many priests to have an entitlement mentality that helped them to abuse children way back when.

  65. Daisy wrote:

    The Failure of Complementarian Manhood
    https://carolyncustisjames.com/2016/04/21/the-failure-of-complementarian-manhood/

    In this article, James notes Piper’s example of a man being knocked out by an intruder and the wife with the black-belt subduing the intruder. Piper says that if a man is knocked out, then he’s not a real man. Nonsense! This creates unrealistic expectations on men. Men are not superheros; they’re flesh and blood humans. Even a big, strong man can be knocked out by a led pipe. Are the male soldiers killed in battle any less of men? Plus, if her man is knocked out, is a woman not supposed to fight back? Piper would probably say no. It’s unfeminine and insults the masculinity of the intruder (who being male is still more valuable than the female). Rubbish (to be polite).

  66. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    It is time to end these Christian celebrity worship fests.

    There would be no Christian celebrities, if they didn’t have a great multitude of groupies. The New Calvinist elite would have no stage, if they didn’t have an audience. The old guys are using the young reformers for their benefit. There were 10,000 at T4G … The Gospel Coalition also draws thousands … and there will be YRR’s by the busload tripping over themselves at the upcoming SBC annual convention. They enjoy going to such conferences to hang out with others who are like-minded. Unfortunately, in this case, being like-minded is to be wrong-minded when it comes to idolizing and supporting New Calvinist leaders who continue to fall (Driscoll, Patrick) and others who should (Mohler, Mahaney). As long as their followers continue to bank-roll them, I see no end to the celebrity worship fests. If Al Mohler can get laughter and applause by a joking introduction of C.J. Mahaney while those abused by Mahaney’s ministry protest outside the convention center, the young whippersnappers will follow them no matter what! If the worship fests end, where will the new reformers go? They are all having so much fun at these things. Good Lord, 21st century Christendom is being steered by the youth group and some old Calvin-worshipers. It’s tough to find Jesus in the mix.

  67. Patriciamc wrote:

    Daisy wrote:
    The Failure of Complementarian Manhood
    https://carolyncustisjames.com/2016/04/21/the-failure-of-complementarian-manhood/
    In this article, James notes Piper’s example of a man being knocked out by an intruder and the wife with the black-belt subduing the intruder. Piper says that if a man is knocked out, then he’s not a real man. Nonsense! This creates unrealistic expectations on men. Men are not superheros; they’re flesh and blood humans. Even a big, strong man can be knocked out by a led pipe. Are the male soldiers killed in battle any less of men? Plus, if her man is knocked out, is a woman not supposed to fight back? Piper would probably say no. It’s unfeminine and insults the masculinity of the intruder (who being male is still more valuable than the female). Rubbish (to be polite).

    to be fair, he said the opposite…he said if he is NOT knocked out, he’s not a real man (meaning if he hasn’t taken a hit for his wife, he isn’t a real man). Don’t agree with much of what these guys said, but I agree with this point.

  68. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Some of the things I have seen written about him in the comments section of this blog border (at least) on slander.

    Todd,

    As I stated several times in the post, I am grateful for your broadcast. However, I would ask that you be careful using the word ‘slander’ in this discussion. Nothing I have read here could be characterized as such.

    I don’t have a problem with our commenters stating that they wished Carl would have owned the part he played in restoring C.J. Mahaney back to ministry. I said as much in an earlier comment.

    Had Carl come to a different conclusion nearly five years ago, perhaps we could have avoided some of the problems you Carl, and Aimee discussed in your broadcast.

  69. Bridget wrote:

    I really don’t understand the accolades being given to this threesome today when there are plenty of men and women who have been sounding an alarm for years. There are plenty of men and women (Christian and non Christian) who have paid a heavy price for their nearness to CJ Mahaney and Company. They are the ones who deserve accolades in my book, not Carl, Todd and Aimee.

    I sadly agree. From a purely pragmatic point of view I do think their speaking out is an interesting turn of events. Evidently more and more in the reform movement feel more comfortable doing so. I get this feeling they want to be on the right side of History.

    Trueman would have a lot more influence if he were just honest about his propping up Mahaney and why he now knows it was wrong. Instead he talks around the subject without mentioning names. They know that we know who they are talking about so what is up with not mentioning names? I have an idea why. It would probably be a problem with his position.

    I guess I am just done with all the Insider cowardly stuff. I am to the point of wondering why we bother to listen to theologians and pastors on these sorts of issues. If they can’t bravely stand up for right, what on Earth do they have to teach us?

  70. @ Todd Pruitt:
    There has been plenty on the internet since 2009 to show SGM was/is a Shepherding cult. It wasn’t hard to do a search back then and find out Mahaney had been the Apostle for the People of Destiny before they changed their name. Surely that should have brought up some red flags.

    Can we stop with the slander accusations? Trueman is part of an article on the internet –I am assuming he wants people to read?
    So we read it and we have questions as to why he does not explain his supposed (he does not name names) 180 on Mahaney? All we can do at this point is speculate. I get that you think that is a sin, I happen to disagree.

    Perhaps we could ask why Trueman himself doesn’t explain this? Or does he feel like he doesn’t have to explain anything as an academic that went along with that show? I really don’t get it.

  71. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    I am going to speak up for my friend Carl because he will not do it. Some of the things I have seen written about him in the comments section of this blog border (at least) on slander.
    You must remember the limited scope of Carl’s work with SGM. He was asked to, along with several others to review the hundreds of pages of documents that had been dumped into the public record. Please remember that this was BEFORE any of us knew about allegations of covering up child sexual abuse. The finding of that committee is that those documents did not reveal anything that was necessarily disqualifying for ministry. Full stop. In fact, the documents did reveal that the application of confession of sin by SGM churches was a bit weird. I read the documents and, quite frankly, I couldn’t find a “smoking gun.”
    So let’s please stop repeating the lie that somehow Carl Trueman found CJ Mahaney, SGM, and CLC shining exmaples of personal and institutional health. He simply came to the same conclusion that I had reached about the hundreds of pages of documents released through Brent Detwiler.

    That’s a gracious response, and with the benefit of hindsight now obviously all of the documents look much worse. That being said, would it be a fair characterization that Carl noticed there were issues, nothing that should disqualify him from ministry (especially since part of the deal was that CJ was going to take a time out of sorts)?

  72. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    So please don’t slander me or my friends by suggesting that our loyalty is grounded somewhere other than Jesus.

    Didn’t mean to slander anyone… I just find the language odd. When someone describes themselves as being of the ______ faith, it’s usually a broad term, like Christian, Hindu, Jewish, etc. Not a subset of one of those faiths, like Reformed, Armenian, etc. I don’t refer to myself as being of the Open Theism Faith. Mostly because I would just get confused stares.

    I have very close friends and mentors who are Calvinists, and I don’t question their walk with Christ. I’ve just never heard them talk about their Reformed Faith.

  73. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Please remember that this was BEFORE any of us knew about allegations of covering up child sexual abuse.

    I think most people just said he should maybe address it. Which is hardly slander. If what you said above is true (I say if only because I haven’t researched enough to know), he could just say that.

    Sort of interestingly, that Phil Johnson guy had a bunch of issues that he didn’t think were a big deal. [“Everything Brent Detweiler complained about was petty and personal: CJ Mahaney was too controlling; he wasn’t transparent with his fellow leaders; he didn’t submit to the same accountability he demanded of them; he was stubborn; he didn’t listen to criticism; etc.”]

    They are not Child Abuse cover up, but maybe it would be good to talk about how all of these things were pretty bad signs. Maybe it would be nice to talk about sins other than sexual that might disqualify a pastor. I would be very interesting to see what Mr. Trueman thinks after having had years to reflect.

  74. andrew wrote:

    that soap bubbles thing is hysterical, and surreal

    New Calvinist women are so open-minded to “complementarity” that their spiritual brains have fallen out. It’s a dirty shame since they may never be able to operate in their spiritual giftings, nor be truly free in Christ while they remain in reformed bondage.

  75. And that new book by Trueman, et al., is going to have a chapter by Jim Boice whose been dead for over 15 years! How can he comment on the Declaration after 20 years. It’s kinda funny.

  76. Max wrote:

    New Calvinist women are so open-minded to “complementarity” that their spiritual brains have fallen out.

    +1 for a Buffy reference, but their minds aren’t really open, they are very closed. They can only see an incredibly narrow window for male/female lives. And that’s just silly.

    I am female. Being a ‘woman’ is just being myself. I don’t have to try of follow a bunch of dumb rules. They make it entirely too complicated.

  77. Deb wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Some of the things I have seen written about him in the comments section of this blog border (at least) on slander.

    Todd,

    As I stated several times in the post, I am grateful for your broadcast. However, I would ask that you be careful using the word ‘slander’ in this discussion. Nothing I have read here could be characterized as such.

    I don’t have a problem with our commenters stating that they wished Carl would have owned the part he played in restoring C.J. Mahaney back to ministry. I said as much in an earlier comment.

    Had Carl come to a different conclusion nearly five years ago, perhaps we could have avoided some of the problems you Carl, and Aimee discussed in your broadcast.

    Asking questions is fine. But demanding certain answers and then making pronouncements about a man’s character most certainly is slander. Carl and I have lost friends over this issue (and others). I’m not asking for any sympathy. But to conclude that we are scum or cowards or some of the other things we have been called because we don’t want to draw conclusions for which we lack evidence is unChristian.

  78. Muff Potter wrote:

    It’s hard to fathom how an organization like CBMW can be so divorced from the real world of ordinary people.

    It’s because they have rounded up all the extraordinary into New Calvinism.

  79. @ Lydia:
    The slander accusations notwithstanding, Todd makes a really important point in understanding Trueman’s change for the better. Though the blackmail, the sheeplding, the apostlding, the degiftings, and the dismemberships already dq’d CJ, the child sex abuse was just then beginning to come out. So if you read the WW article Deb linked above, from 08/03/11, there’s nothing about the sex abuse coverup at all.

  80. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    But to conclude that we are scum or cowards or some of the other things we have been called because we don’t want to draw conclusions for which we lack evidence is unChristian.

    There is no question that hindsight is 20/20. I am sorry that you and Carl have lost friendships. Dee and I can definitely relate.

    Again, I am very grateful that the three of you took such a vocal stand. Please know that I'm keeping you, Carl, and Aimee in my prayers as you will likely face significant criticism from the YRR crowd.

  81. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Asking questions is fine. But demanding certain answers and then making pronouncements about a man’s character most certainly is slander. Carl and I have lost friends over this issue (and others). I’m not asking for any sympathy. But to conclude that we are scum or cowards or some of the other things we have been called because we don’t want to draw conclusions for which we lack evidence is unChri

    Todd. I don’t know CJ from Adam. But if he is a product of The Shepherding Movement, then he is a product of the Shepherding Movement. As a believer, I see the movement as a fulfilment of Scriptures regarding the Kingdom of God and false teachers sown among the wheat.

    Take and Give- Would this name not be ironic and invite questions of what is being taken and given?

    People of Destiny- Are these separate people?
    What is their destiny?
    Is this destiny separate from all the rest of us, the Great Un-Washed?

    Covenant Life- If a church is named this, does it not signify a life of bondage?
    How else can the word Covenant be interpreted other than a church bringing bondage into the lives of victims?
    Is not Covenant, another word for contractual, obligation or requirement?

    Sovereign Grace- As opposed to what?
    Some other sort of Grace?
    What do they mean by Grace? Chosen category? Because I don’t have that chosen category, I’m just someone who was pardoned.

    Am I wrong to believe CJ is an enemy? That CJ is a littoral “leaven” of which we were warned would destroy the seed? If we are warned against the leaven of the Pharisees, what does this mean? Is this instruction to be taken literally?

    Bottom line: Should I view CJ as an enemy of the faith? Why or why not?

  82. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    So please don’t slander me or my friends by suggesting that our loyalty is grounded somewhere other than Jesus.

    We’re not pointing fingers at any individuals, just a mentality in general that many, but not all, have in the Reformed tradition. Growing up in a PCA church, I definitely saw what I would term as idolatry. We Arminians have our flaws too, just in other areas.

  83. nathan priddis wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    Asking questions is fine. But demanding certain answers and then making pronouncements about a man’s character most certainly is slander. Carl and I have lost friends over this issue (and others). I’m not asking for any sympathy. But to conclude that we are scum or cowards or some of the other things we have been called because we don’t want to draw conclusions for which we lack evidence is unChri
    Todd. I don’t know CJ from Adam. But if he is a product of The Shepherding Movement, then he is a product of the Shepherding Movement. As a believer, I see the movement as a fulfilment of Scriptures regarding the Kingdom of God and false teachers sown among the wheat.
    Take and Give- Would this name not be ironic and invite questions of what is being taken and given?
    People of Destiny- Are these separate people?
    What is their destiny?
    Is this destiny separate from all the rest of us, the Great Un-Washed?
    Covenant Life- If a church is named this, does it not signify a life of bondage?
    How else can the word Covenant be interpreted other than a church bringing bondage into the lives of victims?
    Is not Covenant, another word for contractual, obligation or requirement?
    Sovereign Grace- As opposed to what?
    Some other sort of Grace?
    What do they mean by Grace? Chosen category? Because I don’t have that chosen category, I’m just someone who was pardoned.
    Am I wrong to believe CJ is an enemy? That CJ is a littoral “leaven” of which we were warned would destroy the seed? If we are warned against the leaven of the Pharisees, what does this mean? Is this instruction to be taken literally?
    Bottom line: Should I view CJ as an enemy of the faith? Why or why not?

    Nathan – With all due respect you have a fatally flawed understanding of “covenant.” Typically, when Christians refer to “covenant” we are referring to God’s gracious covenant made with Abraham and fulfilled in Christ. God deals with his people by way of this gracious covenant.

  84. Patriciamc wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    So please don’t slander me or my friends by suggesting that our loyalty is grounded somewhere other than Jesus.
    We’re not pointing fingers at any individuals, just a mentality in general that many, but not all, have in the Reformed tradition. Growing up in a PCA church, I definitely saw what I would term as idolatry. We Arminians have our flaws too, just in other areas.

    I was responding to a specific comment in this thread where the writer assumed secret knowledge as to the sinister nature of my actual allegiance.

  85. Deb wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    But to conclude that we are scum or cowards or some of the other things we have been called because we don’t want to draw conclusions for which we lack evidence is unChristian.
    There is no question that hindsight is 20/20. I am sorry that you and Carl have lost friendships. Dee and I can definitely relate.
    Again, I am very grateful that the three of you took such a vocal stand. Please know that I’m keeping you, Carl, and Aimee in my prayers as you will likely face significant criticism from the YRR crowd.

    Thank you. That is appreciated.

  86. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    You must remember the limited scope of Carl’s work with SGM. He was asked to, along with several others to review the hundreds of pages of documents that had been dumped into the public record. Please remember that this was BEFORE any of us knew about allegations of covering up child sexual abuse. The finding of that committee is that those documents did not reveal anything that was necessarily disqualifying for ministry. Full stop.

    Why review the documents without interacting with the people who were affected? Actually, the documents were only part of what people had experienced under the leadership of SGM, even before information came out about child sexual abuse. Whether you believe it or not, the response of that panel along with Dever’s covering when CJ left his church, along with support from Mohler, Piper and Grudem, has continued the spiritual abuse that many people had already experienced at SGM. Leaders supporting leaders is not what Christianity is about, but it is what is prominent at the moment, unfortunately.

  87. Lea wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    Please remember that this was BEFORE any of us knew about allegations of covering up child sexual abuse.
    I think most people just said he should maybe address it. Which is hardly slander. If what you said above is true (I say if only because I haven’t researched enough to know), he could just say that.
    Sort of interestingly, that Phil Johnson guy had a bunch of issues that he didn’t think were a big deal. [“Everything Brent Detweiler complained about was petty and personal: CJ Mahaney was too controlling; he wasn’t transparent with his fellow leaders; he didn’t submit to the same accountability he demanded of them; he was stubborn; he didn’t listen to criticism; etc.”]
    They are not Child Abuse cover up, but maybe it would be good to talk about how all of these things were pretty bad signs. Maybe it would be nice to talk about sins other than sexual that might disqualify a pastor. I would be very interesting to see what Mr. Trueman thinks after having had years to reflect.

    I don’t have any problem with people asking Carl questions about his thoughts regarding the charges that CJ covered up child sex abuse at CLC. The problem is that Carl has no way of knowing if it is true. Neither do I for that matter. My problem with some of our critics here is that there is far more being said than, “Hey I wonder if Carl would be interested in looking into the sex abuse charges.” If you will read some of the comments in this thread and past threads you will see people making very serious charges against Trueman’s character. There are some very ugly things being said about him because he didn’t suddenly become convinced of all the accusations made against Mahaney. That is a strange ethic to say the least.

  88. Todd, I think a concern many would have here is how the ‘slander’ club is used by some in authoritarian leadership paradigms to shut down discussion (in my personal experience in a very different circumstance, merely asking questions and offering a critique of behavior and actions was labeled as slander). The conversation ends when the slander club is used.

    From what I read in Brent’s documents, if the type of behavior exhibited by CJ does not disqualify, our standards are very low.

  89. Bridget wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    You must remember the limited scope of Carl’s work with SGM. He was asked to, along with several others to review the hundreds of pages of documents that had been dumped into the public record. Please remember that this was BEFORE any of us knew about allegations of covering up child sexual abuse. The finding of that committee is that those documents did not reveal anything that was necessarily disqualifying for ministry. Full stop.
    Why review the documents without interacting with the people who were affected? Actually, the documents were only part of what people had experienced under the leadership of SGM, even before information came out about child sexual abuse. Whether you believe it or not, the response of that panel along with Dever’s covering when CJ left his church, along with support from Mohler, Piper and Grudem, has continued the spiritual abuse that many people had already experienced at SGM. Leaders supporting leaders is not what Christianity is about, but it is what is prominent at the moment, unfortunately.

    The problem is that we need evidence not just charges and seemingly common sense extrapolations. So much of what I am reading here is the conclusions people have reached not because of actual evidence but because it seems to make sense based upon what they believe. I get that. We go through life reaching conclusions that seem reasonable based upon what we see and hear. However, when a man’s character is at stake we have to have actual evidence. I am not a journalist or a detective or an attorney. I blog about one hour a week. I have neither the time nor the calling to prosecute the case against CJ Mahaney. That said, I stand by my assertion that he should not be speaking in conferences. His church has the responsibility to do something, if anything about that.

  90. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    Todd, I think a concern many would have here is how the ‘slander’ club is used by some in authoritarian leadership paradigms to shut down discussion (in my personal experience in a very different circumstance, merely asking questions and offering a critique of behavior and actions was labeled as slander). The conversation ends when the slander club is used.
    From what I read in Brent’s documents, if the type of behavior exhibited by CJ does not disqualify, our standards are very low.

    I will call out slander when I see slander. I have been slandered in the past. It is terribly painful for people to say damaging things about you that simply are not true. It is a grievous sin. It is not my intention to shut down conversation or I would have bolted from this thread when I read some of the things being written about me and Trueman and our motivations that were ugly and untrue.

    As far as what Brent Detwiler has written, I don’t know any human being who has the time to keep up with the sheer volume of his output. That said, I don’t KNOW that the things Detwiler alleges are true. Do you know what he has alleged is true. And by “know” I mean have you seen evidence confirming his accusations?

  91. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    The problem is that we need evidence not just charges and seemingly common sense extrapolations.

    Why are ‘common sense extrapolations’ based on evidence (and testimony from eyewitnesses is evidence) not enough in the case of determining if a pastor is abusive? I am not understanding this new standard that seems to be coming up. We are talking about a church, not a courtroom. I think a reasonable man standard probably makes more sense in these cases than some sort of courtroom beyond a shadow of a doubt.

  92. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    It is not my intention to shut down conversation or I would have bolted from this thread when I read some of the things being written about me and Trueman and our motivations that were ugly and untrue.

    I’m glad that you haven’t because I think it’s generally better to confront things head on and explain yourself, particularly if what is being said is not true. Because it seems to me that most of the things being said that you consider slander are either 1. opinions or 2. confusion about the facts. I don’t think people are willfully spreading lies, which is more what I think of as slander. If you comment, you can correct the facts. And if you seem like a decent guy, you can potentially change the opinions. So win/win.

  93. Todd, thanks for your thoughtful reply; I thought the email documentation fairly straight-forward, as well as CJ’s abandoning his congregation as somewhat indicative of some character issues.

    It sometimes seems to me that the only behaviors we consider disqualifying are adultery and theft in office–I think a lack of character in terms of manipulative and controlling behavior to be just as disqualifying.

    The church desperately needs reformation, not in the sense of the doctrinal, but the behavioral.

    My two cents–I have found personally that a good way to extend conversation and value to those that disagree with me is to ask them why they think what they do–and listen before judging.

  94. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    It is not my intention to shut down conversation or I would have bolted from this thread when I read some of the things being written about me and Trueman and our motivations that were ugly and untrue.

    Thank you for sticking around and dialoguing with us. It means a lot to me.

  95. Lea wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    The problem is that we need evidence not just charges and seemingly common sense extrapolations.
    Why are ‘common sense extrapolations’ based on evidence (and testimony from eyewitnesses is evidence) not enough in the case of determining if a pastor is abusive? I am not understanding this new standard that seems to be coming up. We are talking about a church, not a courtroom. I think a reasonable man standard probably makes more sense in these cases than some sort of courtroom beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    Actually when we are talking about a man’s character we do need more than a person’s common sense conclusion. Imagine yourself in the firing line. I don’t know if you have ever had a small group of people slandering you but it is ugly and deeply damaging. It happens. Trust me. This is why I am thankful for Presbyterianism which has a “church court” system (church courts are described by Paul in 1 Corinthians). Members of Presbyterian churches have recourse if they believe they have been wronged by an elder. I have seen it work. I have seen elders found guilty of abuse and I have seen elders exonerated because of false charges made against them. And the standard is not beyond a “shadow” of a doubt but beyond a “reasonable” doubt. This sort of system and standard for evidence is very important because it acknowledges that pastors can be abusive while at the same time acknowledging that some people are slanderous. I am sure that what we desire is the truth and justice. This is one of the many reasons I am Presbyterian.

  96. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    Todd, thanks for your thoughtful reply; I thought the email documentation fairly straight-forward, as well as CJ’s abandoning his congregation as somewhat indicative of some character issues.
    It sometimes seems to me that the only behaviors we consider disqualifying are adultery and theft in office–I think a lack of character in terms of manipulative and controlling behavior to be just as disqualifying.
    The church desperately needs reformation, not in the sense of the doctrinal, but the behavioral.
    My two cents–I have found personally that a good way to extend conversation and value to those that disagree with me is to ask them why they think what they do–and listen before judging.

    I agree.

  97. @ Todd Pruitt:
    Excuse me, Todd. But I had never heard of Carl Trueman in my life until he agreed to be on a three man panel that declared Mahaney as fit for ministry. At that time, I was not a seminary trained Theologian yet I knew Mahaney was part of a long time shepherding cult. I had done some research on TaG, PDI to SGM and bothered to read the survivors stories.

    That would have at least served to make me very wary to get involved with Mahaney in any way shape or form.

    There is nothing belittling about Trueman admitting he made a mistake and why. It could go a long way to teach others what they should look for and how cautious they should be to get involved with celebrities.

    You are starting to sound like the typical young restless and reformed pastor berating the ignorant for daring not to give their opinion. If you think you are going to convince me this discussion is full of slander and sin, you are barking up the wrong tree. I certainly hope others here don’t buy into that either.

    Trueman can’t have it both ways. The middle of the road is where you get hit. The flashing neon sign saying cult ahead was there before the lawsuit or even detwiler’s document dump. The problem was nobody in the ‘clergy class’ wanted to believe the survivors stories.

  98. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    The problem is that we need evidence not just charges and seemingly common sense extrapolations.

    What of all the people who responded to AOR? What about all the people who had commented on blogs about what they experienced at SGM – even former pastors? Did anyone talk with Larry Tomczak? Did any of the four on the panel actually talk with people who were harmed? Honestly, you would have had dozens of witnesses, not just Brent’s documents.

    If Carl’s (and the other three on the panel) scope was so limited then why respond at all? Why, in essence, clear CJ when not enough investigation was done? If no one had the time to deal with the situation, they should have recused themselves. That would have been far better for all involved.

  99. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Actually when we are talking about a man’s character we do need more than a person’s common sense conclusion.

    I don’t know. I guess it depends on what we are doing with the conclusions. If the question is whether to believe a person or leave a church, I have no problem with going with a lower standard of evidence. It seems as if in many cases, we are using a lower standard of evidence for a parishioner than a pastor. That is exactly backwards, imo.

    Certainly there has to be some balance between looking at all the evidence, and the general behavior of a person, and seeing if it tracks, compared with believing anything that is said. It’s difficult to strike that balance, but I believe standards should be higher for the person at the top of an organization.

  100. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    I am going to speak up for my friend Carl because he will not do it. Some of the things I have seen written about him in the comments section of this blog border (at least) on slander.

    Todd, first and foremost I want to say thank you for participating and commenting. One of my deep concerns is that people build walls and do not share, discuss and instead dismiss each other. So in that regard I say thank you for commenting.

    That said, slander is a word that your camp has redefined and twisted. Its not slander to speak about the truth. Yes its uncomfortable. Yes its difficult. Yes its not something many of us enjoy talking about. The problem is that this situation has dragged on and no one would really say anything. This refusal to speak out about a problem is destructive, and counter-productive. Its happened with CJ Mahnaey, Mark Driscoll, Steve Estes and more. I would encourage you to do some deep reflection because there is a lot of evidence to the opposite. The reformed movement has lost its way especially when it comes to owning mistakes, and admitting error. That’s why so many blogs have flourished and blossomed talking about much of this stuff. If these issues were talked, addressed and dealt with properly some of this blogs and issues would go away.

    C.J. Mahaney is a problem. Its a major problem on your hands. I commend you for speaking out but I honestly wonder why it took years for this to be discussed. That said, I am grateful that you came out and spoke about this. I will take that as a start to what I hope is a long, and detailed discussion. C.J. can’t run from his problems, and if you guys loved and cared about him you would honestly confront and challenge him for his own benefit.

    Thanks for the ear, I do appreciate you reading and commenting.

  101. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Presbyterianism which has a “church court” system (church courts are described by Paul in 1 Corinthians). Members of Presbyterian churches have recourse if they believe they have been wronged by an elder.

    Who is the “church court?” men and women in the local church?

  102. Todd Pruitt, great to see a fellow PCA pastor here. I have been a reader (and occasional commenter here) of this blog ever since the Aquila Report first linked to TWW’s blog posts on CJ Mahaney back in 2011, I think. There are some very strong feelings and some occasionally less-than-careful comments in the threads here, but these folks are the good guys, so thank you for sticking in there. I also appreciate the latitude that Deb and Dee give to the commenters here, while at the same time calling out the truly ugly commenters.

    I also want to commend you and Aimee and Carl very highly. SO important what you are doing. Please stick in there.

    For myself, Carl’s past involvement, essentially vetting the Detwiler documents, was a no-win situation. I so wish he had simply been a consistent Presbyterian (here I may provoke the ire of some of the commenters here at TWW) and simply said, “CJ Mahaney is not even IN ‘ministry’ as properly understood, in that he is untrained and essentially self-ordained, so there is no way I can come to a place of declaring him either qualified or unqualified for ministry — Detwiler too for that matter. Come back to me if or when either of them actually become ministers of the gospel as defined by the New Testament.” He never should have gotten involved in that whole charade with DeYoung and Ortlund. But to his great credit, he has NEVER gone on to the sorts of nonsensical defenses of Mahaney and attacks upon Mahaney’s critics (and the victims themselves!) that DeYoung in particular did. I was so distressed when that guy came into the PCA. When you did, I was very thankful, by the way.

  103. Bridget wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    Presbyterianism which has a “church court” system (church courts are described by Paul in 1 Corinthians). Members of Presbyterian churches have recourse if they believe they have been wronged by an elder.
    Who is the “church court?” men and women in the local church?

    The church courts in the PCA are 1) the local church’s session (lay and pastoral elders), 2) the presbytery, 3) General Assembly, and if need be, 4) the Standing Judicial Committee.

  104. Dave (Eagle) wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    I am going to speak up for my friend Carl because he will not do it. Some of the things I have seen written about him in the comments section of this blog border (at least) on slander.
    Todd, first and foremost I want to say thank you for participating and commenting. One of my deep concerns is that people build walls and do not share, discuss and instead dismiss each other. So in that regard I say thank you for commenting.
    That said, slander is a word that your camp has redefined and twisted. Its not slander to speak about the truth. Yes its uncomfortable. Yes its difficult. Yes its not something many of us enjoy talking about. The problem is that this situation has dragged on and no one would really say anything. This refusal to speak out about a problem is destructive, and counter-productive. Its happened with CJ Mahnaey, Mark Driscoll, Steve Estes and more. I would encourage you to do some deep reflection because there is a lot of evidence to the opposite. The reformed movement has lost its way especially when it comes to owning mistakes, and admitting error. That’s why so many blogs have flourished and blossomed talking about much of this stuff. If these issues were talked, addressed and dealt with properly some of this blogs and issues would go away.
    C.J. Mahaney is a problem. Its a major problem on your hands. I commend you for speaking out but I honestly wonder why it took years for this to be discussed. That said, I am grateful that you came out and spoke about this. I will take that as a start to what I hope is a long, and detailed discussion. C.J. can’t run from his problems, and if you guys loved and cared about him you would honestly confront and challenge him for his own benefit.
    Thanks for the ear, I do appreciate you reading and commenting.

    Speaking the truth is most certainly not slander. I just want to be very careful that we not confuse personal, even deeply held opinions with evidence. When someone writes some variation on – “He didn’t condemn Mahaney so he must be a compromising and dishonest huckster” – that is slander.

  105. Bridget wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    The problem is that we need evidence not just charges and seemingly common sense extrapolations.
    What of all the people who responded to AOR? What about all the people who had commented on blogs about what they experienced at SGM – even former pastors? Did anyone talk with Larry Tomczak? Did any of the four on the panel actually talk with people who were harmed? Honestly, you would have had dozens of witnesses, not just Brent’s documents.
    If Carl’s (and the other three on the panel) scope was so limited then why respond at all? Why, in essence, clear CJ when not enough investigation was done? If no one had the time to deal with the situation, they should have recused themselves. That would have been far better for all involved.

    I can say from firsthand experience that just because someone makes a claim on a blog does not mean that it is true. We have to be very careful with blindly accepting claims on blogs.

  106. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Carl and I have lost friends over this issue (and others). I’m not asking for any sympathy.

    For that I am sorry. There are many people who are in a similar situation in so many ways. The Sovereign Grace situation has torn apart families, friendships, churches and more. Its caused so much needless division. All that division didn’t have to happen.

    I didn’t know what Sovereign Grace was until I started to be invited to a SGM church plant in the D.C. area. When I saw all the problems, issues, and corruption at the time. I was stunned. This happened when I was in a faith crisis and outside Christianity. In the end the person who I interacted with chose the SG church and made a false accusation that threatened my job. It was the darkest season of my life. But something is seriously wrong when these issues cause so much pain and dysfunction. In my story Todd, a guy walked away from leading a person to the Christian faith all while proclaiming that his SG church was the “healthiest thing he has ever been involved.” To this day I still don’t get it. And there is so much pain that exists. Its sad that these issues related to Mahaney haven’t been tackled earlier. Think of how much more unity could exist and harmony if these issues were handled when they raised their ugly head.

    That said, I thank you for commenting and posting. Its takes courage, and I appreciate you getting involved. Take care,

    David

  107. With all due respect, Todd, this whole episode disgusts me and really tells me the state of affairs in much of Christendom at many levels.

    It also leads me to surmise why so many are leaving the church and esp. why the 20 somethings are fleeing like rats on the Titanic.

    It also tells me why so much of what I am feeling/experiencing is not isolated, but also by many others in the church.

    I also realize we are all sinners, but I am tired of hearing/reading that from pastors, usually using it to excuse sinful.bad behavior. How many times has a pastor said well welcome to the hypocrite club? I am tired of that.

    I also read where Paul tells us teachers will be held to higher standards. It is also why our Lord was so harsh with hypocrites and why I get disgusted with law enforcement when it looks the other when one its own does something wrong.

    Look, Paul wrote that we should be above reproach. We can debate all that means, but in the end, whether it be Penn State, the Catholic Church, or now this issue, if we can’t even protect our children, then what good is all this?

    Sadly, in much of this CJ episode I don’t hear a lot about what our Lord might think of all this.

    Oh well, I am just a ranting old man saved by Jesus. However, keep in mind that this sad state of affairs is just one more reason the evangelical church, especially, is in this country is bleeding pewsitters and also driving others from the faith or to other denominations.

  108. Lydia wrote:

    @ Todd Pruitt:
    Excuse me, Todd. But I had never heard of Carl Trueman in my life until he agreed to be on a three man panel that declared Mahaney as fit for ministry. At that time, I was not a seminary trained Theologian yet I knew Mahaney was part of a long time shepherding cult. I had done some research on TaG, PDI to SGM and bothered to read the survivors stories.
    That would have at least served to make me very wary to get involved with Mahaney in any way shape or form.
    There is nothing belittling about Trueman admitting he made a mistake and why. It could go a long way to teach others what they should look for and how cautious they should be to get involved with celebrities.
    You are starting to sound like the typical young restless and reformed pastor berating the ignorant for daring not to give their opinion. If you think you are going to convince me this discussion is full of slander and sin, you are barking up the wrong tree. I certainly hope others here don’t buy into that either.
    Trueman can’t have it both ways. The middle of the road is where you get hit. The flashing neon sign saying cult ahead was there before the lawsuit or even detwiler’s document dump. The problem was nobody in the ‘clergy class’ wanted to believe the survivors stories.

    Lydia – I have not once accused anyone of slander simply because they disagree with me. I do cry “slander” when someone writes something false about me, my character, my actions, or my beliefs because I reach a different conclusion about something than they prefer.

  109. OCDan wrote:

    With all due respect, Todd, this whole episode disgusts me and really tells me the state of affairs in much of Christendom at many levels.
    It also leads me to surmise why so many are leaving the church and esp. why the 20 somethings are fleeing like rats on the Titanic.
    It also tells me why so much of what I am feeling/experiencing is not isolated, but also by many others in the church.
    I also realize we are all sinners, but I am tired of hearing/reading that from pastors, usually using it to excuse sinful.bad behavior. How many times has a pastor said well welcome to the hypocrite club? I am tired of that.
    I also read where Paul tells us teachers will be held to higher standards. It is also why our Lord was so harsh with hypocrites and why I get disgusted with law enforcement when it looks the other when one its own does something wrong.
    Look, Paul wrote that we should be above reproach. We can debate all that means, but in the end, whether it be Penn State, the Catholic Church, or now this issue, if we can’t even protect our children, then what good is all this?
    Sadly, in much of this CJ episode I don’t hear a lot about what our Lord might think of all this.
    Oh well, I am just a ranting old man saved by Jesus. However, keep in mind that this sad state of affairs is just one more reason the evangelical church, especially, is in this country is bleeding pewsitters and also driving others from the faith or to other denominations.

    I think if you will read my three posts on the T4G situation and listen to the relevant podcast you will see that me and my mates are in basic agreement with you.

  110. Dave (Eagle) wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    Carl and I have lost friends over this issue (and others). I’m not asking for any sympathy.
    For that I am sorry. There are many people who are in a similar situation in so many ways. The Sovereign Grace situation has torn apart families, friendships, churches and more. Its caused so much needless division. All that division didn’t have to happen.
    I didn’t know what Sovereign Grace was until I started to be invited to a SGM church plant in the D.C. area. When I saw all the problems, issues, and corruption at the time. I was stunned. This happened when I was in a faith crisis and outside Christianity. In the end the person who I interacted with chose the SG church and made a false accusation that threatened my job. It was the darkest season of my life. But something is seriously wrong when these issues cause so much pain and dysfunction. In my story Todd, a guy walked away from leading a person to the Christian faith all while proclaiming that his SG church was the “healthiest thing he has ever been involved.” To this day I still don’t get it. And there is so much pain that exists. Its sad that these issues related to Mahaney haven’t been tackled earlier. Think of how much more unity could exist and harmony if these issues were handled when they raised their ugly head.
    That said, I thank you for commenting and posting. Its takes courage, and I appreciate you getting involved. Take care,
    David

    As I have written before, while I cannot claim any knowledge on Mahaney’s guilt or innocence regarding the charges of covering up sexual abuse I can say that SGM churches did not have a healthy model of governance. Part of that was based upon their belief in modern apostles. That lead to problems. But also problematic was their application of “shepherding” which seems to have cross a lot of lines and turned into heavy handed meddling into people’s lives. This is one of the reasons I am so thankful for the Book of Church Order.

  111. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Speaking the truth is most certainly not slander. I just want to be very careful that we not confuse personal, even deeply held opinions with evidence. When someone writes some variation on – “He didn’t condemn Mahaney so he must be a compromising and dishonest huckster” – that is slander.

    That is a bit if a twist. He actually declared him fit for ministry. He had other choices such as recusing himself or as Bridget has suggested, more investigation.

    All this would be cleared up if Trueman would simply speak for himself. Why not?

  112. Lydia wrote:

    @ Todd Pruitt:
    Todd, I don’t do vague. Show the example(s) of slander here, please.

    Lydia – I’m not going to play games. Do you deny that there have been some pretty ugly things written here and past threads about myself and Trueman? I have already referenced one earlier comment that cryptically suggested knowledge about the “real allegiance” of me and my friends.

  113. I am a faculty member at a major state university… I can attest to the damage that the hypocrisy in the church, as specifically demonstrated by the TG4G crowd, and people like Mark Driscol, is doing… I have live with the blow back in my world…

    Todd Pruitt wrote:

    OCDan wrote:
    With all due respect, Todd, this whole episode disgusts me and really tells me the state of affairs in much of Christendom at many levels.
    It also leads me to surmise why so many are leaving the church and esp. why the 20 somethings are fleeing like rats on the Titanic.
    It also tells me why so much of what I am feeling/experiencing is not isolated, but also by many others in the church.
    I also realize we are all sinners, but I am tired of hearing/reading that from pastors, usually using it to excuse sinful.bad behavior. How many times has a pastor said well welcome to the hypocrite club? I am tired of that.
    I also read where Paul tells us teachers will be held to higher standards. It is also why our Lord was so harsh with hypocrites and why I get disgusted with law enforcement when it looks the other when one its own does something wrong.
    Look, Paul wrote that we should be above reproach. We can debate all that means, but in the end, whether it be Penn State, the Catholic Church, or now this issue, if we can’t even protect our children, then what good is all this?
    Sadly, in much of this CJ episode I don’t hear a lot about what our Lord might think of all this.
    Oh well, I am just a ranting old man saved by Jesus. However, keep in mind that this sad state of affairs is just one more reason the evangelical church, especially, is in this country is bleeding pewsitters and also driving others from the faith or to other denominations.
    I think if you will read my three posts on the T4G situation and listen to the relevant podcast you will see that me and my mates are in basic agreement with you.

  114. Lydia wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    Speaking the truth is most certainly not slander. I just want to be very careful that we not confuse personal, even deeply held opinions with evidence. When someone writes some variation on – “He didn’t condemn Mahaney so he must be a compromising and dishonest huckster” – that is slander.
    That is a bit if a twist. He actually declared him fit for ministry. He had other choices such as recusing himself or as Bridget has suggested, more investigation.
    All this would be cleared up if Trueman would simply speak for himself. Why not?

    Lydia – With all due respect Carl Trueman does not owe you answers. And based upon the way some of these threads go I would discourage him from doing it.

  115. Tim wrote:

    Then I realized he was helping out in true patriarchal fashion: he pointed out her faults and made sure she knew he was watching her until she got it right.

    Right, Tim, that’s his way of sacrificially loving her.

  116. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    I can say from firsthand experience that just because someone makes a claim on a blog does not mean that it is true. We have to be very careful with blindly accepting claims on blogs.

    “Blog comments” was not the main focus of my comment. There was much more to my comment than your response suggests.

  117. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    The church courts in the PCA are 1) the local church’s session (lay and pastoral elders), 2) the presbytery, 3) General Assembly, and if need be, 4) the Standing Judicial Committee.

    Are the people in these church courts men and women? (Maybe my question was too simple?)

  118. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Lydia – With all due respect Carl Trueman does not owe you answers. And based upon the way some of these threads go I would discourage him from doing it.

    And there it is.

    But you are right, Todd. He doesn’t “owe” me answers. Except those who pay him, perhaps. Just like the rest of us.

    He should not be afraid of me or anyone else here. Speaking for myself as a nobody in the Evangelical world. We have no way to hurt him financially. We cannot cause him to lose his job. Or his church.

  119. Bridget wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    The church courts in the PCA are 1) the local church’s session (lay and pastoral elders), 2) the presbytery, 3) General Assembly, and if need be, 4) the Standing Judicial Committee.
    Are the people in these church courts men and women? (Maybe my question was too simple?)

    Bridget – Yes these courts are filled by ordained men. The Session is made up of the elders of the local congregation – then the Presbytery are the Teaching Elders in a given region – then the General Assembly is all the elected representatives of each PCA church – the Standing Judicial Committee functions like the Supreme Court as the final court of appeal. Any church member can press their “case” through these courts if need be.

  120. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Lydia – I’m not going to play games. Do you deny that there have been some pretty ugly things written here and past threads about myself and Trueman? I have already referenced one earlier comment that cryptically suggested knowledge about the “real allegiance” of me and my friends.

    Todd, I don’t live or make my living in the Evangelical World so I doubt we have the same paradigm about accountability when it comes to our actions/words. So I doubt we would be on the same page about what pastors think are “ugly things said”.

    I am not sure they would last five minutes in the real world.

  121. @ Todd Pruitt:
    Todd you are playing games in my opinion. You come on here blasting us and calling a Slanders. Do you know how many times we’ve heard that when we spoke the truth when we were in sgm churches. We saw awful things done committed by leadership and then were told we were slanderers by the very men who are committing such grievous acts.

    You might want to tone down your use of the word slander and your defensive posture before you come in here telling us how (ed.) to feel about Carl’s timid and late critiques.

    I lost every single friend I had in Sgm when I took the same stance and made the same statement you just made. That their governance was wrong and was open to abuse.

    We’ve all lost people to this cult. Some people have lost their innocence to this cult.

    And these men stood by and did nothing. Nothing nothing nothing. And when we did speak out, we were called slanderers.

    You might want to think about that.

  122. Bridget wrote:

    Are the people in these church courts men and women? (Maybe my question was too simple?)

    Todd responded:

    Bridget – Yes these courts are filled by ordained men. The Session is made up of the elders of the local congregation – then the Presbytery are the Teaching Elders in a given region – then the General Assembly is all the elected representatives of each PCA church – the Standing Judicial Committee functions like the Supreme Court as the final court of appeal. Any church member can press their “case” through these courts if need be.

    Todd, you answered “yes, these courts are filled by ordained men.”

    So, are you saying that the courts are MEN ONLY? Your “yes” above only dealt with men. Are women ever allowed in the courts?

  123. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Bridget – Yes these courts are filled by ordained men.

    Then the answer is really NO. The courts are made up of men only. The way you answer my question is certainly interesting. But it leaves me to believe that half the body of Christ in your denomination don’t seem to be of importance in your courts.

  124. The PCA does not ordain women to any church office. Todd said “filled with ordained men”. Women can serve as nonordained deacons in some churches as far as I understand. What do you mean, JAS, by “are women ever allowed in the courts”? If you mean as rulers of the courts, No. If you mean as witnesses, plaintiffs, and defendants, Yes.

  125. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    I’m not going to play games. Do you deny that there have been some pretty ugly things written here and past threads about myself and Trueman? I have already referenced one earlier comment that cryptically suggested knowledge about the “real allegiance” of me and my friends.

    I’m not going to play games either. Stop pointing to the “few” comments that may have been harsh in your judgement and continue to answer the others. Most all of the comments here have been quite civil. Carl could do the same.

  126. Julie Anne and Bridget,

    The PCA believes that the Scriptures teach that the office of elder is to be held by men (godly, qualified, mature, etc.) only. Not going to enter into a discussion of that here. It is what it is. As such, when it comes time to “rule” on any judicial matter before a Session (local church), Presbytery (regional Church), or General Assembly (national Church), the ruling will be made by men only.

    That being said, women are not just welcome but NEEDED in every part of the proceedings before a court. The Session, when it believes a person needs to be charged with sin, may appoint any communing member of their church to serve as the Prosecutor, man or woman. The accused may be represented by any communing member of his or her church, man or woman. Both parties call witnesses, both men and women. In addition, the proceedings are public proceedings and so the elders charged with rendering a final decision do well to gather the wisdom of the wisest members of the church, whether male or female, before coming to a conclusion.

  127. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    He didn’t condemn Mahaney so he must be a compromising and dishonest huckster” – that is slander.

    First, welcome to TWW. I am at a conference and have been occupied this afternoon.

    I want to clear up one point. Slander is knowingly telling a lie. That is how our courts define it and that is how the Bible defines it. I wrote a post called Slander or An Inconvenient Truth.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/03/18/slander-or-an-inconvenient-truth/

    To make a judgement based on aspects of what has occurred is not slander. It is telling the truth the way that the person sees it. It could be wrong. It might be overstated. But it is most assuredly not slander which I believe is the most overused word in the church today closely followed by the word winsome.

    I think it is most important for leaders to understand just how their actions and words are interpreted by those of us on the outside. When one makes a statement publicly, one must be prepared to see how the public perceives it. That is not slander. It is perception and I think it is important to not retreat behind the claims of slander and instead dialogue as to why people believe something is true.

  128. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    I will call out slander when I see slander. I have been slandered in the past.

    I wonder if you have been misunderstood more than slandered. Are you saying people knowingly told lies about you?

  129. pcapastor wrote:

    and simply said, “CJ Mahaney is not even IN ‘ministry’ as properly understood, in that he is untrained and essentially self-ordained, so there is no way I can come to a place of declaring him either qualified or unqualified for ministry — Detwiler too for that matter. Come back to me if or when either of them actually become ministers of the gospel as defined by the New Testament.”

    I don’t know a whole lot about the PCA but I do know they take their processes seriously from my time working on certain projects with their Seminary here. You’ve made an interesting point which makes me wonder why other PCA pastors involved in this situation are not concerned?

    I say the same for the SBC. I have never been in an SBC church that did not have an ordained pastor from one of the seminaries. I know the SBC is not as strict and her churches are autonomous but still it is unusual.

    Yet, SGL has joined the SBC with a pastor that has no education or ordination from the SBC unless Mohler arranged it. And that is a possibility. Who knows. Stranger things have happened from that movement.

  130. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    There are some very ugly things being said about him because he didn’t suddenly become convinced of all the accusations made against Mahaney.

    Yet he did make a judgement call, exonerating him in the eyes of some leaders. Perhaps he shouldn’t have commented whatsoever.

  131. This was a great broadcast. They discussed the issues straightforwardly and discreetly. Very effective.

    I had a really dynamic youth pastor back in the late 70s. One of the most passionate speakers I ever heard. He suffered from polio and cystic fibrosis. He lived until his late 40s, which is unusual for a person with CF. Some of his talks from 20 years ago have now been put out, and I have had fun listening to them.

    He said something about a pastor friend of his in one of the talks that stuck with me. I think it has relevance for so many of the issues that are discussed here. This is what my former youth pastor said about his friend:

    “When I am with Peter (who was a famous author and pastor), I always get the feeling that he loves Jesus more than the system.”

  132. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    But to conclude that we are scum or cowards or some of the other things we have been called because we don’t want to draw conclusions for which we lack evidence is unChristian.

    Have you seen the list of names that we have been called? We now have a list called “What the world is saying about TWW.” Humor goes a long way in defusing situations.

    It is important to respond to the allegation and take the high road as much as possible. Consistent kindness and love in responses can do much to witness to the inner man. Wade Burleson is a great example of one who can do this.

  133. I want to reemphasize my appreciation for Todd–just a bit more from my experience.

    There is much documentation (even acknowledged by some would consider CJ a friend and colleague) regarding the toxic, cult-like environment that pervaded both CLC and SGM at large. The best leadership training, and examples, sadly have not been in church, but for me personally, from my military days a generation ago.

    Organizational failures are always leadership failures. A toxic church culture, just like a toxic unit culture in the military, reflects toxic leadership. In the military when it functions well, it is not the unit or organization that takes the blame for the toxic, dysfunctional culture–the leadership is held accountable, and the axe falls swiftly.

    Church leadership often, and in my experience with the NeoCalvinist strain, operates in the exact opposite way. Accountability is primarily for the organization, not for the leadership–both the military and the NeoCalvinist polity are unashamedly authoritarian–the military seems to do it better, in my experience.

    I will admit to this–I think an authoritarian mindset in church leadership falls far short of the glory of God and His purpose for church leaders. I think church leadership should be invitational, rather than imperative. I think young people observe the sometimes abusive words and manipulative behavior by authoritarian church leadership with much more skepticism than my generation–I am glad for this.

    In my experience authoritarian leadership, consciously or unconsciously, (thanks to confirmation bias), hears I am being questioned as I am being slandered. Please understand that I am not ascribing this to Todd–his willingness to dialog is something I respect greatly. But, it has not been my experience with others.

  134. @ Todd Pruitt:

    Once again, I am grateful that you have come over here to dialogue. Please understand that you are addressing a broad spectrum of individuals, some of whom are not even believers. Some here have been victims of child sex abuse or beaten senseless in a marriage. Many have been blown off by their churches.

    They are speaking their pain in their comments. Since you are a Christian leader, it would be wonderful to see you turn the other cheek and answer them as you would wish to be addressed. This is a great opportunity to reach out to many victims who are wounded, some quite seriously.

    I have to get back to my conference and will check in in three hours.

  135. GSD wrote:

    I did find it odd that the folks on the show kept referring to “the Reformed faith,” as if it were a belief system separate from basic Christianity.

    Hadn’t thought about that, but you’re right. The has become “There is no Christianity, only the reformed faith.”

  136. Al Mohler is says in a video that where else will people go for to biblical teaching if not to churches he blesses…. I guess the teaching in my church is wrong….

    JeffT wrote:

    GSD wrote:
    I did find it odd that the folks on the show kept referring to “the Reformed faith,” as if it were a belief system separate from basic Christianity.
    Hadn’t thought about that, but you’re right. The has become “There is no Christianity, only the reformed faith.”

  137. Dee-exactly what I was thinking…thank you for expressing this thought so well..

    Todd-I encourage you to focus on the leadership issues at hand here…perhaps not the small portion of comments from wounded folk you COULD choose to find insulting…

    you can also choose to look past those and begin to see the PAIN caused by these authoritarian structures…it’s enormous…it’s deep…

    And…this leadership structure and resulting abuse were essentially given a “nothing to see here” pass by the three member review panel…and…that is actually a really big deal…and it was a really bad call…

    And it’s ok to question that…

    Please continue to speak out…and please listen with a desire to learn, not criticize deliveries….it would be a cool drink of water in Christendom!

    dee wrote:

    @ Todd Pruitt:

    Once again, I am grateful that you have come over here to dialogue. Please understand that you are addressing a broad spectrum of individuals, some of whom are not even believers. Some here have been victims of child sex abuse or beaten senseless in a marriage. Many have been blown off by their churches.

    They are speaking their pain in their comments. Since you are a Christian leader, it would be wonderful to see you turn the other cheek and answer them as you would wish to be addressed. This is a great opportunity to reach out to many victims who are wounded, some quite seriously.

    I have to get back to my conference and will check in in three hours.

  138. Thank you pcapastor and Godith for your helpful explanations.

    Todd, I failed to say thanks to you for the podcast. The bubble part at the beginning was hilarious, as was the Desparado! It’s important to laugh at the ridiculous. Sadly, a whole lot of people respect Martha Peace and CBMW, and won’t see a thing wrong with it. Is it any wonder why women are having difficulty in church? To have complementarians see the foolishness gives me hope.

    It takes boldness to take on the establishment, so thank you for that.

    One thing that has puzzled me about those in your camp is the failure to see that even without the sex abuse cases, CJ is unfit for ministry and shouldn’t be speaking simply because he destroyed his own dynasty with 40 churches and 100 pastors leaving. Obviously something is gravely amiss. What am I missing? Why aren’t people discussing even that aspect? Do you have any idea?

  139. dee wrote:

    But it is most assuredly not slander which I believe is the most overused word in the church today closely followed by the word winsome.

    Also: “bitter,” “intentional,” “missional,” “radical,” “gospel” 🙂

    I might be forgetting a few.

  140. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    I am going to speak up for my friend Carl because he will not do it. Some of the things I have seen written about him in the comments section of this blog border (at least) on slander.

    You must remember the limited scope of Carl’s work with SGM. He was asked to, along with several others to review the hundreds of pages of documents that had been dumped into the public record. Please remember that this was BEFORE any of us knew about allegations of covering up child sexual abuse. The finding of that committee is that those documents did not reveal anything that was necessarily disqualifying for ministry. Full stop. In fact, the documents did reveal that the application of confession of sin by SGM churches was a bit weird. I read the documents and, quite frankly, I couldn’t find a “smoking gun.”

    So let’s please stop repeating the lie that somehow Carl Trueman found CJ Mahaney, SGM, and CLC shining exmaples of personal and institutional health. He simply came to the same conclusion that I had reached about the hundreds of pages of documents released through Brent Detwiler.

    I’m sorry – slander? That’s a very hasty and unjust conclusion to jump to. I’m one of those commenters who probably committed the alleged slander. The question about Carl Trueman’s previous involvement is a legitimate one. Asking a question about it is perfectly reasonable. In the absence of clear indication from him, even speculative questions are reasonable. Dismissively referring to it all as bordering on slander is beyond the pale.

    Slander is attacking someone’s character. Not asking questions about them. That does not come close to slander else every lawyer examining a witness would be guilty of the same.

    Dare I say this appears to me to reiterate my biggest problem with evangelicalism today – this disdain for and discouragement of asking pointed questions by claiming the moral high ground and throwing out accusations of gossip and slander to shut down those questions.

    Especially with those who harp continually about the “reformed” faith. The reformation happened because pointed and necessary questions were asked. Ironic isn’t it?

    Isn’t shutting down the questions and covering up exactly what Mahaney and co have done?

    Do we really want to persist with similar authoritarian attitudes? I think, sir, you and your colleagues need to be less defensive. We appreciate you saying what you did but people have been waiting years for someone in your positions to say something…anything about the cancer in the church. It is only natural that people expect you to be more pointed and unambiguous and clarify your own role in the culture that you so rightly decry.

    In my opinion.

    Or would all this also border on slander?

  141. Julie Anne Smith wrote:

    One thing that has puzzled me about those in your camp is the failure to see that even without the sex abuse cases, CJ is unfit for ministry and shouldn’t be speaking simply because he destroyed his own dynasty with 40 churches and 100 pastors leaving. Obviously something is gravely amiss. What am I missing? Why aren’t people discussing even that aspect? Do you have any idea?

    What I don’t get, and this has nothing to do with Todd, is why he was accepted into the sbc!! Information was already out and about at that point, right, at least enough to have given people pause. Why invite a potential problem into your org when you don’t have to?

    I mean, I feel like the answer is a combination of money and the (reformed?) good ole boy system…

  142. Todd,

    Thank you for the articles, podcast and for being willing to take a stand for what is right regarding CJ speaking at T4G. Your participation here sends a much needed message to many others who have discarded the wounded among us and who have failed to accurately represent Christ to a watching world.

    Wallace & Happymom

  143. @ Todd Pruitt:

    “But demanding certain answers and then making pronouncements about a man’s character most certainly is slander.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    Todd, no one has demanded a darn thing. Comments are all along the lines of what the commenters feel is appropriate, right, fair, and honest.

    what you call ‘pronouncements about a man’s character’ are simply examples of how every human being draws conclusions based on data perceived. anyone with a scintilla of awareness is constantly taking in data and forming conclusions. it’s automatic. it means we have brains.

    in this case, you disagree with the conclusions. fair enough. but, good grief, man, don’t call it slander. I suspect you’re a reasoned enough person to resist this kind of a learned response.

  144. Daisy wrote:

    dee wrote:

    But it is most assuredly not slander which I believe is the most overused word in the church today closely followed by the word winsome.

    Also: “bitter,” “intentional,” “missional,” “radical,” “gospel” 🙂

    I might be forgetting a few.

    flourish

    I cringe now every time I heard that word in any setting.

  145. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Actually my allegiance is to Christ. I specify “the Reformed Faith” to allow people to know where I am coming from. I believe the Westminster Standards represent a clear and accurate summation of the doctrine found in Scripture. I am a confessional Presbyterian because I believe it to be biblical. So please don’t slander me or my friends by suggesting that our loyalty is grounded somewhere other than Jesus.

    I am not slandering you. You only reworded what I said. You feel that the reformed faith is the biblical faith so you have given it allegiance. I guess maybe you’d use another word, perhaps loyalty?

    I think the point that was being made is the reformed leaders tend to speak of reformed thought and not of the Bible or Christianity in general.

  146. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    I am going to speak up for my friend Carl because he will not do it. Some of the things I have seen written about him in the comments section of this blog border (at least) on slander.
    You must remember the limited scope of Carl’s work with SGM. He was asked to, along with several others to review the hundreds of pages of documents that had been dumped into the public record. Please remember that this was BEFORE any of us knew about allegations of covering up child sexual abuse. The finding of that committee is that those documents did not reveal anything that was necessarily disqualifying for ministry. Full stop. In fact, the documents did reveal that the application of confession of sin by SGM churches was a bit weird. I read the documents and, quite frankly, I couldn’t find a “smoking gun.”
    So let’s please stop repeating the lie that somehow Carl Trueman found CJ Mahaney, SGM, and CLC shining exmaples of personal and institutional health. He simply came to the same conclusion that I had reached about the hundreds of pages of documents released through Brent Detwiler.

    Todd, I too believe all three of you have done the cause of Christ a great service by speaking out, and I am also sorry that you have lost friends over it. I appreciate the way that you are willing to interact on this blog.

    However, with respect, I have to question Carl’s conclusions back in 2011. Brent Detwiler’s papers revealed shocking behaviour on CJ’s part, particularly his blackmailing of Larry Tomczak’s son. In addition, at that time there was at least two websites, SGM Refuge and SGM Survivors, full of horror stories from SGM churches, people who were bullied and abused by an authoritarian system that CJ created and presided over. Many of these people had their faith seriously damaged or even destroyed by the way they were treated by church leaders. And yes, that’s the reformed faith you all value so highly.

    That’s why the decision to pronounce CJ fit for ministry shocked so many people. Even without the court cases, it was abundantly clear that CJ was a manipulative and controlling man who was doing great harm, both directly and through SGM churches. How could anyone exonerate him? The same happened with Mark Driscoll – huge concerns were ignored until he became a liability. Everything suggests that the evangelical establishment contains so many vested interests that it is incapable of policing itself.

    Going back to your podcast, I do need to say that the problems in SGM were not just the covering up of child molestation that you focus on. In fact, that was a consequence of their approach. The causes are what the wider church really needs to address: authoritarianism, a desire to protect reputations rather than support victims, leaders who were not accountable to the people they serve, a theology that treats women as subordinate, inferior or even disposable, a hierarchical structure, a lack of checks, balances, and democratic processes, and the corrupting effect of money, status, and power. You only mentioned some of these. Put them together, as happened in SGM, and you are guaranteed to get a toxic church that will hurt people.

    Forgive this minor rant but I’m sure you understand. Thank you once again for speaking out. More please.

  147. siteseer wrote:

    I think the point that was being made is the reformed leaders tend to speak of reformed thought and not of the Bible or Christianity in general.

    And so do Catholics and Orthodox Christians amongst probably others. Most Baptists naturally identify as Baptists rather than Christians. I don’t think Reformed folks are unique in this.

  148. Daisy wrote:

    dee wrote:

    But it is most assuredly not slander which I believe is the most overused word in the church today closely followed by the word winsome.

    Also: “bitter,” “intentional,” “missional,” “radical,” “gospel”

    I might be forgetting a few.

    How about “passion” and “awesome”? The latter almost never used in referring to God Himself.

  149. And that is why I have jettisoned all of the terms and just tell people when asked, I am a Christian.

    Lose the labels.

    i know we find comfort in the like mindedness. However, I am disciple of Christ, not Apollos, not Paul, no Martin Luther, not Calvin, not Baptist.

    Sure, maybe influenced and brought up in one or some, but now I study the Bible and let Spirit guide me as Jesus said it would.

    I know that is scary, esp. to the Reformed. You, you , you might come up with some heresy. You might not believe in the pre-trib rapture or that the gifts have ceased.

    Well, I know one thing for sure, those are not litmus tests for salvation.

    In fact, saying that Satan is doing something, when it might be the Spirit is dangerous, but I realize for many the gifts have ended. Just be careful there. Not going all Benny Hinn on you guys, but be open to the Spirit moving. Heck, most pastors claim they felt a call of God, but when the rank and file say God impressed upon me, look out. Can’t have that.

    You see, most of what passes for church at least in this country is about country and authoritarianism as our dear hosts point out. The abuse, pedophile, complmentarianism, and all that other stuff is all about country. That is not to take away from the damage and disgust, it is just the end result one would expect from the control freak issue. Tangentially, these are symptoms of a celebrity, build my brand, high salaried pastors as well, although this goes on even in small churches, I concede.

    Again, Barna and others run around interviewing and observing churches and still can’t figure out what is happening. Look around with your eyes open. Believers are catching on. The jig is up. People are waking from the slumber. 20 somethings want authenticity. People are fed up with covering up crimes. People are fed up with covering for crooks. People are fed up with hypocrisy. People are fed up with knowing something, but not doing anything, especially those with power and preaching the word.

    Judgment begins in the house of the Lord and it is coming and when it does, churches will empty so fast it will be mind-boggling.

    Just a quest for all the Neo-Cons and conservatives among us. If women can’t do this and can’t do that, how come they can talk in church? Didn’t Paul write that a woman should remain quiet in church? Yeah, I get it, you will twist that scripture into a pretzel because in your heart you know if this was the way church was done, no one would be left except old widowed dudes, and maybe not even them. Talk about hypocrisy.

    Sorry for the length and rant, but this crap has to end.

    Here and now.

    Sorry for the sarc, but Todd welcome to the party, even if you and the others are late. No better than the Catholic church cover ups. But hey, it’s all good.

    Yeah, I am pissed because this is serious, but I guess all sin is equal in your minds. Piddling kids is ok as long as I confess it. Sexually abusing others is OK if confessed. I seem to remember someone saying something about a millstone, the sea, and causing little ones to stumble. Yeah, more twisting, little ones are the disciples. Heard JMac try to pawn that off.

    Sorry, pissed.

  150. @ Sallie Borrink:

    It was weird to me.
    I grew up hearing Presbyterian, Episcopal, Catholic, Methodist, Dutch Reformed, etc but never ever did I hear anyone call themselves just, Reformed, until the last 15 years or so.

    People tended to refer to themselves in terms of denomination not Doctrine. It has been a new one on me.

  151. Sallie Borrink wrote:

    And so do Catholics and Orthodox Christians amongst probably others. Most Baptists naturally identify as Baptists rather than Christians. I don’t think Reformed folks are unique in this.

    I agree.

  152. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Lydia – With all due respect Carl Trueman does not owe you answers. And based upon the way some of these threads go I would discourage him from doing it.

    Todd – the problem with taking this line is that CJ wasn’t A Random Pastor leading A Random Church. He was a very public figure, with a very public (and deliberately expansive) ministry. To that extent anyone being called in to do due diligence had to consider the wider context within which CJ was operating and their responsibilities to the Church beyond CLC.

    You have stated that detailed examination of some of the documents the didn’t raise serious concerns – [though you also said that you do not believe they had a healthy culture overall because of their belief in apostles and the way in which they used ‘sheparding’ – I make allusions to this in my original comment]. The problem is that the final statement the committee released was anything but qualified.

    Taking these two things together, I don’t really see an issue with the wider church asking serious questions of the committee members – after all to a large extent they were being brought in precisely because they had a certain reputation outside CLC.

    [Finally. yes – there are all sorts of malcontents on the internet. However when a church starts being hit by accusations from large numbers people who had previously been dedicated to the church – many at a leadership level – then questions do have to be asked. Whether or not the actual accusations are true – this always indicates that the church culture itself is broken in some way. The TeamPyro folk were generally more favorable to taking this tack in the case of Mark Driscoll (and indeed CT on one of your previous podcasts commends them for doing so!) and completely unwilling to do the same in the case of CJ].

  153. Julie Anne Smith wrote:

    failure to see

    It should be obvious by now, that there is a great dearth of discernment within New Calvinism. The reformed leaders cannot “see” because they have been blinded by popularity and celebrity, rising from places of obscurity to the applause of a great following. Their followers cannot “see” because they have elevated an old dead man (Calvin) and a handful of Calvinist elite above Christ. Indeed, the living Jesus appears to have very little place in their belief and practice. It’s disturbing to see so many folks in their 20s-40s falling for this. Yes, they have returned to church, but as their idols continue to fall, many are leaving disillusioned and may never return.

  154. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    I will call out slander when I see slander. I have been slandered in the past. It is terribly painful for people to say damaging things about you that simply are not true. It is a grievous sin. It is not my intention to shut down conversation or I would have bolted from this thread when I read some of the things being written about me and Trueman and our motivations that were ugly and untrue.

    Can you do me a favor and use the right word? If the falsehood is written, it is *libel*. If it’s spoken, it’s *slander*. Consequently, any alleged falsehoods you may be protesting against on this blog are *libel*. If it’s from over the pulpit, it’s *slander*.

    As a former attorney, this misuse of the definition of slander are driving me bonkers. Thanks!

  155. Lydia wrote:

    @ Sallie Borrink:

    It was weird to me.
    I grew up hearing Presbyterian, Episcopal, Catholic, Methodist, Dutch Reformed, etc but never ever did I hear anyone call themselves just, Reformed, until the last 15 years or so.

    People tended to refer to themselves in terms of denomination not Doctrine. It has been a new one on me.

    Yes. In addition, I think it was always understood that baptist was a subset of Christian, not the whole thing. It sounds strange to my ear too.

  156. Lea wrote:

    It is almost impossible to tell reality from satire anymore.
    You know, I have to apologize to the liberals who have been banging on about evangelical Christians and how all this crazy stuff is being promoted. I honestly thought they were nuts, because I grew up in church and it just wasn’t like this. It wasn’t perfect, but no one ever talked like this. You guys do good work in calling it out.

    Lea, I have exactly the same thoughts about this: that’s why I pulled your quote here.

    I’m going to add to it: Before I started reading TWW and Warren Throckmorton, I had no idea why there were so many Nones and Dones. Now I get it. It is impossible to say what _would_ have happened, but I’ll venture a guess that I’d be a Done had I stayed much longer in my former church (or even denomination), as it has headed toward this nutz stuff.

    These groups have done the devil’s work in other ways, twisting concepts and words, bending them or erasing them from the vocabulary so we can’t even have a conversation anymore. Think about it: Is it not a good thing to have people who help you do what you say you are going to do? That is, hold you accountable? But you can’t talk about it anymore because “accountability” is now twisted. As are these words, jobs, actions, concepts: pastor, discipline, obedience, elder, worship service, communion, fellowship, healing, love, giving, tithe, community, gospel, church, community, masculine, feminine, grace, male, female, submission, mission, reform, repentance, forgiveness, sin, virtue, holiness, evil, demons, baptism, confession. I’m sure there are more; these are just off the top of my head.

    These people who have twisted or destroyed the meanings of these words have driven many away from the Christian church for good…because now, even when they are used in true Christian life, they have been tainted and no longer mean the same thing as they should. The Done.s have no way of knowing whether they are hearing the truth or a lie–the words are the same at this point. That is an enormous loss to those who *would* hear the truth, who seek it.

  157. @ Chris S:
    While I am thrilled pastors and theologians are even addressing the issue at all, there is something that really bothers me from most of them to date. They will link to Detwiler, the Washingtonian, the NYT, etc, but they refuse to acknowledge the survivors/bloggers.

    So, to them, credible sources are other pastors or the secular media. Not the people who were actually there and harmed. This does not bode well for the future of Christendom.

    I saw the same exact pattern when it came to Driscoll.

  158. Max wrote:

    It should be obvious by now, that there is a great dearth of discernment within New Calvinism. The reformed leaders cannot “see” because they have been blinded by popularity and celebrity, rising from places of obscurity to the applause of a great following. Their followers cannot “see” because they have elevated an old dead man (Calvin) and a handful of Calvinist elite above Christ. Indeed, the living Jesus appears to have very little place in their belief and practice. It’s disturbing to see so many folks in their 20s-40s falling for this. Yes, they have returned to church, but as their idols continue to fall, many are leaving disillusioned and may never return.

    Anyone with any measure of detachment can see that these people have become more committed to their grid than Christ.

    I loved the opening segment of the podcast because it shows how ridiculous a slavish devotion to a grid can become. I could not believe when I read the original piece that CBMW was now promoting micro-managing dishwashing as healthy complementarianism. They are doubling down in all the wrong ways and look ridiculous. They are committed to their theological grid at all costs. They will not back up and consider things with a discerning eye. It’s full steam ahead because they will not allow their “opponents” one measure of credibility. They would rather enslave people to unbiblical burdens than admit they were wrong. They don’t think of it that way, but that’s what it boils down to just the same.

    It’s the same thing with T4G and TGC folks. They are committed to their grid at all costs – even when everyone around them can see that they have moved beyond sincerely held beliefs to doubling down in scandalous ways (such as CJ speaking last week).

    When groups start doubling down in the worst ways and lose any sense of objectivity, it’s only a matter of time before it all collapses. We’ve seen it before and it’s inevitable again.

  159. PaJo, Lydia, and Sallie….

    Amen on all three of your last comments. Couldn’t have said it better.

  160. Sallie Borrink wrote:

    They are committed to their theological grid at all costs.

    No doubt about it! I have talked to several young, restless and reformed in my area. They truly believe – as indoctrinated by their idols – that they have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the true gospel that non-Calvinists have lost! They are passionate to the point of militancy to bring in a new reformation to the church. As reported on TWW, they are not beyond stealth and deception to accomplish their mission. There may be a dearth of discernment in New Calvinism, but the movement is not lacking in arrogance!

  161. Hi Todd,
    Thank you, Carl and Aimee for speaking so clearly and bravely. You perhaps have more to lose than some of us. I just brought up my concerns to the elders at my church-exactly what you brought up in the podcast- and was told that I can’t be critical towards these great men of God. I now feel like I have a scarlet letter on me for speaking up. But the loss of friends is nothing compared to what some children and families have suffered . People are more important than institutions or the false reputations of false shepherds.
    Please keep speaking out, and please listen to and learn from the people here, some of whom have been badly hurt in the name of Christ.
    @ Todd Pruitt:

  162. @ToddPruitt

    Thank you for interacting with us. Also, thank you for standing up for your friend.
    I so appreciate what you, Carl and Aimee have done by speaking the truth.
    I’m not sure I can communicate clearly what I want to express but I will try. First, I was a member of a SGC for over 13 years. I think it is hard for someone who has not been involved with SG to understand the culture that exists within the churches that are a part of that organization. The term “slander” can be a trigger word for many of us who are no longer a part of SG.I wouldn’t expect you to know that. I’m not making excuses for anyone- just hoping to shed some light. In most SG churches members did not really have the freedom to discuss any issue regarding a pastor; it was almost always seen as slander/gossip. Even if you were respectful, even if you went to the source of the problem – you would more than likely be seen as divisive. This was especially true during the time when CJ was still president and when he stepped down. I’m guessing that has not changed.
    I realize that Carl was/is probably unaware of how his decision about CJ being fit for ministry was promoted in the SG churches. It was used in such a way to silence the critics, anyone asking questions etc.. After all if a panel of three Godly men said CJ was fit then the rest of us should accept that and go on. “Nothing to see here ” I realize that Carl had no control of how the decision was used but I thought it might be helpful for you to know. I don’t think he owes me anything. I am truly grateful that he is speaking up.

  163. Wakingup wrote:

    I just brought up my concerns to the elders at my church-exactly what you brought up in the podcast- and was told that I can’t be critical towards these great men of God. I now feel like I have a scarlet letter on me for speaking up. But the loss of friends is nothing compared to what some children and families have suffered . P

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are a hero.

  164. Todd is going a little over board with the slander card. Speculation and asking questions because things have not been made publicly clear is not slander. I’m not sure who he is accusing of having slandered as I haven’t read the whole thread. I do appreciate the clarification.
    @ GSD:

  165. “Carl Trueman does not owe you an answer.” So it comes down to mere obligation? Staying quiet in response to the question isn’t going to make it go away.

    I want to say that Carl Trueman’s writings were very helpful to me back in the 2008-2010 time frame when I was in my own personal journey of leaving the “Young Restless, and Reformed” movement. I saw many things wrong with the movement. In fact I may have been the person who put Lydia and Dee onto the financial donations of Mahaney & SGM to the CBMW & SBTS. But I had many self-doubts. Was I just bitter? Was I going crazy under stress? I’d actually agree with you that sometimes this blog has “speculated” a little too far and bordered on slander. I quit reading it for a while, although in fairness, I think they’ve been very moderate and reasonable lately.

    That being said, the fact is Carl Trueman signed his name to a statement declaring C.J. Mahaney fit for ministry. I do take notice that it was a narrowly defined statement and within those narrow definitions, I don’t have a problem with it. But the very fact the authors went to great lengths to be clear they were only dealing with the Detwiler documents tells me they were well aware that much more grave accusations were out there. A man with Dr. Trueman’s discernment should have known that the statement would be used very broadly by Mr. Mahaney to whitewash everything.

    It’s a black mark on Carl Trueman’s record. The longer it goes unaddressed, the more statements to the effect he doesn’t owe any answers are put out there, the darker the stain gets. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad man, it means he made a public mistake he hasn’t publicly owned yet.

  166. To all our readers

    Your comments are wonderful-informative, thoughtful, transparent, etc. I am grateful that Todd Pruitt came over to discuss these issues. Here he has encountered many people who have been stung by abuse within Christian settings. Please join with me in praying that he begins to understand the depth of pain that is felt by those who have been abused.

    I am at a conference with my husband in Asheville. My family members are with my mother in law who is still stable although she is getting more fatigued.

  167. Sallie Borrink wrote:

    siteseer wrote:
    I think the point that was being made is the reformed leaders tend to speak of reformed thought and not of the Bible or Christianity in general.
    And so do Catholics and Orthodox Christians amongst probably others. Most Baptists naturally identify as Baptists rather than Christians. I don’t think Reformed folks are unique in this.

    You’re absolutely right, and it’s something people need to make sure they don’t do. I have cousins who became Orthodox, and as my mother likes to say, sometimes converts can be overly-enthusiastic.

  168. Here’s the deal, Todd. The stuff in sgmsurvivors.com/the-stories has been described by many in Reformed circles as slanderous, divisive, petty, malcontentedness, you name it, for years. You guys are all enmeshed, as much as you like to think yourselves separate. Some self awareness would be appropriate. I think it’s time you in the Reformed community owned that some healthy anger on the ordinary Christian side is just as valid as your own feeling now that Carl is being slandered. None of you are better than anyone else just because you have a platform. It’s high time you were responsible for how those high platforms have influenced people. No one is accusing Carl of supporting CJ, but many Christians would like to hear him speak directly to the situation, seeing as he was involved in the past. I believe that is the right and Christian thing to do. Do not start with the gossip and slander card with people like us who have followed this thing since 2013. We have no patience left for that nonsense. Maybe take a little on the chin as many ordinary Christians have for quite some time. You have no idea how many friends I’ve lost in your circles for being angry at sin.
    @ Todd Pruitt:

  169. Indeed. Praying much for all. And Todd, we love you and thank you all for speaking out. Carl and Aimee too.
    @ dee:

  170. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    So please don’t slander me or my friends by suggesting that our loyalty is grounded somewhere other than Jesus.

    Dear Todd

    Slander? No. They are reflecting what they see. It may not be comfortable and, deep down inside of you it may not reflect the person you are, but it is in no way slander. Take a step back and think. I have learned so much from those on this blog. They have stretched me and forced me to look at my preconceived notions about myself and others. Most people just want to be heard and all of us could stand to step back and think about what is being said.

    As a Reformed person, you believe that God is sovereign, directing each and every molecule. Could it be that He is allowing you to hear these things to develop a greater empathy for the abused? Could he be challenging you to turn the other cheek and respond in love, even when you feel you have been dissed?

    One thing I sense is that God is afoot in the area of child sex abuse, domestic violence and other forms of abuse within the evangelical/Reformed churches. I am grateful that you came here.

  171. Max wrote:

    Their followers cannot “see” because they have elevated an old dead man (Calvin) and a handful of Calvinist elite above Christ. Indeed, the living Jesus appears to have very little place in their belief and practice. It’s disturbing to see so many folks in their 20s-40s falling for this. Yes, they have returned to church, but as their idols continue to fall, many are leaving disillusioned and may never return.

    Amen.

  172. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    I have already referenced one earlier comment that cryptically suggested knowledge about the “real allegiance” of me and my friends.

    Todd, if you are speaking of my earlier comment, I apologize. It was not meant the way that you read it. (Note that I didn’t use the word “real.”) I have nothing to say about your motives, I was addressing my experience that reformed believers tend to speak of the reformed faith as opposed to Christianity in general. I find that very often in discussions, instead of drawing back to the Bible, they tend to quote various reformed theologians, writers, documents or leaders, and how the issue reflects on the reformed faith. Now, as Sallie pointed out above, people of various denominations will do this when speaking on denominational issues. But the reformed faith is more a school of thought that is present in many denominations.

    I am sorry I offended you. I appreciate you commenting here and I’m reading your comments with a great deal of interest. I want you to know that your willingness to speak out on this issue and to come here and interact -and to continue to interact in spite of feeling a bit on the hot-seat- has impressed me. It is really rare to see someone make this much effort towards understanding.

    As I said earlier, I feel cautiously optimistic about this development, and I’m thankful for the 3 of you for speaking out. I am sorry that you’ve lost friends over this; I certainly know what it’s like to lose friends for speaking the truth.

    Please remember that many of us on this blog have been personal recipients of the type of abuse that CJ Mahaney has dealt out, we have painful scars and maybe we tend to speak our minds rather bluntly at times. But I think that overall this is a very civil place. When my church was co-opted, we called for help from our denominational leaders and they did not see an issue with the same kind of behavior that CJ evidenced, either.

    I have not read every comment so maybe I missed the slander you’re referring to but what I have read is not accusation of Carl Trueman but rather questions about how and why he changed his mind and a question as to whether he will speak on that. It doesn’t seem unheard of, to me, that people would ask these things. When CJ was given the ok, a lot of people were hurt.

  173. @ Soarin’:
    Thanks for your comment. I think that was exactly the purpose of the panel that Trueman served on. Many Reformed pastor blogs used the same tactic- godly men declared Mahaney fit for ministry. Your opinion doesn’t count.

    I just wish more people used common sense instead of defaulting to what pastor/theologians say about a colleague. It has a protected class feel to it.

    The people who were there and spoke up in blogs of their experiences in an authoritarian Shepherding cult–matter. And deserve to be heard.

  174. Max wrote:

    they are not beyond stealth and deception to accomplish their mission

    Doesn’t it occur to them that this is really lying and not something good Christians do?

  175. Lydia wrote:

    Your opinion doesn’t count.

    This is probably the concept I hate the most. All of us have eyes to see, ears to hear, a brain and the spirit to help us make decisions. Why would we be told to turn that ability to call it like we see it over to the pastors who have bought into a system – people who are most likely to be influenced by things like money, power and friendship? That’s not logical.

  176. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    I am going to speak up

    Todd, first I want to say thank for the MoS podcast and blog posts that take on some of the problems in “Big Eva”. I believe these are of great value. A value that is not tied to the moment of its administration. It’s beyond time someone said pointed and direct things about the dysfunctional culture that is pervasive in many churches today. A culture that I believe is directly tied to wrong attitudes about the nature and work of the pastorate. I also want you to know that should you lose every friend you have for speaking out, I will still be your friend. Should you come to my neck of the woods I would gladly treat you to a steak and scotch.

    I, too, have seen my share of nasty behaviour in the church. I cut my teeth in ministry in a Baptist setting where I met some of the most dysfunctional people you can imagine. I have had people tell lies to me and about me. Witnessed people attack the pastors children because they didn’t like something he said. Try to get an associate pastor fired because his eyebrows were so bushy someone felt intimidated. I also experienced an event that one of my seminary profs said was the worst thing he had ever heard…and this from an older man who has experienced a lot of garbage. I’ve been an expired Baptist (i.e. Presbyterian) now for quite awhile. I get your concerns and understand where you are coming from better than you can possibly know. I hope you hear my words as words of a friend, fellow brother in Christ and as one who deeply loves what is beautiful in the historic Reformed Tradition. Were you within the hearing of my voice you would hear this spoken in the mildest and gentlest of tones. Please hear them now this way.

    1.) I would advise you that the use of the word slander and its cognates in the context of discussing this subject lacks wisdom. That word tends to have a triggering effect on people who have been subjected to hyper authoritarian leaders. Using this word will not enable a good and productive conversation or gain you a hearing for your perspective. In short the use of christianese, doesn’t make you sound biblical, it makes you sound like a jack-wagon. Or at least still a Baptist. I know the tendency among some reformed folks to argue that it doesn’t matter how we say something only whether something is true or not. To such a tendency I would just say please read the book of Proverbs carefully. Holy Spirit was not lying.

    2.) The adorable blog queens, and others on here, have given you gracious responses. I hope you take their words to heart and give yourself an opportunity to learn from another perspective. I know that from time to time some of the commentators here can sound a bit over the top. This can happen for many reasons. Consider that the attitudes you see that you do not like are often reflective of the type of leadership these people have been exposed to. (attitude reflects leadership – Remember The Titans). You would have less anxiety if can just learn to look past those types of responses and instead really engage in a meaningful dialogue with them. I would put a challenge to you to become a semi-regular commenter on this blog. I think it would a significant way for you to experience some growth in how you communicate and think. It may be a bit of a stretch, but growth is good.

    3.) I would ask you to consider where the seemingly self defensive posture in your comments really comes from. Are you still smarting from past bad experiences and just tend to get your knickers in a twist when you hear verbiage that sounds like bad people from your past? If so, please find a way to move past all that for your own mental health and the well being of your family and those you pastor. Consider that one of the effects of the Gospel is to free us from self defensive behaviours, so that we can really love people.

    4.) Consider some things from my own experiences. I grew up in a Southern Baptist mega church (7000). I came to know Christ there and learn some ABC’s of basic discipleship. I am eternally grateful for this. I also was exposed to bad logic, absurd legalism, and shallow theology. Yet I experienced pastors who took the time to know my name and express genuine interest in me. While the senior pastor made a high salary he did not live an extravagant lifestyle his kids went to the same public high I went to. Families from the church were regularly in his home. I witnessed him do personal evangelism.

    In college I was involved in an EV Free Church that exposed me to better preaching and responsible theology and a generally loving congregation. It also had elements of fundamentalism and some of the worse elements of the seeker church tendencies. Still I received benefits that I am grateful for today. This church of about 800 had a pastor who literally knew the first name of every member of the church. He was open and honest, made friends in the congregation easily, did personal evangelism and really cared about distressed people in the church. Later I was involved with an independent church of about 150. The pastor there took me under his wing and helped me learn the ABC of ministry. He was a learner and quite eloquent about the application of theology to the real issues in peoples lives. I also that this pastor was a man with out ego. It didn’t matter to him that someone disagreed with him. He could still find a way to work with them. I saw a church that had literally suffered under decades of toxic leaders spring into new life (eventually). I also saw this man eaten alive by nasty people in the congregation. He eventually suffered a nervous breakdown and is no longer in ministry. I moved on to the PCA. Like many expired Baptists this was a breath of fresh air. Generally a more cultured group of people, serious theology, sensible preaching and generally none of the silly rules that seemingly so easily pervade other sorts of groups. What I also found on a consistent basis is ministers who are highly elevated on the narcissistic spectrum. Men who have a pattern of entitlement, who lie easily, and cannot stand to be disagreed with. Men who don’t engage easily with those who are not like them. And who know how to use the bureaucracy of the church to protect themselves. Consider a quote from a friend who served on the candidates committee here –“the committee knows there are problematic pastors in the presbytery, but it is too hard to deal with. When complaints are made people are forced to say it isn’t true or that it was really their fault.” Does this really reflect what church should be?

    Should I stay with a church whose theology I agree with but have a hard time trusting the character of its leaders, or go somewhere where I have less theological comfort but a greater degree of trust in the character and integrity of the the leaders? Many people are asking this kind of question. In all the churches I attended before the PCA I was not a cultural or theological fit but I saw pastors who were honest, transparent, knowable and possessed believable integrity. I theologically and culturally fit the PCA but stare in disbelief at attitudes and behaviour displayed by pastors. I am not unique in the experience. Many tire at the endless critique of those outside their circles and feel disgusted by the silence at the stink inside.

    5.) FYI – I have only commented twice in five years on a blog. So please don’t get the idea that I am some kid in his mom's basement. I’m 50 and have seen a lot of cr#p (ed.) in the church and have a lot of time to reflect.

    To the Adorable Blog Queens – sorry to leave such a long comment. I will not be back again for awhile. I leave for work at 5 am and don’t have a lot of time for this. Sorry if anybody is offended by some of my quirkier comments.

    Regards

  177. It is logical when you either think you are superior, or you just think you have superior theology/philosophy … I see this in the academic world all the time, just over different academic Sub-fields…..

    Lea wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    Your opinion doesn’t count.
    This is probably the concept I hate the most. All of us have eyes to see, ears to hear, a brain and the spirit to help us make decisions. Why would we be told to turn that ability to call it like we see it over to the pastors who have bought into a system – people who are most likely to be influenced by things like money, power and friendship? That’s not logical.

  178. @ Lea:
    I don’t think a way to “properly” communicate disagreement or dissent really exists in that world. I think they spend a lot of time nitpicking the way uncomfortable things are communicated instead of hearing the real message. The word and tone police.

    If there is one thing I have learned about dealing with the abused it is to just let them talk in whatever way they need to talk. Eventually they will articulate themselves better. And that is the really sad part because the very people who need to listen will accuse them of being over-emotional, unstable, bitter, etc etc. (Well duh! Traumatic events have a way of doing that. No one, and I mean no one, expects to be abused by their Church and those who say they are representing Jesus Christ)

    There are stages to Healing. Sometimes I am a bit amused that some of them finally feel the freedom to cuss in a rebellious way. Not attending church feels rebellious tothem! So let them rip! I am totally convinced our Lord understands their pain. After all, much of the pain was caused in His name.

    Victims of all sorts of abuse are always held to a higher standard than those who protect the abusers. Pastors can either focus on protecting their turf/tribe or they can decide to be pastoral.

    Just remember that every time we walk with a victim through their darkness and healing– we are pastors. “Pastor” in the way I believe scripture is teaching as a function- a verb. Not an Institutional office with a platform to speak from to the masses. It’s not about Doctrine, it’s people.

    Christendom has a horrible historical track record in that regard. We can change that. One precious broken and hurt person at a time.

    To paraphrase Peter, silver and gold I do not have but I can give you my ears.

  179. Ron Oommen wrote:

    Daisy wrote:
    dee wrote:
    But it is most assuredly not slander which I believe is the most overused word in the church today closely followed by the word winsome.
    Also: “bitter,” “intentional,” “missional,” “radical,” “gospel”
    I might be forgetting a few.
    How about “passion” and “awesome”? The latter almost never used in referring to God Himself.

    And “humble”. Let’s not leave that one out!

  180. This is exactly why, although I appreciate greatly this podcast, the political maneuvering Carl’s name is unfortunately attached to must be appropriately addressed directly by him. Paul opposed Peter to his face when he was clearly in the wrong, and it’s ok to admit it when we are wrong. Fwiw I’ve been insensed lately at the evangelical church that is so afraid of not being nice it has forgotten to be kind. In my frustration I have myself taken it too far. The issues, however, remain.

    What Lydia underlines below is the impact of Carl apparently exonerating a likely narcissist, just as TGC smearing a rape victim to support a celebrity friend then never apologizing, and Challies insisting on “learning less not more” while closing comments, to give some examples.

    For better or for worse, and despite positive motivations, those with platform sided with the already powerful against those who had already been hurting for years before the rest of the church knew about it, because of serious spiritual abuse on top of other abuses, including sexual abuse.

    I’m not sure those at Grace To You, for example, even believe spiritual abuse is a thing. So indeed let’s just call it bullying, because that’s basically what it is, and many with influence in evangelicalism have unwittingly and lately brazenly taken part in bullying victims of-sadly-bullying. Rather than healing, some prominent people who are called pastors have actually harmed.

    I care, because growing up in ministry circles I have seen it time and time again and no one will speak directly to anything. That’s not how the early church handled things.

    Because of what Lydia describes below, many people with a following have participated in a shutting down of dissent among fellow believers with less or no following. Basically, a lot of us who have seen what is up for some time have been labeled bitter or divisive rather than understood as fellow believers who love God’s people and even those with whom we disagree or by whom we are grieved.

    All because many with influence have been previously too afraid to lose friends or position by speaking the truth. We Christians are told to put aside falsehood and speak truth to one another in love. I have seen a lot of politics and not a lot of love for many years in evangelicalism. I know people outside the church who think we are a cult, and frankly, evangelicals have been acting like one. I certainly reject the label “evangelical” lately.

    What Lydia describes below is the impact of Carl and others’ actions, regardless of motive at the time, on the people of God. It’s a big deal. Ethically and spiritually speaking, it cannot be ignored.

    Lydia wrote:

    @ Soarin’:
    Thanks for your comment. I think that was exactly the purpose of the panel that Trueman served on. Many Reformed pastor blogs used the same tactic- godly men declared Mahaney fit for ministry. Your opinion doesn’t count.

    I just wish more people used common sense instead of defaulting to what pastor/theologians say about a colleague. It has a protected class feel to it.

    The people who were there and spoke up in blogs of their experiences in an authoritarian Shepherding cult–matter. And deserve to be heard.

  181. I must say, I did enjoy the MOS podcast, and will be listening to some of the previous episodes. Their reaction to the “soap bubble” incident mirrored mine exactly.

    I suppose that any of us who trace our spiritual heritage back through the reformers could consider ourselves, in some wider sense, reformed. The whole concept of reformation has been on my mind lately, after listening to Phyllis Tickle. She talks a lot about the concept of reformation, and how the western church seems to have a “big garage sale” every five hundred years or so. Which would suggest that we are almost due for another one. That could be interesting.

  182. dee wrote:

    Here he has encountered many people who have been stung by abuse within Christian settings. Please join with me in praying that he begins to understand the depth of pain that is felt by those who have been abused.

    I hope that Todd will come to realize and be grateful for the opportunity he has in commenting and interacting here. In spite of his misunderstanding of the commenters here and his accusations of ‘slander’, I hope he learns to appreciate this place for what it is. A safe place for honest conversation*.

    (*It is not a safe place for trolls, as we have several experienced troll hunters here who don’t tolerate dishonest conversation.)

  183. About the TGC thing: had they not blocked many for a hashtag supporting victims, I would have stated it was just three men who signed that statement misrepresenting a rape victim and those three who never apologized. But to my knowledge, that statement is still up hosted by TGC website and without qualification nor apology. That is a serious problem.
    Melody wrote:

    This is exactly why, although I appreciate greatly this podcast, the political maneuvering Carl’s name is unfortunately attached to must be appropriately addressed directly by him. Paul opposed Peter to his face when he was clearly in the wrong, and it’s ok to admit it when we are wrong. Fwiw I’ve been insensed lately at the evangelical church that is so afraid of not being nice it has forgotten to be kind. In my frustration I have myself taken it too far. The issues, however, remain.

    What Lydia underlines below is the impact of Carl apparently exonerating a likely narcissist, just as TGC smearing a rape victim to support a celebrity friend then never apologizing, and Challies insisting on “learning less not more” while closing comments, to give some examples.

    For better or for worse, and despite positive motivations, those with platform sided with the already powerful against those who had already been hurting for years before the rest of the church knew about it, because of serious spiritual abuse on top of other abuses, including sexual abuse.

    I’m not sure those at Grace To You, for example, even believe spiritual abuse is a thing. So indeed let’s just call it bullying, because that’s basically what it is, and many with influence in evangelicalism have unwittingly and lately brazenly taken part in bullying victims of-sadly-bullying. Rather than healing, some prominent people who are called pastors have actually harmed.

    I care, because growing up in ministry circles I have seen it time and time again and no one will speak directly to anything. That’s not how the early church handled things.

    Because of what Lydia describes below, many people with a following have participated in a shutting down of dissent among fellow believers with less or no following. Basically, a lot of us who have seen what is up for some time have been labeled bitter or divisive rather than understood as fellow believers who love God’s people and even those with whom we disagree or by whom we are grieved.

    All because many with influence have been previously too afraid to lose friends or position by speaking the truth. We Christians are told to put aside falsehood and speak truth to one another in love. I have seen a lot of politics and not a lot of love for many years in evangelicalism. I know people outside the church who think we are a cult, and frankly, evangelicals have been acting like one. I certainly reject the label “evangelical” lately.

    What Lydia describes below is the impact of Carl and others’ actions, regardless of motive at the time, on the people of God. It’s a big deal. Ethically and spiritually speaking, it cannot be ignored.

    Lydia wrote:

    @ Soarin’:
    Thanks for your comment. I think that was exactly the purpose of the panel that Trueman served on. Many Reformed pastor blogs used the same tactic- godly men declared Mahaney fit for ministry. Your opinion doesn’t count.

    I just wish more people used common sense instead of defaulting to what pastor/theologians say about a colleague. It has a protected class feel to it.

    The people who were there and spoke up in blogs of their experiences in an authoritarian Shepherding cult–matter. And deserve to be heard.

  184. Tomirele wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:

    I will call out slander when I see slander. I have been slandered in the past. It is terribly painful for people to say damaging things about you that simply are not true. It is a grievous sin. It is not my intention to shut down conversation or I would have bolted from this thread when I read some of the things being written about me and Trueman and our motivations that were ugly and untrue.

    Can you do me a favor and use the right word? If the falsehood is written, it is *libel*. If it’s spoken, it’s *slander*. Consequently, any alleged falsehoods you may be protesting against on this blog are *libel*. If it’s from over the pulpit, it’s *slander*.

    As a former attorney, this misuse of the definition of slander are driving me bonkers. Thanks!

    Todd,

    In your 1517 Blog posts, you wrote an entire series about Churches that abuse Pastors. You write quite personally about your experience with Church of the Saviour in Wayne. (Though you did not name the Church within the posts, anyone could easily google it)

    Using you own definition of slander, I would encourage you to go back and re-read those blog posts. I find it incredibly ironic that you took no responsibility for conflict within that Church, who only this past Spring, managed to heal enough to call a replacement pastor.

    I do not believe I have slandered you in any way. I have read several reports by the Elders, the Church consultant, and heard testimonies of those recovering from spiritual abuse as the result of your team’s leadership.

    This is one of the conman issues we have seen with overly authoritative church pastors. They can see it in others, but they just don’t seem to own their own sin. They don’t confess their sins to the “little people”. They don’t exhibit Godly remorse.

  185. Sallie Borrink wrote:

    When groups start doubling down in the worst ways and lose any sense of objectivity, it’s only a matter of time before it all collapses. We’ve seen it before and it’s inevitable again.

    Excellent comment Sallie. Human history is replete with examples of regimes that refused to consider the trade-offs which may very well have ensured their survival.

  186. siteseer wrote:

    Todd, if you are speaking of my earlier comment, I apologize. It was not meant the way that you read it.

    At the end of a long day I’m reading through the comments and I’m struck at unnecessary harshness that Pruitt displayed. It may be that it was not just a comment on this thread but was a response to a number arrows received by many sources. In this case a soft reply from Pruitt would have elicited some sympathy from me along with a much better response and would have built some mutual respect. Instead dragging out the slander accusation shut me down and I had little desire to engage.

    I came from an unhealthy church environment where the use of slander and gossip allegations were used too often. I have found none of us formulate our thoughts perfectly and my first attempts are typically quite flawed. Sometimes my thoughts when put to words didn’t come across well, but answering with an accusation of slander is a poor reply. Yes it may shut down dissent, but it generates much ill will. Thus I would ask Pruitt if his intent was to build understanding here.

    Odd that all those years while it was drummed into me a “soft answer turns away wrath”, not to respond in kind, yet it was not often practiced by those who preached it. So if the beef is with the lack of quality with another person’s comments, then it would do well to measure the words in reply. Pruitt’s slander accusation is another reason I have become so skeptical of leaders, so many do not lead by example.

  187. Todd and Carl, if you read this: I had a creative thought which I will not judge you and hope no one else will for taking or leaving. Here goes: why couldn’t Carl call Janet Mefferd to ask if he could make a statement and do an interview regarding his progression of thought on the SGM situation? I think that could be a healing step for some evangelicals, if all concerned were able to agree to it. Now for me to take some time offline. God bless.

  188. Melody wrote:

    Rose wrote:

    So I’m assuming, here, that Carl Trueman is taking back his previous support of CJ being cleared and fit for a return to ministry?

    This is exactly my concern: if he is pressing forward without being honest about his past associations, this is short-term progress, but ultimately corrupt long-term. Still waiting for some no holds barred honesty and wisdom from evangelicals.

    Or Rats deserting a sinking ship

  189. Lea wrote:

    What I don’t get, and this has nothing to do with Todd, is why he was accepted into the sbc!! Information was already out and about at that point, right, at least enough to have given people pause. Why invite a potential problem into your org when you don’t have to?

    Mahaney donated in excess of $215,000 of his and his denominations money to SBTS. Mohler is a powerful man in the SBC. Mohler and Mahaney are great friends. Any questions?

  190. I want to personally say thanks to Todd Pruitt for the three articles he wrote on his blog last week about the Mahaney/T4G situation.

    I also want to thank Aimee Byrd for her excellent post on her blog titled “Sanctified Testosterone?”

    I also want to thank Carl Trueman for his excellent post on his blog titled the “Cassandra Protocol.”

    I also thank all three of them for their recent podcast on The Mortification of Sin. I have no doubt that they knew their efforts would cost them dearly, yet they chose to speak truthfully and confront the issues within the Christian celebrity culture that we all care about so deeply.

    I also want to thank Todd Pruitt for taking the time to comment on this blog. I think it took courage. I cannot recall another individual in a similar position to ever have done so.

    As Wade Burleson said in his excellent new book “Fraudulent Authority”:

    “The absence of disagreement is not unity; the presence of love in the midst of disagreement is.”

    The actions or lack of actions made by Byrd, Pruitt and Trueman will never satisfy everyone on this forum. That is a given. Nonetheless I feel it would be wise to link arms with friends who are clearly compelled to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” -Proverbs 31:8-9 NLT

    The recent Mortification of Spin podcast is powerful. Truth always is. Those who would defend Mahaney and his enablers have no response to it. So again, thank you Todd, Aimee and Carl. May God richly reward you for your efforts on behalf of the sexually abused. Grace and peace to you.

  191. @ JeffT:
    That is not a new thing. I can still remember the shock I felt reading a Banner (Christian Reformed Journal) issue about 30 years ago. It described people like my husband and me who had left the “faith” to attend other denominations. I still have my Calvinette club workbook that I signed a pledge in the front saying that I pledge the Heidelberg Catechism, The Canons of Dort, and the Belgium Confession ARE the TRUE interpretation of scripture.

  192. @ Sallie Borrink:

    You have a good point. That was my dual experience being raised in a Christian Reformed church alongside my non-Calvinist Baptist fundamental school. Literally, I had teachers ridiculing us kids from the CRC right in the class because of some of our church beliefs and then on Sunday, we would get from our Sunday school teachers. I can’t remember exact words were said that each other couldn’t be Christian but that was jist I grew up with.

  193. Lydia wrote:

    And that is the really sad part because the very people who need to listen will accuse them of being over-emotional, unstable, bitter, etc etc.

    I think that terribly sad. Anger is a part of the grieving process. People who are healing are often grieving. Their anger is all natural and healthy.

    And if you can be emotionally about people being hurt, particularly children, than that in and of itself is a problem. Jesus wept y’all.

  194. This has been very helpful Todd if you are still reading this I would love to ask you a few questions off line I was going to do it here but it seemed out of place. Dee Deb thanks again for what you are posting and doing, you to Julie Anne.

  195. This may be off but watch this

    https://youtu.be/z2CEPBUi8nI

    A few tidbits at around the 1:50 Mark Mr. Piper is extolling how at the throne of God Dawkins, Hitchens etc will be there and God will look at me “piper” and laugh and he goes into a rant. Then later Mr. Piper says something to the effect God write it down in the universe that Piper says. I am not really discussing the validity of the TofE but watch this Video, is it me or is thee a bit of self importance here even while he seems to be trying to point out the Glory of God. I hope this is not to far off topic but I have always gotten the willies from Piper even back in his hay day.

  196. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    @ Todd Pruitt:
    Todd, I don’t do vague. Show the example(s) of slander here, please.
    Lydia – I’m not going to play games. Do you deny that there have been some pretty ugly things written here and past threads about myself and Trueman? I have already referenced one earlier comment that cryptically suggested knowledge about the “real allegiance” of me and my friends.

    Todd, tone is easy to misread on the internet, so let me say that I am a Christian and am deeply disturbed by this conversation. I may not finish articulating what I have to say because I have to get to work, but I went to bed thinking about this and woke up thinking about it. My comments to you are sincere and are an attempt to communicate.

    The disturbance for me and for others is because certain patterns are so familiar. They are familiar and they have been deeply damaging and painful. Brad Futurist Guy has a blog at which he lays out really well what a system of abuse looks like in an organization like a church. I don’t have time to hunt it up before work, but perhaps someone else will link it for you. It’s not about “just” one guy; it’s about how a whole system comes to be which enables the abuse to continue. That is background.

    I have been reading this blog closely enough for long enough to know that Lydia is not a games player. She has very insightful analysis from a meta-perspective of the changes in the SBC as well as understanding at the church level of the dynamics of abusive systems. She can be fierce. But I have never seen her play games. So here’s a question: can you see how when she asks you for evidence and your come back is “I’m not going to play games…I’ve already given one example” that it certainly appears as if you’ve done the very thing that you are incensed about being done to Carl Trueman? It certainly appears to me that you are impugning her motives, and labeling them “cheap”—she’s playing games. What if she is trying to understand where you are coming from? What if you have different definitions of slander and instead of just accusing you of this or that, she is being fair and asking you on what you basing your conclusion that CT has been slandered instead of just debating right off the bat? Again, this is typed in a “tone” that asks sincere questions, though I realize they could be read as rhetorical questions of challenge.

    I hope you might be able to understand these other two points in this regard as well: 1)The various commentators on a blog are all coming from different places. Some on this blog are not Christian believers and so it’s not sensible to hold them to Christian standards. Some are kind of odd birds. Regular readers may ask for specifics as to what you are referencing because regular readers end up reading with a filter: “Oh yeah. That’s X. That’s the kind of thing he says. I’ll apply my X filter and see if there’s anything of substance or if I should just ignore it.”

    2) MANY regular readers on this blog are victims of spiritual abuse. The patterns are discouraging familiar despite changes in the particulars of any given situation. It is devastating on a level that exacerbates whatever kind of abuse it was (whether psychological abuse, bullying or sexual abuse) had that abuse occurred outside a church because spiritual abuse is abuse done in the name of God with the authority of the church and usually the complicity of the church. (See Brad Futurist Guy’s stuff.) That adds a dimension that is profoundly impactful. Even if not reading about one’s own situation, it brings it up. As one character in Spotlight put it (not an exact quote) “He didn’t destroy my sexual innocence. He undermined my faith.” So for victims of spiritual abuse, they are coping with abuse that would be abuse no matter who did it, with their faith shaken, and often *totally cut off from their church community* and not of their own choosing.

    This blog has several people who comment here whose testimony is that they were spiritually abused at CLC.(I am using “spiritual abuse” as the umbrella term to include cover up of sexual abuse but also to include other forms of spiritual abuse that people have testified to.) Unless I have conflated my stories, there is even one person who was a CHILD victim of sexual abuse at CLC (now grown) whose mother testifies that their family was pressured into a meeting between child and the perpetrator. That is part of your target audience here. This is not a debate society, though any blog attracts debaters. You are speaking into very deep pain. Usually that changes how people speak. I want to highlight that for you. I’m going to try to find and respond to one more interaction, but I want to quote it.

  197. At one time I would have called myself proudly Protestant, reformed, non-despensational and so on. Time, and experience with those who still proudly identify in that way, who elevate their fidelity to doctrine in ways that provide ongoing absolution for controlling, manipulative and abusive behavior have caused me to hold those labels at arms length.

    If I could call the reformers out on one thing, it would be their emphasis on the centrality of preaching, which in some ways has become an idol to the YRR crowd. The concept of the centrality of preaching has been distorted by succeeding generations to the centrality of the preacher, now reaching the point where we treat them like rock stars; the naive, unquestioning adulation of these ‘stars’ is beyond words concerning. The early reformers paid a fearsome price for their message; today’s stars extract a fearsome price from the naive and gullible for their preaching. Though the doctrinal content of their messages may be in agreement with the earlier generations, the construct of enriching oneself through the ‘gospel’, I think would be foreign, amassing power–completely foreign.

    It would be so interesting if just one of them would gain the self-awareness of God’s kindness that would lead them to repentance and a renouncing of the destructive patterns of authoritarian leadership. Would it be the thread that would unravel this whole mess? Or is it too late. Judging by the increasing number of Nones–a significant portion think it is the latter. But I have hope…

  198. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Cousin of Eutychus wrote:
    Todd, I think a concern many would have here is how the ‘slander’ club is used by some in authoritarian leadership paradigms to shut down discussion (in my personal experience in a very different circumstance, merely asking questions and offering a critique of behavior and actions was labeled as slander). The conversation ends when the slander club is used.
    From what I read in Brent’s documents, if the type of behavior exhibited by CJ does not disqualify, our standards are very low.
    I will call out slander when I see slander. I have been slandered in the past. It is terribly painful for people to say damaging things about you that simply are not true. It is a grievous sin. It is not my intention to shut down conversation or I would have bolted from this thread when I read some of the things being written about me and Trueman and our motivations that were ugly and untrue.
    As far as what Brent Detwiler has written, I don’t know any human being who has the time to keep up with the sheer volume of his output. That said, I don’t KNOW that the things Detwiler alleges are true. Do you know what he has alleged is true. And by “know” I mean have you seen evidence confirming his accusations?

    I want to comment on the impact of “slander” on victims of spiritual abuse. They are *always* slandered. They have to be. If their testimony is not discredited, the abuser cannot get away with what he’s doing. The slander might be outright: “He (the person accusing me of abuse) is lying.” The slander might be carefully manipulated and insinuated: “There is more to the story.” (ie the person making allegations is telling only partial truth in such a way as to be perpetrating deceit.

    Because of the general beliefs people have about pastors, pastors who play those games are at a great advantage: people are very, very slow to consider the possibility that it is the pastor who is lying or being deceitful. It doesn’t “fit” with their image of pastor. If they hear any evidence of deceit, the organization of their church is at risk because the “face man” is the pastor. We see in every organization from Penn State to the church a propensity to protect itself first. That usually results in a truthful victim being outcast from the church whether as a direct result of church discipline for such charges as “slander” or “being divisive” or being “resistant to authority” etc. or by other, informal (but powerful) means of social and spiritual pressure.

  199. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Deb wrote:
    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    Some of the things I have seen written about him in the comments section of this blog border (at least) on slander.
    Todd,
    As I stated several times in the post, I am grateful for your broadcast. However, I would ask that you be careful using the word ‘slander’ in this discussion. Nothing I have read here could be characterized as such.
    I don’t have a problem with our commenters stating that they wished Carl would have owned the part he played in restoring C.J. Mahaney back to ministry. I said as much in an earlier comment.
    Had Carl come to a different conclusion nearly five years ago, perhaps we could have avoided some of the problems you Carl, and Aimee discussed in your broadcast.
    Asking questions is fine. But demanding certain answers and then making pronouncements about a man’s character most certainly is slander. Carl and I have lost friends over this issue (and others). I’m not asking for any sympathy. But to conclude that we are scum or cowards or some of the other things we have been called because we don’t want to draw conclusions for which we lack evidence is unChristian.

    In the situation of Mahaney and CLC, as I said in a previous post, you have actual human beings who comment here whose testimony is that they were spiritually abused under the leadership of Mahaney including in the most horrific way of being spiritually abused by one’s childhood sexual abuse being dealt with in a way that wounded the victim and gave comfort to the perpetrator. So you have on the one hand, Mahaney’s statements that he is innocent and you also have the testimony of multiple people who testify to his complicity or direct involvement in their abuse, then there is a dilemma. Because neutrality sides with the abuser. It sounds right. “We have to wait until all the evidence is in” but those victims have been waiting for years.

    Think about it. If there is actual abuse, who benefits from others taking a neutral stance? The perpetrator? They get to keep the status quo, which is usually beneficial to them. The victims are also stuck with the status quo in which they are wounded, often outcast, and they are disbelieved. To say, “I’m not sure we have the evidence yet to make a judgment” is to say, “The testimony of the victims is not believable.” I truly understand the desire to be fair to the person being accused. We should be. But I am also trying to point out that that very desire to be fair to the accused is not fair to victims. I am not sure how to approach the dilemma, but I think there are some guidelines. 1) In a he-said/she-said situation, given that one side is lying, there is going to be a miscarriage of justice if you believe the wrong side. 2) in a “he said/they said” situation, the balance of who to believe shifts. The first time we heard of an accusation against Bill Cosby, for instance, who among us wouldn’t have said, “BUt he’s such a great guy” (thinking we “knew” him from his stated moral positions, his “Clean guy” comedy, etc.) By the time you get multiple women telling a story with the same pattern, it’s no longer he said/she said. That is the case in the CLC. 3) There are certain telltale patterns of abusers, including patterns of church abuse. When several elements of those patterns turn up in a victim’s story, even if it is a single victim, it’s time to listen and let the default position be to believe the victim.

    It is a tragedy that the church is a place where victims cannot get justice. It is a tragedy that change in the church comes about primarily through actions in the secular courts.

  200. Soarin' wrote:

    I realize that Carl was/is probably unaware of how his decision about CJ being fit for ministry was promoted in the SG churches. It was used in such a way to silence the critics, anyone asking questions etc.. After all if a panel of three Godly men said CJ was fit then the rest of us should accept that and go on. “Nothing to see here ” I realize that Carl had no control of how the decision was used but I thought it might be helpful for you to know. I don’t think he owes me anything. I am truly grateful that he is speaking up.

    Same goes for that ridiculous Ambassadors of Reconciliation report, which we discussed in this post.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/04/18/aor-report-released-just-how-unhealthy-is-sgm/

    The link to the AOR report no longer works.  Why am I not surprised?  If anyone can find it, please let me know.  I'd like to review the report again.

    Looking back, it is incredible how much money was spent to keep Mahaney in control of SGM.

  201. Deb wrote:

    The link to the AOR report no longer works. Why am I not surprised? If anyone can find it, please let me know. I’d like to review the report again.

    That report could end up being important evidence for the civil suit, so I doubt it has been fully destroyed — “spoliation of evidence” would seem to be in effect — even if the link is broken. [IIRC, if evidence is destroyed, the court is often required to assume the contents went against the case of the person/group that destroyed it.] Hope a copy can be found. Ms. Burke may have a copy, if nothing else shows up.

    And I’ll be in touch by email if I find anything … working on that after I have a brief consultation with Mr Coffee. Always gets my research mode in gear, he does.

  202. Here is the Ambassadors of Reconciliation (AoR) report, with a link from a different source:

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/churchplantmedia-cms/greentree_church/aor-report-on-sgm.pdf

    I see it was issued from April 10, 2012. Just skimming quickly through that report again, it strikes me that it would be interesting to see how much additional evidence has emerged in the nearly five years since it was issued that contradicts the AoR process, details, and findings. Maybe do a side-by-side comparison chart that compiles various people’s analysis of their analysis?

  203. Patti wrote:

    @ Sallie Borrink:

    You have a good point. That was my dual experience being raised in a Christian Reformed church alongside my non-Calvinist Baptist fundamental school. Literally, I had teachers ridiculing us kids from the CRC right in the class because of some of our church beliefs and then on Sunday, we would get from our Sunday school teachers. I can’t remember exact words were said that each other couldn’t be Christian but that was jist I grew up with.

    Oh Patti! I had to laugh (in a good way) at your two comments since I was raised in circles with similar views. My mom grew up Baptist General Conference. My dad was raised CRC, but was excommunicated as a young adult for asking too many questions. (The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!)

    My dad was baptized Baptist when I was a child and I was raised Baptist (BGC). Fast forward many years. My husband and I meet while he’s a member of a church similar to SGM (also descended from People of Destiny). While we are engaged, we go through a terrible episode of spiritual abuse via his church when he leaves. (Reading the stories on SGM Survivors was like reading our own story again.) We end up in a Baptist church.

    We have bounced between various Baptist and CRC churches over the past twenty years (long story but mostly over the women’s issue). At one point we ran into a woman we knew from one of the Baptist churches (GARB – don’t ask how we were in a GARB church). We chatted and told her we were attending such and such CRC church. She looked at us like we said we had left the faith. She was clearly horrified.

    I think being in Grand Rapids makes it worse. It’s like you are either CRC, RCA, GARB or Other. But the disdain cuts both ways as we’ve experienced firsthand.

    I don’t know if you still get The Banner, but it’s changed. The pendulum has swung faaaaarrrrr in the other direction.

  204. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    I want to personally say thanks to Todd Pruitt for the three articles he wrote on his blog last week about the Mahaney/T4G situation.

    I also want to thank Aimee Byrd for her excellent post on her blog titled “Sanctified Testosterone?”

    I also want to thank Carl Trueman for his excellent post on his blog titled the “Cassandra Protocol.”

    I also thank all three of them for their recent podcast on The Mortification of Sin. I have no doubt that they knew their efforts would cost them dearly, yet they chose to speak truthfully and confront the issues within the Christian celebrity culture that we all care about so deeply.

    I also want to thank Todd Pruitt for taking the time to comment on this blog. I think it took courage. I cannot recall another individual in a similar position to ever have done so.

    As Wade Burleson said in his excellent new book “Fraudulent Authority”:

    “The absence of disagreement is not unity; the presence of love in the midst of disagreement is.”

    The actions or lack of actions made by Byrd, Pruitt and Trueman will never satisfy everyone on this forum. That is a given. Nonetheless I feel it would be wise to link arms with friends who are clearly compelled to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” -Proverbs 31:8-9 NLT

    The recent Mortification of Spin podcast is powerful. Truth always is. Those who would defend Mahaney and his enablers have no response to it. So again, thank you Todd, Aimee and Carl. May God richly reward you for your efforts on behalf of the sexually abused. Grace and peace to you.

    This is when this site needs a like button! Well said.

  205. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    I also want to thank Aimee Byrd for her excellent post on her blog titled “Sanctified Testosterone?”

    BTW, Spiritual Sounding board just linked (on FB) another idiot CBMW article that talks about ‘sanctified testosterone’ so I guess they’re doubling down…

  206. Julie Anne Smith wrote:

    I’m wondering if Todd is using slander as it used in the bible, not the legal sense.

    Perhaps. I know I approach it in the legal sense (law school will do that to you), which is why it bugs me terribly to see “slander” used when “libel” is the correct word. Todd, my apologies for not realizing this!

    (I don’t suppose this is the time to point out that Mohler and Mahaney are for sure at least limited public figures and the legal standard for libel in their cases would be more difficult to prove than for Joe Schmoe off the street? I’ll just exit stage right…)

  207. @ Sallie Borrink:
    When I was a tween and older there was this ecumenical Sunday night program where youth from churches all over the city got together and sang really bad Jesus hippie music and heard youth testimonies. It was open to all. There were youth from Presbyterian, Methodists, AME, Baptists and even Catholics. It was more focused on schools representated than churches. But this was long before this tyranny of the local church stuff started.

    I think we were just too stupid to know any better or that there was such a thing as correct Doctrine. :o)

  208. Lydia wrote:

    I think we were just too stupid to know any better or that there was such a thing as correct Doctrine. :o)

    I don’t personally worry about doctrine so much anymore, unless I think something is evil or harmful. I assume that I will have different interpretations of something than any of the major denominations. I felt that way when I was Baptist and at non-denominational churches and now dipping my toe into Presbyterian waters…I’m almost to the point where I think the way the church is run is actually more important than doctrine. (Much of that is from reading horror stories!)

    As long as people are allowed to disagree, and are old enough to think for themselves, a different doctrine is no great evil.

  209. Bill M wrote:

    Odd that all those years while it was drummed into me a “soft answer turns away wrath”, not to respond in kind, yet it was not often practiced by those who preached it. So if the beef is with the lack of quality with another person’s comments, then it would do well to measure the words in reply. Pruitt’s slander accusation is another reason I have become so skeptical of leaders, so many do not lead by example.

    One of the reasons my internet persona comes across so harsh is because of early interaction with Driscollites on the internet.
    At the time, Driscoll was the darling of the Calvanistas before he fell from grace. And all his little minions strove to emulate him. They were hard, brash, rude, arrogant, and ran right over anyone who couldn’t throw it back at them.
    I watched them stomp all over people who exercised the Proverbian ‘gentle answer’.

    It made me ill.

    They seemed to view those who used the ‘gentle answer’ approach as weak, irrelevant, and wrong.

    I sensed that the only language they understood was Driscollese. So I adopted that tone and method and found that when I presented my arguments in the Driscoll tone, those Driscollites were easily, and I mean very easily, pushed back. It was all wind and bluster. But that was all they had. Neither Driscoll nor his minions had as much Bible understanding as they thought.

    Then I learned that there were many who claimed to be leaders in the church that also lacked understanding and covered for it by being arrogant, rude, and domineering.

    So, yes. There is a reason there is a harshness and forcefulness in conversation theses days.
    There is a reason the ‘gentle answer’ has fallen out of fashion.

  210. brian wrote:

    A few tidbits at around the 1:50 Mark Mr. Piper is extolling how at the throne of God Dawkins, Hitchens etc will be there and God will look at me “piper” and laugh and he goes into a rant. Then later Mr. Piper says something to the effect God write it down in the universe that Piper says. I am not really discussing the validity of the TofE but watch this Video, is it me or is thee a bit of self importance here even while he seems to be trying to point out the Glory of God. I hope this is not to far off topic but I have always gotten the willies from Piper even back in his hay day.

    I was looking for information about the medieval mystic Julian of Norwich yesterday, came across this article, and in the middle of it, was this disquisition about John Piper in comparison with Julian, which I will quote here. I should note that the writer, Amy Laura Hall, is associate professor of Christian Ethics at Duke Divinity School. She also coins a word here, “omniamity,” which she defines as “all love.” Here goes:

    God’s Omniamity

    A currently popular Christian writer and speaker in the United States named John Piper gave a short lecture in 2009 to the annual meeting of the Religious Newswriters Association about a movement and marketing scheme he calls “the New Calvinists.” Piper gives a helpful summary of the basic message of “New Calvinism.”[10] By his explanation, the most important contribution of the group is its emphasis on human “insignificance.” Using examples from a syndicated cartoon and a granola advertisement, Piper suggested to the reporters that there is a deep longing among people in the United States for an authoritative word about God’s power, particularly after September 11, 2001. As Piper describes it, people desire the truth that God is omnipotent (all powerful) and that, in contrast, humans and our bodies and daily concerns are like dust. When faced with an unimaginable tragedy like September 11, what people most want, according to Piper, is an affirmation that God controls everything and mere human beings control nothing.

    As I write, the “New Calvinists” often still proclaim this Gospel of Austerity to generations of Christians and seekers who are trying to live with the aftermath of two wars, during an economic debacle, hearing about drone strikes in Pakistan, dealing with the militarization of police in cities across the country and learning about torture in prisons from Chicago to Cuba. It is fair to characterize the neo-Calvinist message John Piper summarized this way: “If you are still alive in this age of terror, thank God, and stop whining about government surveillance. If you still have any job of any kind during this, the Second Great Depression, pick up your broom, and stop complaining about minimum wage. Oh, and keep going to church every Sunday, because God deserves your obeisance.”[11]

    Julian of Norwich, who lived through a similarly tumultuous time in the Middle Ages in England, saw things differently. She asked a different sort of question, and she embodied a different answer. Julian assumed that God is all powerful. She did not have to prop up God’s potency by accentuating our own unimportance. That God was all powerful was a given. She also assumed God’s knowledge of all that is (God’s omniscience). She didn’t have to underscore God’s knowledge by making sure everyone knows human beings are senseless. Her primary question was about God’s love. The query that kept her going back again and again and again to the cross concerned neither God’s omnipotence nor God’s omniscience. Her query concerned God’s omniamity.[12]

    (Hall, Amy Laura: Love in Everything: A Brief Primer to Julian of Norwich, The Princeton Seminary Bulletin (2015) URL: http://psb.ptsem.edu/hall/ . Footnotes omitted)

  211. dee wrote:

    How many hours ahead of EST are you?

    Usually 6 hours – IIRC, the dates when we switch to DST do not always match.

  212. Lydia wrote:

    @ mirele:
    Thank you. That was a powerful juxtaposition. Piper sells a culture of death and an angry pagan god.

    Which is contrary to the Bible.

  213. Lea wrote:

    Spiritual Sounding board just linked (on FB) another idiot CBMW article that talks about ‘sanctified testosterone’

    So do I need to go to a Calvinista church to get my testosterone ‘sanctified’? Is it a Calvinista sacrament?

  214. Mara wrote:

    So, yes. There is a reason there is a harshness and forcefulness in conversation theses days.
    There is a reason the ‘gentle answer’ has fallen out of fashion.

    What bothers me is you and I are expected to be gentle while the celebrity “pastor” can make judgements and use harsh words. I’ve also been around the block a few time to know that even when words were well formed they were still dismissed by the “pastor”. I wish these guys would wise up and remember they are not great men but just people like you and me. They should strive to be servants and not leaders, any leading should be by example.

  215. Julie Anne Smith wrote:

    I’m wondering if Todd is using slander as it used in the bible, not the legal sense.

    Many people use “slander” or “libel” when what they mean is “bad-mouthing”. Slander and libel are both types of bad-mouthing, of course, but not all bad-mouthing is slander or libel.

  216. mirele wrote:

    I know I approach it in the legal sense (law school will do that to you), which is why it bugs me terribly to see “slander” used when “libel” is the correct word. Todd, my apologies for not realizing this!

    And both are species of defamation, which in the legal world can be a compensable wrong. In a non-legal sense it means to portray another person in such a way that their fame is diminished. (Someone can be famed and they can be defamed, right?)

  217. JeffT wrote:

    So do I need to go to a Calvinista church to get my testosterone ‘sanctified’? Is it a Calvinista sacrament?

    LOL

  218. Bill M wrote:

    What bothers me is you and I are expected to be gentle while the celebrity “pastor” can make judgements and use harsh words.

    They also tend to ignore the ‘gentle’ words, while going after the non-gentle ones for tone and not content. Nice trick, that.

  219. JeffT wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    Spiritual Sounding board just linked (on FB) another idiot CBMW article that talks about ‘sanctified testosterone’

    So do I need to go to a Calvinista church to get my testosterone ‘sanctified’? Is it a Calvinista sacrament?

    I’m also still trying to figure out if any of these geniuses realize that women have testosterone and men have estrogen…

  220. Abi Miah wrote:

    I went to bed thinking about this and woke up thinking about it.

    Same here, your analysis that followed was insightful, particularly the labeling Lydia’s request for specifics as playing games.

  221. Lea wrote:

    They also tend to ignore the ‘gentle’ words, while going after the non-gentle ones for tone and not content. Nice trick, that.

    Heads they win, tails we lose

  222. Tim wrote:

    Many people use “slander” or “libel” when what they mean is “bad-mouthing”. Slander and libel are both types of bad-mouthing, of course, but not all bad-mouthing is slander or libel.

    There are people who call the truth “libel” or “slander” when they don’t want the truth to be known. (I’m not implying that TP is doing that.)
    On TWW, most of us are simply wondering “Why, what, whom, when, or where?”. When someone uses vague statements and says, “I don’t have to answer that!”, it often leads us to assume the worst.

  223. Lea wrote:

    I’m also still trying to figure out if any of these geniuses realize that women have testosterone and men have estrogen

    I would assume that we gurlz fall below the required legal limit for sanctification, so we have to ride in the back of the bus.

  224. Nancy2 wrote:

    I would assume that we gurlz fall below the required legal limit for sanctification, so we have to ride in the back of the bus.

    Or perhaps our testosterone is already sanctified and it is only the men who have a problem.

  225. Mara wrote:

    One of the reasons my internet persona comes across so harsh is because of early interaction with Driscollites on the internet.

    I hear you. I received my first taste of how all this works behind the scenes at Seeker mega churches. Add that to the fact I live at Ground Zero and you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a yrr follower, seminary student, or wannabe pastor.

    It takes a while to come to the realization that they don’t really want to reach understanding. There is absolutely no way to communicate anything they don’t want to hear in a way that they will accept it. That is just the way it works. They will claim they want to understand but you just can’t make your case as they pummel you with technicalities, doctrinal minutia and rebukes.

    And worse when the situation concerns any sort of abuse whether it is spiritual abuse or child molestation it is always done in secret. There is a reason SGM did not want people talking to each other. There is a reason they present negative questions as gossip or slander.

    It is like this in most churches now to some degree. Most of the time people even police themselves because nothing is more important than being perceived as nice.

    I would much rather they be fair and just.

    That is why I bristle when guys like Trueman will accept Brent Detwiler documents but not investigate stories on the Survivor blogs. At some point I have to come to the realistic conclusion that they like authoritarianism and believe that it fits in the body of Christ. I get it that they don’t view it as authoritarianism. Often it is just the trajectory of institutional Christianity. Or the idea that somebody has to be in charge of the adults. Sadly our entire Society is going that route.

    I have watched this phenomena up close and personal in churches, para church orgs for over 15 years and I see it everywhere: When a title enters the convo, people’s demeanors change.

    Maybe I was blessed to be raised in an atmosphere where the pastor was seen as an equal but an employee with a function. There wasn’t this air of a specially anointed person who knows best for us…that we see today.

    I am pretty much done with hoping “leaders” will change because I view these functions as servants. Not “leaders” as we understand it in the western sense. They are actually following the Gentile model our Lord warned about.

    Our Lord talked about this concerning religious leaders of His time in terms of special seats, being seen in the marketplace praying and so on. And He doesn’t like it. And he promised each and everyone of us anointing. We are all able to receive full inheritance in the Body to function in our spiritual gifting. And every part of that body is important. He did not set apart a special clergy class to rule over us.

  226. Abi Miah wrote:

    what a system of abuse looks like in an organization like a church. I don’t have time to hunt it up before work, but perhaps someone else will link it for you. It’s not about “just” one guy; it’s about how a whole system comes to be which enables the abuse to continue. That is background.

    I think the blog post Abi is referencing is probably this one:

    https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/responsibility-for-spiritual-abuse-part-2b/

    It’s in a series on “Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse” and this particular “pyramid of responsibility” is based on processing my own experiences in a rather confusing set of four major incidents of abusive churches and ministries that ended up totaling about 17 out of the last 40 years.

    It may be of interest that I have expanded descriptions the specific roles that show up in that “pyramid of abuse,” renamed some of the roles, and added a new role: “loyal opposition” who seek to challenge and change an organization or movement as an insider. I have also been working to develop a parallel “pyramid of advocacy” that shows and describes what it means to minister redemptively “in the opposite spirit” to those who have suffered from abuse and subsequent silencing, deflection, and/or labeling.

    The past few days, I’ve been working on how to help people explore the questions of culpability and complicity, depending on whether someone is a direct agent of harm through planning and/or action, or a more passive accomplice to those who are intentionally inflicting harm. That’s some of what’s behind the vertical arrow scale on the right-hand side of the pyramid.

    I see all of these issues coming up regularly in survivor blog posts and comments, and on Facebook pages when friends post about abuse. They aren’t just theoretical speculations. So, I’ve been working to identify and describe the systems aspects that help answer the real-world questions that I see people raising.

    I hope that post will be of help … and I’ll post another link shortly that covers some of the “pyramid of advocacy” material.

  227. Here is a workbook exercise I created, using several major characters in *Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix* to describe and illustrate what all those different roles and tactics look like from the “pyramid of abuse,” versus the support that comes from someone that embodies the “pyramid of advocacy” roles. (Click on the two charts for full-screen versions that are easy to read.) It should help to compare and contrast the influences and impacts of abuse versus advocacy.

    https://futuristguysfieldguides.wordpress.com/2h-sample-master-class/

  228. Lydia wrote:

    Thank you. That was a powerful juxtaposition. Piper sells a culture of death and an angry pagan god.

    Agreed about the juxtaposition. If you agree on an all powerful deity, it doesn’t follow that said deity is only concerned with his own power and the aggrandizement of his own glory. And yes you’re right, the god they push has way more in common with the gods of the Greeks and the Canaanites. The God of Abraham isn’t anything like them.

    Nancy2 wrote:

    Which is contrary to the Bible.

    And yet they will claim with all certainty that this is what the Bible Sola Scriptura teaches.

  229. GSD wrote:

    The sanctified testosterone critique by Aimee Byrd is just great

    Her post is wonderful. I have one scheduled for Monday that quotes her and Marg Mowzcko, expanding on the point Aimee made about women and the word “Ezer” in the Bible.

  230. Bill M wrote:

    What bothers me is you and I are expected to be gentle while the celebrity “pastor” can make judgements and use harsh words

    Exactly.

    But they have a saying concerning guys like these.
    They can dish is out, but they can’t take.
    I have NO patience with people like this and very little respect.

    If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.
    You are not a special snow flake that get’s to bypass the Golden Rule.
    If you are going to dish it out, if you are going to shovel it out, you better know that I’m going to shovel it right back. If you whine, go home to mama because you don’t belong in the adult world.

  231. Muff Potter wrote:

    If you agree on an all powerful deity, it doesn’t follow that said deity is only concerned with his own power and the aggrandizement of his own glory.

    Well, that is my thinking, too.

    When Piper’s God is taught, we see things like this. And believe me, I am impressed this student had the nerve to ask:

    sbcvoices.com/is-god-a-narcissist/

    Rathe

  232. Lea wrote:

    They also tend to ignore the ‘gentle’ words, while going after the non-gentle ones for tone and not content. Nice trick, that.

    That is a game we simply are not going to let them get away with. I don't care what kind of baby-tantrums they throw. If they don't want to play fair, again, go home to mama. (ed.) I'm not playing by their unfair and self-serving rules.

  233. __

    Neo-Calvinism ‘Might’ Makes Right: ” Sêê Absolutely No Evil?”

    hmmm…

    More C.J. Mahaney whitewash, yet again?

     When religious officials such as Carl Trueman will accept former SGM co-founder and pastor Brent Detwiler’s leaked documents [1[ but will not read the victims multitude stories and agonizing testimonies? [2]

    Get real?

    What to make of it?

    Well it sure sounds like shoddy homework, huh?

    Read the stories and weep.

    God of Christian freedom, God of eternal justice,
    God whose love is stronger than death,
    God who saw the depths of the darkness, the SGM prison,
    God who knew the price of deceit:
    Touch the SGM/SGC church victims of experienced sad oppression
    with your Holy Spirit’s healing breath, and bring the wrongdoers to swift justice…

    (tears)

    Sopy
    __
    Notes:
    [1] https://www.scribd.com/user/86813507/sgmwikileaks

    [2] http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/the-stories/

  234. Lydia wrote:

    It takes a while to come to the realization that they don’t really want to reach understanding. There is absolutely no way to communicate anything they don’t want to hear in a way that they will accept it. That is just the way it works. They will claim they want to understand but you just can’t make your case as they pummel you with technicalities, doctrinal minutia and rebukes.

    Which is why, when I get into debates with them, I’m doing it more for the lurkers that for the guys I’m arguing with.
    Some of the lurkers may be so beaten down by this bunch that they are not able to answer those guys. But that doesn’t mean that they lack the login and/or Bible knowledge to see through the ruse.

  235. I know that this is a rabbit hole, but I just looked at the website for The Journey. The staff and elder pages stood out to me because the vast majority of people who have at least some kind of power and authority appear to be under 50. Not that being over 50 guarantees wisdom, discernment, and maturity, but I wonder how cocooning themselves in an environment of people whose life stage mirrors their own might contribute to pride, especially if church planters have never spent years working in a job where they were at the bottom of the influence pile. They plant churches in their twenties and attract lots of similarly aged people who become the foundation of the church. There tends to be a lack of LITERAL elders in these church plants who have any influence, who might see dangers of pride in the early stages, AND who have enough authority to stop things before a decade or more of bad habits blows up and does lots of damage.

    I wonder about this because I had a conversion with a PCA church planter who outright said that other PCA pastors in his presbytery told him NOT to chose anyone for eldership who was over the age of 35. I was completely shocked that pastors would recommend seeking out YOUNG men who likely lacked spiritual maturity as leaders. To me, the advice smacked of trying to stack the deck with easily manipulated men who would go along with the church planter’s ideas without any push back. I think that such an environment BREEDS pride in church planters, and often years go by without any corrective actions since they very men chosen to help oversee the church were chose on the basis of likelihood of NOT rocking the boat.

    This may not be the case inThe Journey situation, but I can’t help but wonder if at least some of the problems of authoritative leadership in recent years has some connection to the influx of young church planters being encouraged to NOT seek literal elders as leaders.

  236. Boyd wrote:

    I had a conversion with a PCA church planter who outright said that other PCA pastors in his presbytery told him NOT to chose anyone for eldership who was over the age of 35.

    What????

    Funny thing. I always thought elders were supposed to be actually elder. I think that’s doubly important if the pastor is young.

  237. Bridget wrote:

    What of all the people who responded to AOR? What about all the people who had commented on blogs about what they experienced at SGM – even former pastors? Did anyone talk with Larry Tomczak? Did any of the four on the panel actually talk with people who were harmed? Honestly, you would have had dozens of witnesses, not just Brent’s documents.
    If Carl’s (and the other three on the panel) scope was so limited then why respond at all? Why, in essence, clear CJ when not enough investigation was done? If no one had the time to deal with the situation, they should have recused themselves. That would have been far better for all involved.

    Lydia wrote:

    That is why I bristle when guys like Trueman will accept Brent Detwiler documents but not investigate stories on the Survivor blogs. At some point I have to come to the realistic conclusion that they like authoritarianism and believe that it fits in the body of Christ. I get it that they don’t view it as authoritarianism. Often it is just the trajectory of institutional Christianity. Or the idea that somebody has to be in charge of the adults.

    Sopwith wrote:

    When religious officials such as Carl Trueman will accept former SGM co-founder and pastor Brent Detwiler’s leaked documents [1[ but will not read the victims multitude stories and agonizing testimonies? [2]

    This just keeps bothering me . . .

    The four men on the panel, Todd Pruit, the Pyro men, Piper, Grudem, Mohler, and other “pastors” who clear a fellow pastor without interaction with the people whose lives were turned inside out by the Family of churches run by CJ Mahaney. Did it not occur to any of the men on that panel (or the others) that the scope was too small, inadequate, missing the human beings that pastors claim they are called to care for? Was there no red flags when the documents were read by these men as to the character of CJ Mahaney?

    All I see is pastors protecting pastors, men protecting men, leaders supporting leaders. This is why I am not partaking of institutionalized Christianity.

  238. @ Boyd:
    I prefer to think of them as ‘Youngers”.
    The Journey did have a formerly prominent older guy, Scott Thomas, former Acts 29 president and Mars Hill executive elder, as their minister of pastoral development or pastor of ministry development. He recently began planting a church in Colorado, which may or may not be coincidental with the troubles at the Journey.

  239. Boyd wrote:

    I wonder about this because I had a conversion with a PCA church planter who outright said that other PCA pastors in his presbytery told him NOT to chose anyone for eldership who was over the age of 35. I was completely shocked that pastors would recommend seeking out YOUNG men who likely lacked spiritual maturity as leaders. To me, the advice smacked of trying to stack the deck with easily manipulated men who would go along with the church planter’s ideas without any push back. I think that such an environment BREEDS pride in church planters, and often years go by without any corrective actions since they very men chosen to help oversee the church were chose on the basis of likelihood of NOT rocking the boat.

    This is the exact same thing that was going on in SGM/SGC with CJ Mahaney and their pastors school. 90% of the men starting churches were under 35 with young children. Many older pastors/elders were pushed out of their positions by younger men.

  240. I haven’t noticed (maybe I missed it) any reference yet to that famous Proverbs 18 verse, “The poor use entreaties, but the rich answer roughly”. I think it’s appropriate to the discussion. Now when you read “famous Proverbs 18 verse, you may have thought of, “The one who states his case first seems right,
    until the other comes and examines him” used so often to put the kibosh on discussion until we “hear the other side”. So, for your reading enjoyment, a bit from “the other side”. In summer 2011, CJ Mahaney made a confession of various sins (which he made clear did NOT include getting caught with his hands in the offering plate or on the church secretary’s knee). The then went on a leave of absence until the November Pastor’s Conference, during which time he took refuge at Mark Dever’s CBHC. At the Pastor’s Conference he made a speech explaining his previous actions. Some highlights:
    I think it might also be helpful to say something about the confession statement to Covenant Life and to you via a letter [i.e., “Why I am taking a leave of absence” posted on the SGM website on July 6]. Those confessions were sincere. I do, like you, take my sins seriously. I see them in light of the holiness of God. I need a Savior and I am so grateful that the Father has provided a Savior for my innumerable sins. But after making this confession I have received much helpful critique from a number of leaders about my confession and I have concluded that I did not serve you well with this confession. My confession has been misunderstood, misinterpreted, and exploited. My confession should have been more precise. It was my desire through my confession to humble myself, to take responsibility for my sin, to set an example, to protect SG. Instead, my communication in some ways create speculation that left me vulnerable to interpretation, that left me vulnerable to exploitation. I left the wrong impression of my sin. In that confession I was trying to convey that I take my sins seriously but I regret that my language conveyed that my sins were unusually serious. I do not think that, I have never thought that. I didn’t distinguish my sins from Brent’s accusations, judgments, narrative and I should have.
    One member of the first panel said this to me – quote: “I respect, CJ, how seriously you take the respectable sins but you left the impression that you did something scandalous. But nothing you confessed reached the level of public scandal requiring a public confession. Your sins are routine and common.”
    That is not to minimize my sin. But it did help me to see the wrong impressions I left and I regret that.
    Another member of the panel said this: “I think you made a genuine effort to be humble. You overstate the level of offense and you confuse those outside of Sovereign Grace.” I happen to think that is an accurate critique. I didn’t just confuse those outside Sovereign Grace, I confused those inside Sovereign Grace as well. I over-stated. I think I did that as well the year before at this Pastors’ Conference. My apology in relation to the polity process. A number of you came in afterwards and said in effect, you overstated that. I think you were right. I think this panel has an accurate assessment.”
    and explaining why he left CLC for CBHC
    “Finally I made this decision as a husband. My wife has an unusually strong constitution but I needed to protect her from the assaults that we were both the objects of.”
    The whole speech, with commentary, is here: http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/transcript-of-cj-mahaneys-remarks-at-sovereign-grace-ministr.html

  241. Dave A A wrote:

    @ Boyd:
    I prefer to think of them as ‘Youngers”.
    The Journey did have a formerly prominent older guy, Scott Thomas, former Acts 29 president and Mars Hill executive elder, as their minister of pastoral development or pastor of ministry development. He recently began planting a church in Colorado, which may or may not be coincidental with the troubles at the Journey.

    One guy? Just one?

  242. mirele wrote:

    Can you do me a favor and use the right word? If the falsehood is written, it is *libel*. If it’s spoken, it’s *slander*. Consequently, any alleged falsehoods you may be protesting against on this blog are *libel*. If it’s from over the pulpit, it’s *slander*.

    What is it called when a pastor tells others of conversations and phone calls, complete with the statements you or your spouse supposedly made, which did not happen, and which present you to be someone you are not?

    My comment about allegiance came from a place of betrayal and disillusionment due to my own experience where human beings were expendable for the cause. I guess all of the talk about the great theological position triggered me, but I believe God has called me to a higher standard. I’m sorry I spoke hastily and a bit flippantly. Carl, Todd and Aimee are on the right side of this issue. I hope they will continue to follow it through.

  243. @ Boyd:

    “The staff and elder pages stood out to me because the vast majority of people who have at least some kind of power and authority appear to be under 50. Not that being over 50 guarantees wisdom, discernment, and maturity, but I wonder how cocooning themselves in an environment of people whose life stage mirrors their own might contribute to pride, especially if church planters have never spent years working in a job where they were at the bottom of the influence pile.”
    ++++++++++++++

    the lack of female faces didn’t stand out to you?

    what stood out to me was a full frontal assault of large-scaled images of male faces. 97.3% young white male faces.

    moreso than ‘pride’, the overriding concern I see of ‘cocooning themselves in an environment of people whose life stage mirrors their own’ is the sheer danger of power left unchecked by wisdom from variety of human experience.

  244. Boyd wrote:

    One guy? Just one?

    There may have been others. This is the only guy I’d heard of. I could find no announcement of his departure and church-planting mission on the Journey website. One never knows, in these situations, if the move was voluntary or he got run out of town with a “vow of silence” agreement.

  245. @ Boyd:

    YES, THIS. Young elders.

    I am about 60 years old and it is hilarious to me to hear a 30 year-old preacher talk about a “deep insight” he got this week…something that a) I had learned many years ago and b) at a younger age than the preacher. It wouldn’t be half as amusing if the guy didn’t take himself so seriously.

  246. siteseer wrote:

    @ Dave A A:
    Wow. My head is spinning.

    To summarize—- The poor, poor man suffered from an excess of humility. This led him to be bullied into confessing stuff which was routine and common. This led to his exploitation and made him and Carolyn the objects of assaults. He’s sorry for having been sorry and it won’t happen again.

  247. brian wrote:

    This may be off but watch this
    https://youtu.be/z2CEPBUi8nI

    Piper comes across as demented in this video.

    Listen to the end – and it’s pure Piper – all about how nature is God glorifying himself. Pip’er’s entire theology seems to be about how God exists to glorify himself. He makes God out to be a self-centred egotist. What I’ve never understood about Piper is why don’t question his version of God.

  248. And since my last comment was off-topic (sorry Deebs) can I just say I deeply appreciate what Todd, Aimee and Carl have done in that podcast. Thanks especially to Todd for coming on here.

    I’ve no personal experience of SGM (thankfully) but I’ve studied C.J. Mahaney and SGM for many years now – I’ve read all the blogs, all the documents etc. I’ve read every word of GirlTalk and the subtly twisted theology it espouses.

    I have thought for a long time now that C.J. Mahaney will one day fall. He can run and run, but one day the chickens will come home to roast, and he’ll come tumbling down. It seems increasingly like he’ll bring the whole Reformed shabang down with him.

  249.  __

    ‘Deform’d Theology’ ™ : “What SGM/SGC ‘Really’ Believes?”

    hmmm…

     They believe at the center of God’s purposes in the world, is the exaltation of His glory through the heavenly redemption of the ‘elect’ and the eternal damnation of those NOT chosen (elected) by God.

    huh?

    To this end, they believe that God sovereignly chooses only ‘certain’ men and women to be saved in order to display His immeasurable glory and grace.

    What?

    God’s sovereign grace in salvation of the elect certainly humbles this devoted group of churches , fills them with extream gratitude, and compels them to lively worship of their God and to share by backroom stealth ‘his’ “good news” (R) message, ‘The Five Points Of Calvinism’ with ‘all’ people…

    Accept no substitutes?

    Skreeeeeeeetch !

    Does this sound like Jesus’ gospel?

    [Could have fooled me!]

    (grin)

    hahahahahahahaha

    ATB

    Sopy

  250. May wrote:

    I have thought for a long time now that C.J. Mahaney will one day fall. He can run and run, but one day the chickens will come home to roast, and he’ll come tumbling down. It seems increasingly like he’ll bring the whole Reformed shabang down with him.

    Karma and her sister Comeuppance are known for orchestrating things like that.

  251. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    Actually when we are talking about a man’s character we do need more than a person’s common sense conclusion. Imagine yourself in the firing line. I don’t know if you have ever had a small group of people slandering you but it is ugly and deeply damaging.

    Yes, many of us HAVE had this happen.

    This IS what happens to the spiritually abused.

    Many of the participants here *have* had small groups of people in church leadership slander, malign and falsely accuse them.

    Not over sins of adultery, or child sexual abuse, or fornication, or domestic violence, or murder, or theft, or blasphemy…

    Rather, it is the result of *questioning* something taught or the handling of a situation.

    We’re not talking about pew people engaged in some sort of vicious behind-the-scenes backbiting with anyone and everyone who would listen. These are people who ‘played by the rules’ and have gone directly to the leadership regarding these types of issues.

    And we aren’t talking about trivial matters on the level of the menu for next Wednesday’s potluck menu.

    But, I can tell you almost step-by-step of the process that many of us have gone through. Because the process is usually the same. And I’ll be glad to lay it out for you, if you want to know.

    There are those of us here who were slandered and accused by our church leaders, privately and publicly. Our absence after being active members (sometimes for decades) was covered by a dark cloud of innuendo, warnings and silence for those who remained. As if we had never existed.

    We were told that we were rebellious, disobedient, and that God’s judgements, if not outright curses, were upon us.

    Have you ever had someone in authority over you, who you had viewed through “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” eyes, who made it clear that your questioning him was an affront to God? That you were deeply deceived? That your salvation might be questionable?

    When you drag yourself out of a body of people that you had been a part of for years, broken in spirit, questioning your sanity, fearful that you have incurred God’s wrath, cut off completely from *everyone* you have walked with for years –

    Tell me, can you imagine just how devastating *that* can be?

  252. Dave A A wrote:

    siteseer wrote:

    @ Dave A A:
    Wow. My head is spinning.

    To summarize—- The poor, poor man suffered from an excess of humility. This led him to be bullied into confessing stuff which was routine and common. This led to his exploitation and made him and Carolyn the objects of assaults. He’s sorry for having been sorry and it won’t happen again.

    Seriously. I wish these people would realize that pride is mentioned as a bad thing way way more than divorce or gender roles or any of the other nonsense they bang on about.

  253. Lea wrote:

    Boyd wrote:

    I had a conversion with a PCA church planter who outright said that other PCA pastors in his presbytery told him NOT to chose anyone for eldership who was over the age of 35.

    What????

    Funny thing. I always thought elders were supposed to be actually elder. I think that’s doubly important if the pastor is young.

    This pattern was fully established at CHBC when I was there in the early 2000s. Almost all the “elders” were recent seminary grads, in their mid-20s, all personally mentored by Dever. This did not sit well with me then, and it only looks worse in hindsight and retrospection.

  254. Todd Pruitt wrote:

    With all due respect Carl Trueman does not owe you answers. And based upon the way some of these threads go I would discourage him from doing it.

    One does not have to answer or respond to questions expressed publicly via posting on a thread. There are other avenues available that eliminate dealing directly with the hoi poloi.

  255. @ Eeyore:

    I was at chbc in the mid to late 90s. I never paid attention to the elders, but they used to have nice potlucks every month. I seem to remember a fair number of older members at that point…

  256. I made the mistake of reading comments today to see how the conversation was progressing, and it’s killing me not to point out how thankful I am to Lydia and Mara for saying all of this pasted below. So here I am to say that what they both said is a most helpful comment regarding the whole situation. Now back to watching Luther again. 😉

    Lydia wrote:

    Mara wrote:

    One of the reasons my internet persona comes across so harsh is because of early interaction with Driscollites on the internet.

    I hear you. I received my first taste of how all this works behind the scenes at Seeker mega churches. Add that to the fact I live at Ground Zero and you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a yrr follower, seminary student, or wannabe pastor.

    It takes a while to come to the realization that they don’t really want to reach understanding. There is absolutely no way to communicate anything they don’t want to hear in a way that they will accept it. That is just the way it works. They will claim they want to understand but you just can’t make your case as they pummel you with technicalities, doctrinal minutia and rebukes.

    And worse when the situation concerns any sort of abuse whether it is spiritual abuse or child molestation it is always done in secret. There is a reason SGM did not want people talking to each other. There is a reason they present negative questions as gossip or slander.

    It is like this in most churches now to some degree. Most of the time people even police themselves because nothing is more important than being perceived as nice.

    I would much rather they be fair and just.

    That is why I bristle when guys like Trueman will accept Brent Detwiler documents but not investigate stories on the Survivor blogs. At some point I have to come to the realistic conclusion that they like authoritarianism and believe that it fits in the body of Christ. I get it that they don’t view it as authoritarianism. Often it is just the trajectory of institutional Christianity. Or the idea that somebody has to be in charge of the adults. Sadly our entire Society is going that route.

    I have watched this phenomena up close and personal in churches, para church orgs for over 15 years and I see it everywhere: When a title enters the convo, people’s demeanors change.

    Maybe I was blessed to be raised in an atmosphere where the pastor was seen as an equal but an employee with a function. There wasn’t this air of a specially anointed person who knows best for us…that we see today.

    I am pretty much done with hoping “leaders” will change because I view these functions as servants. Not “leaders” as we understand it in the western sense. They are actually following the Gentile model our Lord warned about.

    Our Lord talked about this concerning religious leaders of His time in terms of special seats, being seen in the marketplace praying and so on. And He doesn’t like it. And he promised each and everyone of us anointing. We are all able to receive full inheritance in the Body to function in our spiritual gifting. And every part of that body is important. He did not set apart a special clergy class to rule over us.

  257. Boyd wrote:

    I know that this is a rabbit hole, but I just looked at the website for The Journey. The staff and elder pages stood out to me because the vast majority of people who have at least some kind of power and authority appear to be under 50. Not that being over 50 guarantees wisdom, discernment, and maturity, but I wonder how cocooning themselves in an environment of people whose life stage mirrors their own might contribute to pride, especially if church planters have never spent years working in a job where they were at the bottom of the influence pile. They plant churches in their twenties and attract lots of similarly aged people who become the foundation of the church. There tends to be a lack of LITERAL elders in these church plants who have any influence, who might see dangers of pride in the early stages, AND who have enough authority to stop things before a decade or more of bad habits blows up and does lots of damage.
    I wonder about this because I had a conversion with a PCA church planter who outright said that other PCA pastors in his presbytery told him NOT to chose anyone for eldership who was over the age of 35. I was completely shocked that pastors would recommend seeking out YOUNG men who likely lacked spiritual maturity as leaders. To me, the advice smacked of trying to stack the deck with easily manipulated men who would go along with the church planter’s ideas without any push back. I think that such an environment BREEDS pride in church planters, and often years go by without any corrective actions since they very men chosen to help oversee the church were chose on the basis of likelihood of NOT rocking the boat.
    This may not be the case inThe Journey situation, but I can’t help but wonder if at least some of the problems of authoritative leadership in recent years has some connection to the influx of young church planters being encouraged to NOT seek literal elders as leaders.

    one word of caution…it could be just a reflection of the congregational demographics. Now, that could lead to the next question of why their aren’t older people at that church, but that’s a separate issue IMO.

  258. I think part of the issue people have with Carl Trueman’s declaring CJ fit for ministry is that they are assuming he said more than he did. He was not making a recommendation on CJ being fit in a broad sense, but making a recommendation on one question, whether CJ’s confessed sins disqualified him. Read the statement they provided on it again: http://www.sovereigngrace.com/sovereign-grace-blog/post/findings-from-our-preliminary-panel they were ruling on “the narrow question as to whether C.J. Mahaney is presently fit for ministry based on those sins to which he has already confessed.” They even said “our judgment is not intended, and should not be read, as either an endorsement, or a criticism, of any aspect of Sovereign Grace’s church life.” It is clear that they ruled that CJ’s confessed sin did not disqualify him from ministry. Not if there were other things that disqualified him, not if sgm was good, not whether he supported CJ, just, based on the evidence provided whether he was disqualified. They even said in it that “We are aware that numerous other instances of sin have been alleged against C.J. Mahaney. We have not been asked to look at the evidence for these” I do think that SGM used it to imply that they cleared CJ of all wrong doing, and were endorsing him, but if you read what they actually said it was clear that they did not, they just ruled on the questions presented. This is very similar to how Presbyterian church trials or legal trials would be handled; you only deal with the question presented.
    I do applaud Carl and Aimee and Todd for speaking out about this.

  259. @ presbyterian:
    We get it. Dave above summarized the confessions well:

    “To summarize—- The poor, poor man suffered from an excess of humility. This led him to be bullied into confessing stuff which was routine and common. This led to his exploitation and made him and Carolyn the objects of assaults. He’s sorry for having been sorry and it won’t happen again.”

    What Trueman failed to do was talk to the former members who were telling of their experiences online or research sgm enough to know it was a shepherding cult and he either was played or accepted the premise that only pastors can give evidence. Iow: he accepted the authoritarianism inherent in that system.

    I realize he was brought in with specific instructions within tight parameters. That, alone, wasn’t suspicious? It reeked of the boys club circling the wagons.

    Now, Trueman won’t even utter the name CJ mahaney or sgm when he is criticizing the very things done there. I don’t get it. Why not just admit he got played by the celebrities?

    The victims deserve more than vague crumbs.

  260. presbyterian wrote:

    I do applaud Carl and Aimee and Todd for speaking out about this.

    Aimee’s comment about a child having night tremors bothered me down to my very being.

  261. presbyterian wrote:

    I think part of the issue people have with Carl Trueman’s declaring CJ fit for ministry is that they are assuming he said more than he did.

    I am not assuming anything. I believe that all of the men on that panel should have been suspicious of the small scope that SGM(?) was giving them to respond to whether CJ should be in ministry or not. It was never about just Detwiler’s documents or CJ’s unperceived sin. Two blogs with people who had horrible experiences at SGM and with SGM leaders existed well before Detwiler released documents. The panel was unwise in their decision to respond to SGMs(?) request. Their response to the request only furthered the pain that hundreds of people had experienced.

  262. One last train of thought and I’ll go back to a weekend off. I have searched this thread far and wide for “slander”, as in untruthful purposeful character defamation, and I have found none. I also have not seen any game playing on Lydia’s part as was alleged. She has much wisdom and fearlessness that admire as true Christian maturity.

    I appreciate Reformed persons finally taking this debacle seriously, and Presbyterians explaining how things work in their denomination, but as a (Protestant) Christian I am mostly concerned that the priesthood of believers and the freedom we have to speak the truth in love is being quenched by politics and niceness.

    Kindness is godly, niceness can be deceit. I am tired of seeing people put down by pastors and populars for calling things as they see it.

    I don’t see that control of the narrative in the New Testament, and I’m watching Luther and the parallels regarding power are amazing. The evangelical church needs a reformation and the Internet is speeding along the freedom to speak one’s mind and according to conscience.

    That is all a good thing and God is sovereign in it.

    I grew up in evangelicalism and yet I do remember humble pastors who thought of themselves as just one of the congregation. The money changers/collectors of indulgences of today are threatened by people who will not submit to them because they won’t get paid if no one follows them or reads their books.

    And even yet, if all “ministries” were to fail, and “leaders” had to work at McDonalds to make ends meet, God would still be at work in this world building his church and the Body for whom Christ died would not be destroyed.

    What is needed today are people who will not be silenced by those who turn the tables on them with personal accusations for telling the truth about behavior as they see it.

    What is needed is progress in the reformation begun historically by others to a place where all authority is understood not to reside in a position, but in the Truth. Where Christians live and serve one another, and where no littke Christ is considered ordinary vs celebrity in the church.

    The Internet is a democratizing force, and the church needs to be surrounding the weakest or most hurt among us with love and care, not closing ranks against nor putting out those who speak uncomfortable truths.

    While it is important to have unity in the truth, for the people of God to grow together in love there must also be purity.

    All the excuses or accusations aside, it’s time to put off falsehood and game playing and just be straight up honest. If the church had listened to ordinary people pouring out their hearts on the Internet long ago, we wouldn’t be at this place now. And what the evangelical church seems to have forgotten (or even good leaders have found abusive ways to get around) is that 1 Timothy 5:20 is about elders.

    We the church are responsible and we should not take any abuse, whether true slander or false accusation. Our feelings may be hurt when truth is spoken, but it is not about us. It is for His glory.

    The church must reform, and to do this, those who lord it over, in any context, must be spoken to directly and held publicly accountable so that others with position power fear lest they display anything other than absolute humility as servants to the people of God.

    1 Timothy 5:20 Selah.

  263. May wrote:

    brian wrote:

    This may be off but watch this
    https://youtu.be/z2CEPBUi8nI

    Piper comes across as demented in this video.

    I think the demented pose is deliberate, and the audience is lapping it up. The subtext I perceive is something like this: You hundreds of good people are all listening to me because you admire me as a Man of Faith. But I’m just a crazy nut who happens to believe in the Holy God! And I’m humble enough to let you see how crazy I am. I can’t help it–God forces me to be crazy enough to see right through the elaborate lies of science.

    In the actual text, we’re not supposed to believe something scientists said about carnivorous plants. Instead, BOOM! “We are being called to join Him [God] in his own self-glorification!”

    (And of course all the atheists will burn in Hell.)

    I’ve seen this kind of performance elsewhere in Christendom, and it’s strongly related to the deception at the core of this discussion.

  264.  __

    “Spin It, Spin It Good?”

    hmmm…

      C.J. Mahaney is considered ‘above reproach’ ™ , and has a ‘good reputation’ (R) with those inside the New-Calvinist 501(c)3 para-church organizations, and those various associated group(s) of network churches?

    huh?

    Into the valley of ‘delusional thinking’ marched the some 8,000 2016 T4G attendees..?

    Tho’ the public ‘knew’ some one had blunder’d, These young pastors however made no reply, theirs was not to reason why, theirs but to do & follow their Calvinesta masters…

    “Half a league half a league, Half a league onward…” Into the valley of ‘delusional thinking’  marched the 8,000 2016 T4G attendees..?

    march, march, march..?
     
    __
    For reference: http://www.worldmag.com/2016/04/covenant_life_church_member_arrested_for_abuse

    http://www.washingtonian.com/2016/02/14/the-sex-abuse-scandal-that-devastated-a-suburban-megachurch-sovereign-grace-ministries/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/05/29/a-guide-to-the-sovereign-grace-ministries-scandal-and-the-end-of-new-calvinism/

  265. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    Is this perhaps the intro to someone of stature within the NeoCal community finally saying to Al Mohler and CJ Mahaney and their fanboys (think the boys at Pyro–can’t refer to them as men): “Have you no decency, Sirs?”

    Wait – is Pyro still around? No, I couldn't call them men, but more to the point, I have yet to find a website with less fruit of the spirit and more works of the flesh flowering proudly from every page. (ed.)

  266. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Abi Miah wrote:
    what a system of abuse looks like in an organization like a church. I don’t have time to hunt it up before work, but perhaps someone else will link it for you. It’s not about “just” one guy; it’s about how a whole system comes to be which enables the abuse to continue. That is background.
    I think the blog post Abi is referencing is probably this one:
    https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/responsibility-for-spiritual-abuse-part-2b/
    It’s in a series on “Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse” and this particular “pyramid of responsibility” is based on processing my own experiences in a rather confusing set of four major incidents of abusive churches and ministries that ended up totaling about 17 out of the last 40 years.

    Yes. Thank you! That is what I was referring to and the concept is very helpful to those trying to understand. So many times, people think it’s all about one person, not realizing that nearly the whole organization aligns to keep the abusive system flourishing and to make it very difficult to challenge the system from within. Good luck to any “loyal opposition.” There is a high price to pay for truth-telling, even if done gently and in love. Opposition is opposition in the mind of most dictators.

  267. While i am use to it, he makes a pretty sweeping negative comment “those scientist”…
    I am a practicing “scientist”… Am i one of “those” that Piper is tslking about?????

    @ May:

  268. PaJo wrote:

    @ Boyd:

    YES, THIS. Young elders.

    I am about 60 years old and it is hilarious to me to hear a 30 year-old preacher talk about a “deep insight” he got this week…something that a) I had learned many years ago and b) at a younger age than the preacher. It wouldn’t be half as amusing if the guy didn’t take himself so seriously.

    It does seem interesting to me that many (not all, of course) of these authoritative church leaders are in their 30s and early 40s since this is now the age group who first started showing up in my class with with all their “profound” insights. Back in the 1990s, I would chuckle to myself at the 18-20 somethings who thought their comments in my class were vastly important and PROFOUND. Everything under the sun was new for them AND they seemed to truly think that their comments were consistently superior to anything a professor might say.

  269. Melody – you said my thoughts better than I could. Thank you so much. As it happens, one of my closest friend’s is named Melody. These ministers have got to quit the “Good Old Boys” club and start manning up. Quit standing up for each other, just so they will do the same for you. I thought that’s what we did way back in school. I think I am way past that.

    Update – I had my foot surgery on Wednesday morning of this week. I have had a pretty tough time with the pain. I mistakenly asked for a lower grade of pain pills, which really haven’t helped at all. My husband went and got me a higher one this morning, and I am finally getting relief. I think I get a cast put on it in 2 weeks so to stabilize the screw that was put in and to let it heal. Thanks for the prayers.

  270. Abi Miah wrote:

    So many times, people think it’s all about one person, not realizing that nearly the whole organization aligns to keep the abusive system flourishing and to make it very difficult to challenge the system from within. Good luck to any “loyal opposition.” There is a high price to pay for truth-telling, even if done gently and in love. Opposition is opposition in the mind of most dictators.

    Over the past 40+ years, I’ve had the experience of being in, or catching periodic glimpses into, several situations where their organizational system got hijacked: A theological minority eventually took over control over the organizational machinery of a church plant, established church, or denomination. Often, those who took over ended up with significant financial resources under their control.

    In these case studies, I knew of individuals, couples, and sometimes groups or even member congregations that opposed the changes. They stayed as insiders to challenge the revisionists, and/or to help those who were being harmed by the changes. In retrospect, I can understand their own assessments that they felt led to stay insiders — although I know these “loyal opposition” people caught a lot of flak from both insiders and outsiders. Sometimes they heard similar things from both types: “If you don’t like what’s happening, why don’t you move on?” We need to leave room for the Holy Spirit to lead disciples in different ways. However, I’d also note that, from what I’ve seen at least, eventually all the loyal opposition people left the toxic situations they were in because there was no substantive change in direction — often over a very long time. Anyway, those experiences shaped how I see inside challenges to the onset of “new management” and their harmful practices.

    Here’s a quote from what I wrote about “loyal opposition” in my revised version of the pyramid of abuse.

    Loyal Opposition includes those who are aware of problems in the system – perhaps even the extent of harm being perpetrated. They seek to challenge and change it from inside the organization. This requires courage, which is commendable. But the overall experiences of challengers from inside abusive communities seems to be that their risks may not yield much. Maybe it depends on how far along the deception has gone; if it’s still in earlier stages, then perhaps interception and transformation to becoming safe are more possible. From my observations, the loyal opposition people often feel the most trapped by the system – hence, the image that shows someone stuck in the cog of a machine. Many have a lot of ambivalence even when they sense they are supposed to stay in the situation for the time being. “We need to look at the problems and how people are being affected by them, and see what we can do.”

    Granted, the dynamics of loyal opposition within a relatively informal network or a decentralized movement may have some significant differences with those having more set organizational boundaries like a church or denomination. That overall situation seems applicable in Together for the Gospel. Still thinking through what the similarities and differences might be …

  271. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Abi Miah wrote:
    So many times, people think it’s all about one person, not realizing that nearly the whole organization aligns to keep the abusive system flourishing and to make it very difficult to challenge the system from within. Good luck to any “loyal opposition.” There is a high price to pay for truth-telling, even if done gently and in love. Opposition is opposition in the mind of most dictators.
    Over the past 40+ years, I’ve had the experience of being in, or catching periodic glimpses into, several situations where their organizational system got hijacked: A theological minority eventually took over control over the organizational machinery of a church plant, established church, or denomination. Often, those who took over ended up with significant financial resources under their control.
    In these case studies, I knew of individuals, couples, and sometimes groups or even member congregations that opposed the changes. They stayed as insiders to challenge the revisionists, and/or to help those who were being harmed by the changes. In retrospect, I can understand their own assessments that they felt led to stay insiders — although I know these “loyal opposition” people caught a lot of flak from both insiders and outsiders. Sometimes they heard similar things from both types: “If you don’t like what’s happening, why don’t you move on?” We need to leave room for the Holy Spirit to lead disciples in different ways. However, I’d also note that, from what I’ve seen at least, eventually all the loyal opposition people left the toxic situations they were in because there was no substantive change in direction — often over a very long time. Anyway, those experiences shaped how I see inside challenges to the onset of “new management” and their harmful practices.
    Here’s a quote from what I wrote about “loyal opposition” in my revised version of the pyramid of abuse.
    Loyal Opposition includes those who are aware of problems in the system – perhaps even the extent of harm being perpetrated. They seek to challenge and change it from inside the organization. This requires courage, which is commendable. But the overall experiences of challengers from inside abusive communities seems to be that their risks may not yield much. Maybe it depends on how far along the deception has gone; if it’s still in earlier stages, then perhaps interception and transformation to becoming safe are more possible. From my observations, the loyal opposition people often feel the most trapped by the system – hence, the image that shows someone stuck in the cog of a machine. Many have a lot of ambivalence even when they sense they are supposed to stay in the situation for the time being. “We need to look at the problems and how people are being affected by them, and see what we can do.”
    Granted, the dynamics of loyal opposition within a relatively informal network or a decentralized movement may have some significant differences with those having more set organizational boundaries like a church or denomination. That overall situation seems applicable in Together for the Gospel. Still thinking through what the similarities and differences might be …

    I am not sure that we disagree. I am saying that some who think of themselves as “loyal opposition” (because they are loyal–they care–they want change for the better, they want to see redemption, they love both God and people) may find that they are marked for the stake. That’s what I was saying. Not doubting that there are those who try. But it should be done with the full understanding, particularly if the dictator is also narcissistic, that they may never know what hit them until they are flat on their face. As I believe HUG has said about his personal family experience, there is often a game afoot that the loyal opposition has no idea would be being played (because they aren’t the kind of people who play games), and by the time they see it, the trap has been sprung and it’s too late.

  272. Abi Miah wrote:

    I am not sure that we disagree. I am saying that some who think of themselves as “loyal opposition” (because they are loyal–they care–they want change for the better, they want to see redemption, they love both God and people) may find that they are marked for the stake. That’s what I was saying. Not doubting that there are those who try. But it should be done with the full understanding, particularly if the dictator is also narcissistic, that they may never know what hit them until they are flat on their face. As I believe HUG has said about his personal family experience, there is often a game afoot that the loyal opposition has no idea would be being played (because they aren’t the kind of people who play games), and by the time they see it, the trap has been sprung and it’s too late.

    Sorry if what I wrote came across as disagreement … it wasn’t. I’ve been in a situation or two where the leader demonstrated definite signs of lack of conscience or compassion (of course, they hid that well — at first — but eventually they slipped up, as seems inevitable). And yes, those who oppose eventually seem to leave, if they’re not kicked out or “disciplined” first. But usually by then it’s long since the trap was sprung. And then the loyal opposition people get turned into warning signs to those who remain. Rather insidious.

  273. Lydia wrote:

    I am pretty much done with hoping “leaders” will change because I view these functions as servants. Not “leaders” as we understand it in the western sense. They are actually following the Gentile model our Lord warned about.

    Agreed, hoping your local dictator becomes more benevolent is not a useful strategy.

  274. presbyterian wrote:

    This is very similar to how Presbyterian church trials or legal trials would be handled; you only deal with the question presented.
    I do applaud Carl and Aimee and Todd for speaking out about this.

    It’s not similar to a church trial at all because there was no prosecutor. The only questions put to them were the ones the defendant had preselected. It was a mockery and Trueman should’ve known better than to get involved.

    I don’t understand why he can’t just admit he made a mistake. Most of us realize that even wise men make mistakes. The refusal I see among Reformed leaders to ever admit mistakes was very disheartening to me.

  275. To the Deeb’s:

    (standing and applauding wildly…)

    “BRAVO.”

    I just finished the article, but haven’t read any comments. I had listened to the podcast the other day, and I’m so impressed with what I think is nothing short of valor coming from the MoS podcast. Not to undervalue anything you’ve accomplished here, but they really are sticking their neck out criticizing their own camp.

    Are you guys aware that two of the Calvinista “Top Men” called for Carl Trueman’s firing because of his criticisms?

  276. @ BL:

    Wow BL! That’s quite a litany of abuses. Others have gone before you, like the gentleman who was compelled to write these words after a long string of similar abuses:

    “When in the course of human events…”

    The price of liberty is never cheap as I take it you and many others have found out. But it’s well worth it in the long run. To breathe free… No longer under the spiritual lash of tyrants who claim to administer the will of the Almighty and other sacerdotal nonsense… No longer being bled dry to fill their coffers when you need a brake job and the kids need braces…

  277. Chris wrote:

    Are you guys aware that two of the Calvinista “Top Men” called for Carl Trueman’s firing because of his criticisms?

    Which ones? Has this been published online, or anywhere else?

  278. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    Chris wrote:

    Are you guys aware that two of the Calvinista “Top Men” called for Carl Trueman’s firing because of his criticisms?

    Which ones? Has this been published online, or anywhere else?

    Trueman has alluded to it a couple times on his blog. I don’t think he has named names.

  279. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    Chris wrote:
    Are you guys aware that two of the Calvinista “Top Men” called for Carl Trueman’s firing because of his criticisms?
    Which ones? Has this been published online, or anywhere else?

    He has briefly mentioned a couple of times nasty emails from Top Men demanding him to “shut up” about Driscoll. As for who called for his firing he won’t say and it won’t serve any good purpose to speculate.

  280. Chris wrote:

    Are you guys aware that two of the Calvinista “Top Men” called for Carl Trueman’s firing because of his criticisms?

    Would you like to meet some victims who have lost jobs and even their homes because they stood up for people? They are no longer in Ministry. Could not get a job there if they wanted one. Word travels and loyalty to the guru is everything today.

    It is costly to do right in what passes for evangelical Christendom.

    I don’t even blame Trueman for being careful but he can’t expect folks to take him seriously when he is vague in taking them on (which sounds more like saving the brand), ignoring victims and won’t even acknowledge his part in propping up Mahaney.

  281. andrew wrote:

    Boyd wrote:

    I wonder about this because I had a conversion with a PCA church planter who outright said that other PCA pastors in his presbytery told him NOT to chose anyone for eldership who was over the age of 35. I was completely shocked that pastors would recommend seeking out YOUNG men who likely lacked spiritual maturity as leaders. To me, the advice smacked of trying to stack the deck with easily manipulated men who would go along with the church planter’s ideas without any push back. I think that such an environment BREEDS pride in church planters, and often years go by without any corrective actions since they very men chosen to help oversee the church were chose on the basis of likelihood of NOT rocking the boat.
    This may not be the case inThe Journey situation, but I can’t help but wonder if at least some of the problems of authoritative leadership in recent years has some connection to the influx of young church planters being encouraged to NOT seek literal elders as leaders.

    one word of caution…it could be just a reflection of the congregational demographics. Now, that could lead to the next question of why their aren’t older people at that church, but that’s a separate issue IMO.

    Church planting in any suburban area is problematic since newly created suburbs tend to favor homogeneous communities. All the more reason to be very careful NOT to stack the deck with men whose maturity may not be highly developed.

    But my GUESS would be that the advice was based on not bringing into leadership those who would disagree with the church planter’s “vision” for how to GROW THE KINGDOM since that vision would include “techniques” for how to numerically grow the church plant.

  282. Someone at “Stuff Christian Culture Likes” linked to this (Mark Driscoll update):

    Airstream trailer? Fire truck? Midcentury Modern Chairs?
    http://link2.bblink.co/bbext/?p=land&id=3111CFFE26DD6279E0530100007F3D65&vid=8dd1172c-2609-c652-40a8-5f533c868478

    I have not listened to the video on the page of Driscoll talking (I don’t feel like putting my ear buds in right now to listen to it), but unless I am misunderstanding, Mark Driscoll is asking for funds to buy a fire truck and an air stream trailer – for his church?

    Someone in a comment under the linked to video said Driscoll is also asking for gently used Rolex watches and a bunch of other stuff? What?

  283. @ Daisy:

    I’ve listened to the Driscoll video. I don’t like listening to or watching Driscoll – and even seeing still photos of him makes my skin crawl, but I did it, I listened to the video.

    Driscoll wants an old fire truck with the church’s logo on it to put in the front of the church because it’s supposed to symbolize saving people from the fires of Hell.

    Driscoll also keeps mentioning wanting “mid- century furniture” for the church (he wants about 800 – 900 1960s era chairs to put in the church), and he used the word “hipster” several times. (As in, he wants the church to be or look hipster or attract hipster people.)

    Driscoll wants “Johnny Carson”- like curtains (or background- like set design) for the church.

    Driscoll says he’s meeting with a designer to put all this together.

    He wants carpet for the church auditorium, wants to paint the church.

    Do I sound like a Grinch when I say a lot of this stuff he wants sounds like a waste of money and unnecessary? Couldn’t any money raised for “hipster” chairs and stuff go instead to help old people in the area who need groceries?

  284. Chris wrote:

    Are you guys aware that two of the Calvinista “Top Men” called for Carl Trueman’s firing because of his criticisms?

    I was not aware of this. Shame on them! I hope they get exposed so that we can respond accordingly. 🙁

  285. Lydia, change doesn’t happen completely and with one fell swoop, it happens sometimes in degrees.
    Lydia wrote:

    Chris wrote:

    Are you guys aware that two of the Calvinista “Top Men” called for Carl Trueman’s firing because of his criticisms?

    Would you like to meet some victims who have lost jobs and even their homes because they stood up for people? They are no longer in Ministry. Could not get a job there if they wanted one. Word travels and loyalty to the guru is everything today.

    It is costly to do right in what passes for evangelical Christendom.

    I don’t even blame Trueman for being careful but he can’t expect folks to take him seriously when he is vague in taking them on (which sounds more like saving the brand), ignoring victims and won’t even acknowledge his part in propping up Mahaney.

  286. BL wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    With all due respect Carl Trueman does not owe you answers. And based upon the way some of these threads go I would discourage him from doing it.
    One does not have to answer or respond to questions expressed publicly via posting on a thread. There are other avenues available that eliminate dealing directly with the hoi poloi.

    I’ve been thinking about yesterday’s exchange. On this blog, people actually think about things and speak freely. I think that is unsettling to people from church cultures where people put up and shut up and submit to leadership. At least that’s how I was reading things.

  287. Nancy2 wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    I’m also still trying to figure out if any of these geniuses realize that women have testosterone and men have estrogen
    I would assume that we gurlz fall below the required legal limit for sanctification, so we have to ride in the back of the bus.

    The explanation of how women can’t be judges in a PCA court brought back a lot of memories for me – and none of them good.

  288. @ Chris:

    “Are you guys aware that two of the Calvinista “Top Men” called for Carl Trueman’s firing because of his criticisms?”
    ++++++++++

    WHO? Do these dickles have so much power that NO ONE will call them by name and make it plain what has happened? Are ALL the calvinistas just fine with this kind of abuse of power in their ranks?

  289. I don’t really blame Carl for not revealing the names, it’s his job and his business. I was raised by a guy who was a class act, and even when he was mistreated, he dealt with it himself and never caused a firestorm of gossip over it.

    There is something to be said for handing things with discretion and maturity. I’m sure they were soundly rebuked (good gravy, would *anyone*want to be on the receiving end of a Carl Trueman response??? Eesh, I think ones ears would melt), and anyway, it’s not like their ploy worked.

  290. … that’s not to downplay the hideousness of it. But because his response was so reserved and classy, instead of just being angry at their actions, I’ve grown in respect for him.

    God wants to do a work in their hearts. I’m praying regularly that it happens.

  291. Chris wrote:

    There is something to be said for handing things with discretion and maturity

    On a one on one basis in most places sure.

    The problem with churches is that they’ve gotten so controlling so creepy so full of groupthink and I open to disagreement that it is time to call them out. I’m not talking about Carl specifically but when corruption reaches a certain level you have to take it public to fix it.

  292. Daisy wrote:

    Do I sound like a Grinch

    I didn’t watch the video. But I read a bit of the blurb under the video.

    He also wants work parties, i.e. free labor to build his new little kingdom.
    He wants a whole lot. He has his hand out for some high dollar handouts. He’s kind of like a beggar king.

    And about the fire truck?
    Does he want to save them from the fire so he can turn around and throw them under the bus when the get in the way of his raging ego?

    Whatever, Driscoll. You are still too darn noisy.
    You need to make it your ambition to lead a quite life, attend to your own buisness, work with your hands, and eat your own bread, (1 Thess 4:11, and 2 Thess 3:12.)

  293. Chris wrote:

    Lydia, change doesn’t happen completely and with one fell swoop, it happens sometimes in degrees.

    My observation is that negative changes do usually happen by degrees.

    Positive changes usually require catastrophic events.

    People who remain in an abusive, controlling church are never going to be able to change the status quo towards a less abusive, controlling church. Even those churches that did not start as abusive and controlling.

    Churches that did not start as controlling and abusive increase those negative attributes in increments.

    Jesus spoke often about the quality of the spiritual leadership of the Pharisees.

    Today’s church leaders who desire to emulate Jesus would do well to speak against the actions of the hypocritical, perjurious Pharisees leading churches today.

    And speak of healing to the brokenhearted, bruised, and downcast, of freedom to the captives, of restored eyesight to those who still sit in the pews, those who were cast out, and those who left and are wandering in the wilderness.

    Even then the religious leaders didn’t speak out against their compatriots, although there were Pharisees who surreptitiously sought out Jesus.

    When Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,” He wasn’t just speaking about sin.

  294. Lydia wrote:

    @ 1Jn2Go:
    Then according to Pruitt, that is not sufficient evidence.

    According to Pruitt that is just speculation with no hard evidence and we cannot trust anyone who has no hard evidence.

  295. Chris wrote:

    Lydia, change doesn’t happen completely and with one fell swoop, it happens sometimes in degrees.

    There are many different perspectives here. That is a good thing. I am concerned that when someone with a Christian title pokes an anonymous bear, who was also involved in propping up the anonymous bear, is hailed as some sort of courageous hero– it should be concerning.

    It is also concerning because another affiliated “Christian title” came here and implied that there was absolutely no reason for Truman to investigate the online experiences from the former sgm members before he agreed to sit on the panel to declare Mahaney fit for Ministry. Some here agree there was good reason for that. I think it is naive and misses the whole point.

    My view is that their attitude toward Pew peons is still there. There are quite a few hints that is the case if you are paying attention instead of being impressed with who they are.

    I get the impression they are more concerned with the perceptions of the brand than they are with actual people. In that regard they are no different than the charlatans in the Seeker Mega movement. Just not as rich.

    But I am reading and hearing the smug authoritarianism in their messages loud and clear. Maybe I just have too much experience and am no longer impressed with Christian titles.

  296. Jeff Chalmers wrote:

    While i am use to it, he makes a pretty sweeping negative comment “those scientist”…
    I am a practicing “scientist”… Am i one of “those” that Piper is tslking about?????

    @ May:

    In my opinion, yes, he’s playing a trick by casually tossing aside any question of respect for human knowledge–as if all knowledge of God entered humans without their knowledge. I believe deeply in the Holy Spirit, but I can’t think of God without using my brain, which is the general-issue human variety.

    When the holy celebrities convince us not to trust our minds, possibilities for abuse flood the landscape.

  297. Daisy wrote:

    Driscoll also keeps mentioning wanting “mid- century furniture” for the church (he wants about 800 – 900 1960s era chairs to put in the church)

    Chairs over 35: good

    People over 35: bad

  298. Lydia wrote:

    “I realize he was brought in with specific instructions within tight parameters. That, alone, wasn’t suspicious? It reeked of the boys club circling the wagons.

    Kudos to Lydia and Dave AA for hitting the nail on the head here (in their usual fashion). I’m a long-time WW reader, infrequent poster. I spent 20 years in 2 different SGM churches and have followed events closely since Brent’s docs hit the internet almost 5 years ago.

    The preliminary panel was designed by SGM leadership to neutralize damage from “the documents” and cast doubt on Brent’s credibility. The scope of the 3-member panel was limited to deciding whether the sins CJ had already confessed were enough to disqualify him. It was not designed to evaluate Brent’s evidence and opine on whether CJ had fully owned up to everything. If memory serves, CJ never admitted to lying, manipulation or blackmail.

    Let’s review the timeline for a second. Brent sent out the docs to SGM pastors in June 2011. They were posted online by SGM wikileaks on July 2 2011 (give or take a few days).

    Keep in mind that Brent sent his 600-page tome to all SGM pastors because he didn’t think CJ had adequately confessed the extent of his wrong-doing. I’m not propping up Brent’s perspective here, just clarifying the sequence of events.

    The preliminary panel issued their statement on July 27, just over 3 weeks after the docs went public. In their August 2 2011 blog post announcing the findings of the panel, SGM said “Two weeks ago, we formed a preliminary panel…”

    It strains the bounds of credulity that in 2 short weeks these 3 busy guys could study 600 pages of emails and commentary, put it into the context of SGM’s shepherding history and dysfunctional ecosystem, and then discuss their findings and write a joint opinion with any degree of confidence.

    (And we all know DeYoung isn’t just busy, he’s Crazy Busy!)

    The panel was, by design, a rush job engineered to get exactly the outcome SGM wanted.

    I’m not impugning the motives or character of the 3 men who were on the panel. I’m sure they had good intentions. But they were played. They should’ve smelled something was off in the whole fishy business and declined to take part.

    But hindsight is 20/20. I should know.

    (p.s. Out of SGM for 3 years now and reprogramming nicely.)

  299. Friend wrote:

    When the holy celebrities convince us not to trust our minds, possibilities for abuse flood the landscape.

    So. My mind can’t be trusted — but I’m supposed to trust *theirs*?

    That’s false logic.

    But then, if I can’t trust my own mind, then I should probably doubt its conclusion that it’s false logic.

    Or should I doubt my doubts about it being false logic that I cannot trust their mind because I cannot trust my own?

    There. That should be sufficiently eruditely “meta” enough to be winning!

    Or is that kind of ridiculous riff off of abstract authoritarian theology how gnosticism gains a foothold, where only smart people count? (I.e., the theologians.) (Or whoever started the pyramid scheme and reaps the rewards of fleecing the freedoms of those underneath?)

  300. Chris wrote:

    Lydia, change doesn’t happen completely and with one fell swoop, it happens sometimes in degrees.

    I agree in part mainly because the inertia of any human institution over time is huge. Couple that with a supposed ‘divine mandate’ of authority from the pages of Scripture, and the resistance to change gets even heavier. The model of doing ‘church’ in the calvinista regimes has not changed since Constantine and the medieval period. Back then there was no such thing as The Rights of Man and this mindset had great influence on the ‘church’ as a social institution and it has carried on into the present day practices of said calvinista regimes.
    I agree that we, dissidents here at TWW and elsewhere are the agents of change and that change will come about by degrees as you’ve stated.

  301. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    So. My mind can’t be trusted — but I’m supposed to trust *theirs*?

    That’s right Brad, and they have the clobber verses from the Bible to prove it.

  302. Muff Potter wrote:

    brad/futuristguy wrote:

    So. My mind can’t be trusted — but I’m supposed to trust *theirs*?

    That’s right Brad, and they have the clobber verses from the Bible to prove it.

    How do they know their conclusions can be trusted?

    Guess THEY alone “have the mind of Christ.”

    Oh, right, the Spirit was wrong in inspiring those words in Scripture that this is YOU ALL, not just them all.

  303. Mrs Huxtable wrote:

    If memory serves, CJ never admitted to lying, manipulation or blackmail.

    Yeah, just to very vague things, like “unentreatability”, as I recall. Hard to pin down what Mahaney was actually copping to.

  304. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Oh, right, the Spirit was wrong in inspiring those words in Scripture that this is YOU ALL, not just them all.

    That’s easy, Brad. YOU ALL is “redefined” to elders. 😉 The circular thought pattern works well for the ones who want to have a sphere of influence.

  305. Lydia wrote:

    I get the impression they are more concerned with the perceptions of the brand than they are with actual people.

    You are very astute, Lydia. I agree this has been the case for years, and still is. Carl Trueman is concerned about brand-making, yet ironically his prime concern appears to be the damage that might be caused to the ‘Reformed faith’. Which has become a brand in and of itself.

  306. Friend wrote:

    When the holy celebrities convince us not to trust our minds, possibilities for abuse flood the landscape.

    Yes. We are supposed to throw off the entire scientific discipline because it’s ‘of man’ (and Piper appears not to have the intelligence to understand a lot of it but no matter). Yet at the same time we are to naively believe and trust every word that comes out of Piper’s mouth.

  307. Lydia wrote:

    Mrs Huxtable wrote:
    The panel was, by design, a rush job engineered to get exactly the outcome SGM wanted.
    Yes! It was a setup from the start.

    And they did it fast too head off anyone “looking behind the curtain.”

    BTW – Brent did not release the documents as Phil Johnson keeps saying. Brent sent the documents to SGM pastors after he was getting no where with the SGM big wigs. One of the Pastors secretly released the docs after Brent spent years trying to address the situation with the elite of SGM. Phil Johnson keeps coming that Brent just dumped things into the public realm – not true. All this said, I am no fan of Brent as he was guilty of similar harsh and hierarchial antics as other SGM big wigs until he was no longer a big wig.

  308. Mara wrote:

    And about the fire truck?
    Does he want to save them from the fire so he can turn around and throw them under the bus when the get in the way of his raging ego?

    Excellent observation. Yes, he wants to save them with a fire truck so he can thrown them under his bus later.

    This, by Friend, was also a most excellent observation:

    Daisy wrote:
    Driscoll also keeps mentioning wanting “mid- century furniture” for the church (he wants about 800 – 900 1960s era chairs to put in the church)

    Chairs over 35: good
    People over 35: bad

  309. Lydia wrote:

    I don’t even blame Trueman for being careful but he can’t expect folks to take him seriously when he is vague in taking them on (which sounds more like saving the brand), ignoring victims and won’t even acknowledge his part in propping up Mahaney.

    Not just the brand – but also the position.

    I am not referencing Truman specifically, but there is a hesitancy to address abuses perpetrated by other leaders, in part I believe due to protectiveness toward the ‘position’.

  310. Lydia wrote:

    @ Bridget:
    Even Brent played the “pastor only” game.

    Even as he just stated on Phil’s FB that he was second in command at SGM for a time. . . .

  311. BL wrote:

    but there is a hesitancy to address abuses perpetrated by other leaders, in part I believe due to protectiveness toward the ‘position’.

    You can’t possibly be referring to that coveted pastor/elder position now, can you, BL? 😉

  312. Bridget wrote:

    The circular thought pattern works well for the ones who want to have a sphere of influence.

    Closed system, bound set, circular thought patterns — like peas in a can in a locked pantry.

  313. Bridget wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    @ Bridget:
    Even Brent played the “pastor only” game.

    Even as he just stated on Phil’s FB that he was second in command at SGM for a time. . . .

    There is this thinking in that movement that only pastors can judge other pastors. This was basically Todd’s position if people were reading close enough. It was probably one of the reasons that Carl trueman never even considered looking at the stories of the former member survivors before he sat on the panel. There were two Survivor blogs that had been going on for several years chocked full of information on how that shepherding cult operated.

    It is a fundamental flaw of their system that only pastors or theological leaders are entitled to make judgements.

  314. Lydia wrote:

    There is this thinking in that movement that only pastors can judge other pastors.

    Exactly. And we mere pewpeons must abide by their holy judgement.

  315. This whole “brand” thing makes me ill. I’ve never been a person who is very susceptible to advertising and seeing the same type of thought applied to the faith is so off-putting.

  316. @ siteseer:

    ha…. you know what churches remind me of? franchises all copying each other, just like Starbucks, Peet’s, Tully’s, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, McDonalds, Wet Seal, Aeropostale,….. not one original thought.

    I can’t take them seriously any more, nor can I believe in the sincerity of their mission. especially since statistics-wise, the people they cull are simply moving from one church to another (“my competitors’ loss is my gain, oh well”). non-churched people pay no attention to them. I don’t believe church leaders really care — as long as there are noses and nickels to keep their own machine running. and their personal significance meter topped up.

  317. May wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    There is this thinking in that movement that only pastors can judge other pastors.

    Exactly. And we mere pewpeons must abide by their holy judgement.

    100% correct. That’s the crux of the problem right there. For all the talk of the ‘reformed’ faith – there is plenty that remains to be reformed. For starters this artificial distinction between ‘clergy’ and ‘laity’ that is a holdover from the Constantinian/Holy Roman Empire model. Explains Todd Pruitt’s indignation – how dare we unenlightened peasants challenge the special elite of priests that have ‘true’ understanding and knowledge.

  318. @ Ron Oommen:
    I had to chuckle listening to the MoS podcast everyone is raving about. In it, Trueman gives us a glimpse of his “humble pastor” bonafides by mentioning how he goes up front and shakes hands as people leave. Then He makes himself available if they are sticking around for coffee and want to talk to him.

    Wow. How impressive. As if it is some great feat mixing with the peasants. Why is this even a thing?

    The local mega pastors are now doing a variation of that one before and after services. (Shhh. The plainclothes guys trolling around them are there protection Duty)

    And the peasants are ecstatic. Grown men and women are acting like teenagers at a rock concert who get to touch their Idol. Now it is the big brag how Humble they are.

    I realize Carl’s church is tiny but how is the foundation of his thinking any different. You make a personal connection with people as equals by spending time with them.

    Are people so immersed in cult of personality or title worship they cannot see how ridiculous this is in the Body of Christ?

    It is people in the churches who go right along with this clergy/ laity distinction. That is where our focus should be by mapping that thinking to ehat Jesus Christ was like while here.

    I am long Beyond understanding why anyone would want to go and hear one guy speak week after week after week on spiritual matters. And we wonder why spiritual maturity is stunted.

  319. Lydia wrote:

    I am long Beyond understanding why anyone would want to go and hear one guy speak week after week after week on spiritual matters.

    Interesting. I’m interested to know why you think this model is flawed – since it’s what so many churches follow – and what model you think would work better?

  320. @ May:
    That is a complicated question. Do we start with the purpose for the Body of Christ and define that? Was it really people facing forward and listening to one special guy speak at every meeting? Was there some of that? Was it much more? Granted the early church had a steep learning curve between Yahweh, Old covenant and pagan religion all mingling. But we don’t.

    I guess I would start with the lack of literacy and how that shaped the tradition of a special few holding the power to impart “truth” from scripture to the masses.

    We have all that now at our fingertips, for free. Add to that, it is unlikely that most adults where we live have never heard of Jesus Christ so the focus is not really getting the word out.

    If we are to be the light of the world, that is better implementated through everyday life as doctors, janitors, retail workers, lawyers, etc. How can we help others? How can we seek justice for the oppressed? How can we help people become independent and responsible? Why isn’t the Body of Christ filled with people of Integrity, character, mercy, compassion and basically just? Do we really believe those characteristics are unobtainable?

    How can the Body help in that respect when it is so corrupt and stifling as church is today? Church exists to maintain itself. It has to. The pastors are often slick and have little experience in the real world of work.

    The Body should be a place where you can trust, open and transparent.

    These are just some thoughts.

  321. Lydia wrote:

    These are just some thoughts.

    If I may add another. Forty years ago I found the lectures boring and not useful but I endured them to get an engineering degree. At the time I thought I was just an exception, that almost all others found lectures effective, but since then I’ve read study after study that lectures are a poor vehicle for teaching.

    If the pastor suggests his lectures are not aimed less for teaching and more for evangelism, then I would suggest he get out more and not keep evangelizing the same people week after week.

    It has been more than once that I thought I had something down pat when one well placed question blew it apart. Unfortunately if the pastor preaches something in error in front of hundreds, then I am supposed to go to him privately to register disagreement. I am certain, I’ve heard the admissions, pastors are terrified of being challenged openly. At the very least, a shorter message followed up by questions would be more stimulating.

  322. @ Lydia:

    Thanks for answering. I also have problems with the idea that ‘the sermon is the central part of the service and must be at least 30 mins long’ but find it hard to articulate why.

  323. Bill M wrote:

    a shorter message followed up by questions would be more stimulating.

    Yes, definitely. Why don’t preachers won’t this? If they can’t answer, or even face being questioned, are they qualified to preach at all?

    On the other hand, my pastor tried to introduce a more interactive style of sermon (evening service) at which he ASKED questions and invited some input… It didn’t go down too well with a lot of members who, as it turned out, want to sit passively and not have to exert themselves in any way.

  324. May wrote:

    It didn’t go down too well with a lot of members who, as it turned out, want to sit passively and not have to exert themselves in any way.

    Decades of training will do this to people:(

  325. @ May:

    “…a more interactive style of sermon (evening service) at which he ASKED questions and invited some input… It didn’t go down too well with a lot of members who, as it turned out, want to sit passively and not have to exert themselves in any way.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    yes, sit passively.

    people come to church out of habit, primarily. but also because it presents a unique combination of things: the opportunity to at once have some social needs met to some degree without having to be social, and to at once reap spiritual benefits without having to be spiritual.

    -sitting amongst people is a social experience. all chuckling together or mmhmmm-ing together or sighing or exclaiming together (even if you missed the reasons why)

    -you don’t have to give out at all. you get to sit for quite a long time, in a warm social setting with your peers, you don’t have to talk, you don’t have to make eye contact, your mind can wander, you can daydream, you can snooze a little.

    -you can catch a few bits of a self-help sermon if you feel like it, or not

    -all this, and you get to feel like you really did something worthwhile and good for you, giving you the feeling that you’re prepared for the week.

    -plus, you get to feel some reassurance and confidence that God is smiling on you. you’ve just increased your odds of having a really good week.

  326. @ May:

    ” I also have problems with the idea that ‘the sermon is the central part of the service and must be at least 30 mins long’ but find it hard to articulate why.”
    +++++++++++++

    as do I.

    Here are some of my reasons:

    -it’s boring
    -I’ve heard it all before
    -inspiration and insight are entirely absent
    -my mind wanders
    -5 minutes after it’s over i couldn’t tell you what it was about
    -it represents a ton of tithe money
    -it’s real purpose is to create a job (justify the pastor’s paycheck)

    to boil it all down:

    1) it’s not time well-spent for anyone
    2) it’s unintelligently perpetuating a tradition
    3) it’s about the pastor and for the pastor
    4) using other people’s money to do so
    5) it’s not a good use of other people’s money

  327. Bill M wrote:

    If the pastor suggests his lectures are not aimed less for teaching and more for evangelism, then I would suggest he get out more and not keep evangelizing the same people week after week.

    Oh my! You and I are on the same page here. I just don’t get it. If you look around week after week it’s almost as if people are either getting their weekly fix or doing their weekly duty by listening. What is the point???

    Bill M wrote:

    It has been more than once that I thought I had something down pat when one well placed question blew it apart. Unfortunately if the pastor preaches something in error in front of hundreds, then I am supposed to go to him privately to register disagreement. I am certain, I’ve heard the admissions, pastors are terrified of being challenged openly. At the very least, a shorter message followed up by questions would be more stimulating.

    That first sentence is so true. Iron sharpens iron. But there is little of that in church. I think church should be a place where we are diving into all different kinds of theories and theologies. Can you imagine studying the roots and differences in penal substitutionary atonement vs Christus Victor? When I visited a Jewush Temple, I saw where they have opposing scholars into teach and take questions.

    My guess is that the typical pastor was taught PSA in seminary and couldn’t make a case on Christus Victor if he wanted to — he was just told it was heresy and bought it. Just so much indoctrination!

    My former pastor was an OT scholar so we were treated to a lot of historical context that was fascinating. He also lived for discussion. I miss it.

    I am just done with the typical evangelical format. At the liturgical service, there was a ton of Bible reading and a 10 min message. I am about as far creedal as you can get. But I handle that much better than the self important pastor who thinks their Piper sermon is the most important event of my week. No thanks.

  328. Lydia wrote:

    Granted the early church had a steep learning curve between Yahweh, Old covenant and pagan religion all mingling. But we don’t. I guess I would start with the lack of literacy and how that shaped the tradition of a special few holding the power to impart “truth” from scripture to the masses.

    We have all that now at our fingertips, for free. Add to that, it is unlikely that most adults where we live have never heard of Jesus Christ so the focus is not really getting the word out.

    Lewis commented on this subject once — I don’t recall which book I saw it in (it was ages ago) and I don’t remember his exact words. As I recall, he noted that in ages past, wisdom and knowledge were monopolized by gurus — by men who were educated and literate, and who distilled their learning into wisdom for their followers. He also noted the situation in our age, in which libraries and the press have made knowledge much more widely available, such that the literati can no longer hoard it all to themselves. So the guru/follower model isn’t feasible anymore, but a new model hasn’t yet arrived to replace it, so that even with all the information at our fingertips, we haven’t gained wisdom.

    The part I remember most clearly was when Lewis posed this question: “Could it be that God intends for all people to be wise?” I can’t help thinking that this is a primary purpose of his Church: to make all people wise. And it’s a shame that the institution of “church” seems to be standing in the way.

  329. @ Lydia:
    I think we can learn far more about a professing Christian based on what atonement theory they reject and why than by what atonement theory they claim to prefer. It seems that the rejected theory gives us a possible window into what they would rather not believe they needed Jesus to accomplish for them. Take penal substitutionary atonement. For people who might not feel they did anything bad enough or willful enough, why need a substitute? Conversely, and I say this having had about a decade at Mars Hill to arrive at this proposal, guys who reject christus exemplar seem to think that they don’t need Jesus’ life to be an example for them to follow. I contend that the theory of the atonement a Christian rejects is a way to contemplate and appreciate the love of Christ they consciously reject and it says more about their immaturity than about the theory they’ve rejected. No mature Christian I’ve ever met or corresponded with rejects any of the atonement theories. Instead they embrace them all and make sure to demonstrate that as inadequate as any one of them are in isolation, they help us to meditate on the mystery of Christ’s sacrificial love for us. Atonement theories are helpful metaphors but each metaphor has an applicational limit.

  330. @ WenatcheeTheHatchet:
    Wow, What an insight! I’ll keep that in mind. I really appreciate Leon Morris (google Atonement) for he has all theories explain something about the work of Christ and our redemption. Worth meditating on all of them. It’s funny they are called “theories” when they are really something other–maybe aspects of the atonement?

  331. I’m still trying to figure out why Todd came on here blistering about slander then went on Twitter to complain many hate church authority. I did think he was Protestant. I stand corrected.

    All snark aside, no pastor can expect Christians to submit to church authority if said authority shows partiality rather than humble respect for the authority of the Word of God, who is Love!

  332. Which is to say, I think their underlying angle was wrong. Things cannot go back the way they were if there is to be healing. Even Paul pointed out it was wrong to let yourself be slapped around by abusers. The contrast was his service.

    Melody wrote:

    I’m still trying to figure out why Todd came on here blistering about slander then went on Twitter to complain many hate church authority. I did think he was Protestant. I stand corrected.

    All snark aside, no pastor can expect Christians to submit to church authority if said authority shows partiality rather than humble respect for the authority of the Word of God, who is Love!

  333. In fairness to Todd his exact comment was about “biblical church government and discipline”.
    Here was my other thought: many in similar circles get all upset about Christians going to court. Yet they refuse to deal with serious sins either when they are crimes per Romans 13 or biblically in the church per 1 Corinthians 6 when it involves allegations against powerful members of the congregation, like leaders. So if they were in that position as a lowly family, what would they do to vindicate what happened and protect others? Seriously. It’s Pharisaichal loading of loads without lifting a finger to help those burdened.

    @ Melody:

  334. Melody wrote:

    “biblical church government and discipline”.

    The problem is the defining of this term. There are probably hundreds of definitions. Most of them end up involving elders and not the church. My definition of what they really mean is “male elder government and discipline.”

  335. Lydia wrote:

    pcapastor wrote:
    and simply said, “CJ Mahaney is not even IN ‘ministry’ as properly understood, in that he is untrained and essentially self-ordained, so there is no way I can come to a place of declaring him either qualified or unqualified for ministry — Detwiler too for that matter. Come back to me if or when either of them actually become ministers of the gospel as defined by the New Testament.”
    I don’t know a whole lot about the PCA but I do know they take their processes seriously from my time working on certain projects with their Seminary here. You’ve made an interesting point which makes me wonder why other PCA pastors involved in this situation are not concerned?
    I say the same for the SBC. I have never been in an SBC church that did not have an ordained pastor from one of the seminaries. I know the SBC is not as strict and her churches are autonomous but still it is unusual.
    Yet, SGL has joined the SBC with a pastor that has no education or ordination from the SBC unless Mohler arranged it. And that is a possibility. Who knows. Stranger things have happened from that movement.

    Great question, Lydia, and great points.

    I don’t know the answer either, as to why other PCA pastors involved in alliances with CJ Mahaney are not concerned. I SO wish they were.

    At the end of the day, all that matters is one’s allegiance to Christ and His Body, but, personally, I do want the PCA to have a good reputation in the eyes of those who are not in the PCA. The way I figure it, if one of the qualifications for a particular elder/overseer (including myself) is that “he must also have a good reputation for outsiders,” according to 1 Timothy 3; how much more so for a whole denomination, in order to be qualified for our very existence, to have a good reputation with (fair-minded!) outsiders. That is one of the reasons I have commented periodically on this blog, with “pcapastor” as my identifier. I do not want the PCA to be identified – wholly, though unfortunately we may be partially through PCA men like Lig Duncan and now Kevin DeYoung – with CJ Mahaney and his brand of extra-biblical unethical abusive spirituality.

    The bond between Mahaney and Mohler/Dever (and here I show my hand, as if I haven’t already) makes more sense, given their terrible ecclesiology and anabaptist beliefs, but it does indeed grieve me that some PCA men would bond themselves to Mahaney.

    I agree with you, though, “stranger things have happened.”

    Grace and Peace to you!

  336. Lydia wrote:

    The local mega pastors are now doing a variation of that one before and after services.

    Unless you go to gateway, where you watch the sermon on TV and the pastor isn’t even there! (although maybe there was a lesser pastor in the building…)

  337. Bill M wrote:

    At the very least, a shorter message followed up by questions would be more stimulating.

    I actually think sunday school fits this model well. Or at least, it can.

    (I am now going to a ‘liturgical’ type church, so the actual sermon part is quite short. Most of it is music, readings, etc).

  338. Lea wrote:

    where you watch the sermon on TV and the pastor isn’t even there! (although maybe there was a lesser pastor in the building…)

    This is happening all over the country.

  339. Bridget wrote:

    My definition of what they really mean is “male elder government and discipline.”

    If they were using church discipline to take care of true evil in the church, whether pastors abusing congregation members, abusers, of adults or children, then I don’t think they would be seeing so much pushback. Since we’ve seen how it is actually being used so poorly, it’s easier to point out the systemic flaws.

    Also ‘biblical’ government for a certain set means whatever the guys in charge decided, that keeps them with as much ‘authority’ as they can grasp. As we can see, these things lead to major problems and misuse.

  340. @ Lea:
    This is a great point. I do wonder what the local mega satellites do? Perhaps they show the shaking of the Celebrity hands before and after service on the IMAG. (Orwellian problem, eh?)

  341. @ pcapastor:
    “most” of the Anabaptists were too busy running and hiding from the state church Reformer’s “punishments” like drownings for adult baptisms and dissenting from a church state, they did not have time to get into a lot shenanigans except the Munster evil.

    But nice try…. :o) Anabaptists were the hunted, not the hunters.

  342. Melody wrote:

    I’m still trying to figure out why Todd came on here blistering about slander then went on Twitter to complain many hate church authority.

    That is just it. They don’t want to do away with their concept of church authority. They just want Mahaney to go away because he’s an embarrassing example of church authoritarianism and where it can lead.

  343. pcapastor wrote:

    given their terrible ecclesiology and anabaptist beliefs,

    Do PCA folks when know why and how the Westminster Confessional was instituted?

  344. Lydia wrote:

    That is just it. They don’t want to do away with their concept of church authority.

    No they don’t. Someone earlier, maybe pcapastor, lauded the “biblical” church governance of his denomination.

  345. Melody wrote:

    I’m still trying to figure out why Todd came on here blistering about slander then went on Twitter to complain many hate church authority.

    His tweeted opinions, 6 1/2 hours apart on the same day.

    Todd Pruitt ‏@ToddPruitt6 5:47 AM – 22 Apr 2016
    If you are offended by dissent it probably means you are a celebrity (or desperately want to be).

    Todd Pruitt ‏@ToddPruitt6 12:17 PM – 22 Apr 2016
    Beware the comment threads of grievance blogs. I was warned. Never again.

    Ummm…

  346. Lydia wrote:

    @ pcapastor:
    “most” of the Anabaptists were too busy running and hiding from the state church Reformer’s “punishments” like drownings for adult baptisms and dissenting from a church state, they did not have time to get into a lot shenanigans except the Munster evil.
    But nice try…. :o) Anabaptists were the hunted, not the hunters.

    Ha ha! Sorry for not being clearer; used “anabaptist” with a lower case “a” as an adjective for those that would require an additional baptism in order to be counted part of the church; not “Anabaptist” with an upper case “A” as a noun referring to those who were indeed the hunted in many cases.

  347. Bridget wrote:

    pcapastor wrote:
    given their terrible ecclesiology and anabaptist beliefs,
    Do PCA folks when know why and how the Westminster Confessional was instituted?

    I am sure some do and some don’t.

  348. Patrice wrote:

    Todd Pruitt ‏@ToddPruitt6 5:47 AM – 22 Apr 2016
    If you are offended by dissent it probably means you are a celebrity (or desperately want to be).
    Todd Pruitt ‏@ToddPruitt6 12:17 PM – 22 Apr 2016
    Beware the comment threads of grievance blogs. I was warned. Never again.
    Ummm…

    Well Bless his Heart.

  349. Patrice wrote:

    Todd Pruitt ‏@ToddPruitt6 12:17 PM – 22 Apr 2016
    Beware the comment threads of grievance blogs. I was warned. Never again.

    I don’t know if he was referring to this blog or not. I do appreciate him coming here, and I know some challenged him, but no one here said anything horrible. But we do say and ask some things that can be challenging, and that’s exactly what the church in general needs so leaders know that they’re being held accountable.

  350. Patrice wrote:

    Beware the comment threads of grievance blogs. I was warned. Never again.

    “Never again will I engage directly with the plebs.”

  351. I agree. Has Todd ever come back and actually engaged the concerns expressed? Would he explain who willfully slandered Carl? Not from what I am seeing. What a shame.
    Patriciamc wrote:

    BL wrote:

    Todd Pruitt wrote:
    With all due respect Carl Trueman does not owe you answers. And based upon the way some of these threads go I would discourage him from doing it.
    One does not have to answer or respond to questions expressed publicly via posting on a thread. There are other avenues available that eliminate dealing directly with the hoi poloi.

    I’ve been thinking about yesterday’s exchange. On this blog, people actually think about things and speak freely. I think that is unsettling to people from church cultures where people put up and shut up and submit to leadership. At least that’s how I was reading things.

  352. Precisely. And incidentally that is an attitude that is contrary to how the Word of God authoritatively speaks of pastoral character.

    @ May:

  353. Melody wrote:

    What a shame.

    I think, and this is what I thought from the other article of his we were talking about, that Todd is only partway there on this stuff. He gets some things that are wrong. But he’s only halfway there. He’s not ready to change anything substantial yet. I hope he gets there one day. (Carl from my limited knowledge of him seems further along – although I would like to hear his thoughts about the CJ thing he participated in)

  354. This is the natural conclusion one can’t help but come to watching the behaviors. Lydia wrote:

    Melody wrote:

    I’m still trying to figure out why Todd came on here blistering about slander then went on Twitter to complain many hate church authority.

    That is just it. They don’t want to do away with their concept of church authority. They just want Mahaney to go away because he’s an embarrassing example of church authoritarianism and where it can lead.

  355. He probably is under a lot of pressure feeling like between a rock and a hard place. I guess I dint expect him to change his views though he should look at them. I simply expect him to treat fellow human beings with humility and gentleness, not attack. I felt he needed a reality check for that, personally. A lot of people have been losing friends for this for a lot longer than he. He could try to have some pastoral compassion. @ Lea:

  356. One final thought and I’ll be silent for now. The reason I’m harping on this is that I’ve been dealing with Todd P’s type of attitude from many evangelicals since beginning to talk about SGM victims. Imagine how much longer they have been dealing with being thought unbelievers or bitter or slanderers by Christians, even when they are believers themselves. There is too much bullying in evangelicalism and if you stand up to it they paint you as the divisive one or bully. I’m weary of it and I won’t tolerate it anymore. I am so thankful for this blog and the freedom it gives people to speak their mind rather than be evangelical nice. I believe in the end those men who think themselves so courageous for finally waking up to spiritual abuse (testimony from SGMsurvivors and brentdetwiler constitutes more than two witnesses) will be proved to be less so than the bloggers they so love to discredit. God is sovereignly using the Internet as He uses the printing press to spread truth.

  357. pcapastor wrote:

    Bridget wrote:
    pcapastor wrote:
    given their terrible ecclesiology and anabaptist beliefs,

    Do PCA folks when know why and how the Westminster Confessional was instituted?

    I am sure some do and some don’t.

    They probably also don’t know that there are different versions of why, what for, and that many people viewed it as tyrranical and heavy handedly enforced upon populations.

    It is no wonder that many people view religion as abusive.

  358. Melody wrote:

    I simply expect him to treat fellow human beings with humility and gentleness, not attack.

    Humility does not seem to be a very common character trait with pastors these days. He tried a bit, and I really want to just give him half points. But I think he took a number of things personally, including any comments about his friend. And that made him bite back.

  359. @ Melody:

    Oh. I also think it’s hilarious when people run to twitter to complain about something in another part of the internet.

  360. Patriciamc wrote:

    I don’t know if he was referring to this blog or not.

    I suspect he did.

    He really doesn’t understand how messy escape and recovery are.
    Nor did does he understand that you can’t just come into a place frequented by the walking wounded with both barrels blazing and not expect some push back. There ARE going to be questions. No one was wrong to ask them.

    He can’t come in, state his case as he perceives it, and not let others show him that there may actually be more.
    His way isn’t the only way.

    I’m disappointed that he couldn’t take a minute and work a few things out. He would have gained considerably.

    I’m sorry that his entrance and exit here was more of the same-o-same-o from the spiritual elite. There is only one way to see things, his way. And if you don’t accept his way as the only way, then he can’t stick around. And he, sure as heck, isn’t going to listen long enough to see that there might be more going on than his limited understanding.

  361. Mara wrote:

    He would have gained considerably

    And this blog would have also gained a great deal by the things he could have added.
    Yes, I am disappointed.

  362. I agree with these most recent comments, for what it is worth.

    To my eye, the guy received WAY more positive and encouraging interactions with his comments from the commenters here than he did negative and critical ones, and yet because of a few less-than-careful remarks (I am IN FAVOR of less-than-careful remarks, by the way, but I recognize that not everyone is) he chose to take his leave.

    On his Facebook page he identified his interaction here at TWW by name, wrote, “I went in determined to speak gently which I did. And a few responded in kind. But the attack dogs were out as well. They take no prisoners,” and then he got bolstered by the amen chorus of his Facebook friends. He needs better friends, at least one who would say, “Why don’t you go back and go the extra mile with those folks, turning the other cheek where you are personally attacked, as Jesus commands?”

    That being said (if he is still reading here), and I know I speak for everyone here, his calling out T4G by name (using his own name, which is more than I have done) and strongly pleading for them to speak to the VICTIMS of CJ Mahaney’s corrupt ways, was tremendous.

  363. ‘On his Facebook page he identified his interaction here at TWW by name, wrote, “I went in determined to speak gently which I did. And a few responded in kind. But the attack dogs were out as well. They take no prisoners,”’
    +++++++++

    ‘speak gently’ and ‘attack dogs were out’….. hmmm, it’s like he’s simultaneously from Brooklyn and the South. quite blunt and direct with the ‘slander! slander!’ thing, and quite taken aback by in-kind blunt and direct responses.

    (Brooklyn i know; the south, a matter of my impressions — & I hope I didn’t offend any Southerners here)

  364. I’ve been listening to old issues of MoS, and it’s pretty interesting. Like most of us, these guys live in a bubble, except that theirs is Reformed, and they take it quite seriously. Interacting with this irreverent crew was probably quite a shock.

    They did interview Tom Askol, one of the Baptist founders of “The Founders,” who look back to the Reformed roots of the SBC. The asked why the SBC left the Reformed fold, and Askol’s answer was basically that this is a sinful world, and things usually become corrupted.

    So the reason there are Arminians, is sin.

    March 4, 2015. It explains a lot about the “Reformed Faith” and how they view the rest of us.

  365. elastigirl wrote:

    But the attack dogs were out as well. They take no prisoners,”’

    Good heavens. There were no attack dogs. There were people who asked hard questions, but not unreasonable ones. I tried to say this subtly in a post above, but I’ll say it here directly. Todd is from a tradition that does not allow questions and challenges, so he was taken by surprise by people not toeing the party line and not submitting to his leadership (and so on).

  366. Mara wrote:

    Patriciamc wrote:
    I don’t know if he was referring to this blog or not.
    I suspect he did.

    Me too. I was just trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  367. Lea wrote:

    Humility does not seem to be a very common character trait with pastors these days. He tried a bit, and I really want to just give him half points. But I think he took a number of things personally, including any comments about his friend. And that made him bite back.

    It seemed to me that he started off pretty defensive since some of us had just posted critiques of the Reformed “faith.” It might be hard for him to swallow, but he needs to know how his Reformed religion comes across to others and how it loses credibility.

  368. patriciamc wrote:

    so he was taken by surprise by people not toeing the party line and not submitting to his leadership (and so on).

    He’s going to have to get the heck over that!
    Sheesh. Another example of being able to dish it out pounds and pounds of it, hand over fist, but not an ounce of ability to take it?

    With all this talk about sanctified testosterone, you’d think the neo-Calvinist could produce a few men. All I see is whiny baby-brats. Grow up and grow a pair!

  369. Lydia wrote:

    That is just it. They don’t want to do away with their concept of church authority. They just want Mahaney to go away because he’s an embarrassing example of church authoritarianism and where it can lead.

    True, true!

    They don’t perceive how foundationally flawed their understanding of the assembling of believers (or body of Christ, or ? I’m trying to avoid the word *church* since I have become to believe the word itself establishes, conveys, and perpetuates that very same flawed foundation) actually is.

    So, there is nothing they want actually CHANGED, and they are only slightly willing to monkey around the edges when someone goes so far that they can finally hear (from a far, far distance) some of the screams of the people impacted.

    Any whiff emitted by the hoi poloi suggesting that the organizational church needs anything but a minor adjustment on personnel here and there, is IMMEDIATELY labeled as ‘rebellion against authority.’

    It’s a no-go from the start with them.

  370. Lea wrote:

    @ Melody:
    Oh. I also think it’s hilarious when people run to twitter to complain about something in another part of the internet.

    Agreed. Todd Pruitt has shown his true heart by misrepresenting our blog and the discussion that took place. I feel sorry for his congregants because of the lack of empathy he displayed here and in his Tweets.

  371. Mara wrote:

    Deb wrote:
    Todd Pruitt has shown his true heart by misrepresenting our blog
    He might call that slander.

    I was as nice to him as I could be, so it is Todd who misrepresented me in his Tweets.

  372. Deb wrote:

    it is Todd who misrepresented me in his Tweets

    That’s what I meant but I realize I wasn’t clear.
    He came here saying we ‘slandered’ his friend when it was probably us misrepresenting him.
    Now he is misrepresenting us. Is it okay for me to call his misrepresentation ‘slander’? Does it cut both ways? Or is he the only one that can use that word and be all righteous like?

  373. Deb wrote:

    Agreed. Todd Pruitt has shown his true heart by misrepresenting our blog and the discussion that took place. I feel sorry for his congregants because of the lack of empathy he displayed here and in his Tweets.

    Did you see the comment from Elizabeth who seemed to have had interaction with Todd Pruit from his former church?

  374. @ pcapastor:
    You have never come here and accused people of slander right off the bat. You have been nothing but kind and reasoned here (unless I missed one).

    If that passes for “determined to speak gentle” from a “church authority” perhaps I am just really out of the loop! I don’t get it.

    I appreciate your interaction and thick skin. :o)

  375. GSD wrote:

    So the reason there are Arminians, is sin.

    Bwahahaha! And, surely, open theists exist because of evil.

  376. @ patriciamc:
    Perhaps he thought he would accuse some of slander and they would believe him because of his Christian title and be ashamed, I suppose?

  377. Elizabeth wrote:

    Todd,
    In your 1517 Blog posts, you wrote an entire series about Churches that abuse Pastors. You write quite personally about your experience with Church of the Saviour in Wayne. (Though you did not name the Church within the posts, anyone could easily google it)
    Using you own definition of slander, I would encourage you to go back and re-read those blog posts. I find it incredibly ironic that you took no responsibility for conflict within that Church, who only this past Spring, managed to heal enough to call a replacement pastor.
    I do not believe I have slandered you in any way. I have read several reports by the Elders, the Church consultant, and heard testimonies of those recovering from spiritual abuse as the result of your team’s leadership.
    This is one of the conman issues we have seen with overly authoritative church pastors. They can see it in others, but they just don’t seem to own their own sin. They don’t confess their sins to the “little people”. They don’t exhibit Godly remorse.

    Deb, this.

  378. Mara wrote:

    With all this talk about sanctified testosterone, you’d think the neo-Calvinist could produce a few men. All I see is whiny baby-brats. Grow up and grow a pair!

    LOL! Well, two of them (Alisdair Roberts and that other guy, I forget his name) have written pitiful columns asking women not to be strong so they, the guy, can be strong. Well guys, put on your big boys pants and grow the hecky doodle up!

  379. Deb wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    @ Melody:
    Oh. I also think it’s hilarious when people run to twitter to complain about something in another part of the internet.
    Agreed. Todd Pruitt has shown his true heart by misrepresenting our blog and the discussion that took place. I feel sorry for his congregants because of the lack of empathy he displayed here and in his Tweets.

    If I were into conspiracy theories, I’d say we were set up. Hmmm, must be the Masons.

  380. @ Bridget:
    Yes, I saw that comment on our blog. Given the recent Twitter/Facebook discussion, I thought you meant a comment there. Elizabeth’s comment here was quite eye opening.

  381. Mara wrote:

    Sheesh. Another example of being able to dish it out pounds and pounds of it, hand over fist, but not an ounce of ability to take it?

    “Exquisite Sensitivity towards any slight to themselves (real or imagined), coupled with Utter Indifference as to how their own slights affect others.”
    — description long ago of The Perpetually Offended

  382. patriciamc wrote:

    It seemed to me that he started off pretty defensive since some of us had just posted critiques of the Reformed “faith.” It might be hard for him to swallow, but he needs to know how his Reformed religion comes across to others and how it loses credibility.

    As in “Reformed: There is no Christ, only CALVIN”?

    “There is No Dana, Only ZUUL.”
    — Ghostbusters

  383. Lydia wrote:

    That is just it. They don’t want to do away with their concept of church authority. They just want Mahaney to go away because he’s an embarrassing example of church authoritarianism and where it can lead.

    He just blew their cover, that’s all.

    More superglue for those Angel of Light masks!

  384. Ron Oommen wrote:

    Explains Todd Pruitt’s indignation – how dare we unenlightened peasants challenge the special elite of priests that have ‘true’ understanding and knowledge.

    “I THANK THEE, LOOOOOOOOOOORD, THAT I AM NOTHING LIKE THOSE FILTHY ROMISH CATHOLICS OVER THERE WITH THEIR PRIESTS!!!!!”

  385. Lydia wrote:

    I don’t know where they would be without “church authority”.

    You’re going to have to get into the proper lingo.

    That would be BIBLICALchurch authority. See the following tweet from Todd:

    “The T4G / Mahaney debacle is providing fuel for those who hate biblical church government and discipline.

    Noting with a sigh of resignation that the above is evidently The BIGGEST CONCERN in this situation.

    Not the lying, or child sexual abuse, or manipulation, or hypocrisy, etc, or the free pass back onto the podium.

    Dever & Mahaney & Driscoll & Mohler, et al, had already provided ample “fuel for those who hate biblical church government and discipline” by showing the world their own complete disregard of the “biblical church government and discipline” they continually espouse to the hoi poloi.

    Something about putting yokes on the necks of people that they themselves cannot bear comes to mind…

  386. Lydia wrote:

    @ pcapastor:
    You have never come here and accused people of slander right off the bat. You have been nothing but kind and reasoned here (unless I missed one).
    If that passes for “determined to speak gentle” from a “church authority” perhaps I am just really out of the loop! I don’t get it.
    I appreciate your interaction and thick skin. :o)

    Thank you. I have a LOT of respect for Deb and Dee; they set a great tone here, that I don’t want to pollute.

  387. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    Unless you go to gateway, where you watch the sermon on TV and the pastor isn’t even there! (although maybe there was a lesser pastor in the building…)

    Pastor’s face ten meters tall on all the Telescreens?

    http://i0.wp.com/www.nakedpastor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/pastor-bob.jpg

    Ha. I love that one. But the day i went Robert Morris was apparently too busy to prerecord a sermon so there was a guest. Who talked about how he was a terrible husband for years until he stopped being terrible husband. Or something.

  388. I do wonder if we will be featured on a future episode of Mortification of Spin. Something about the Dangers of Watchblogs.

  389. I am of the opinion that Carl Trueman didn’t know what he was looking at when he sat staring at the documents as part of the AoR, and so he proceeded to focus his attention only on what was placed in front of him. I don’t think he had a clue. He had no idea Brent Detwiler’s document dump had created a huge crack in the dam, allowing the truth to start finally flowing through. Carl Trueman didn’t understand that the communications in Detwiler’s documents revealed a make believe world similar to the way in which Truman Burbank didn’t see that his life was part of a massive movie set. Carl assumed he was dealing with something that was authentic, and there was nothing he had experienced yet to cause him to be feel deeply distrustful of Mahaney’s ethics. That’s my guess, anyway.

  390. This sounds plausible. Dee and I, on the other hand, had actually spoken with some of the parents in SGM churches whose children had been hurt when Mahaney was declared ‘fit for ministry’ and we had been reading SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge for several years.

    Despite how unkindly Todd Pruitt described us on Twitter, I am still grateful that he, Carl, and Aimee took a stand.

  391. I agree with this. Which is why Todd P’s crying slander and then refusing to be direct about what and why was so shocking to me. No one attacked Carl’s character, though they questioned his behavior as it is pertinent to the credibility of what he was saying now. There’s a lot of mixed messages in that. I see fear of man and dread of responsibility in that crowd, and it’s sad, especially when they don’t seem to have been following these events or getting to know the families involved as the believers at TWW have. It is a step forward with a few back, but good to know people are waking up to reality. I’m still getting the vibe the desire among some is not true healing and growth towards maturity in love, but maintaining an authoritarian status quo.

    Paula Rice wrote:

    I am of the opinion that Carl Trueman didn’t know what he was looking at when he sat staring at the documents as part of the AoR, and so he proceeded to focus his attention only on what was placed in front of him. I don’t think he had a clue. He had no idea Brent Detwiler’s document dump had created a huge crack in the dam, allowing the truth to start finally flowing through. Carl Trueman didn’t understand that the communications in Detwiler’s documents revealed a make believe world similar to the way in which Truman Burbank didn’t see that his life was part of a massive movie set. Carl assumed he was dealing with something that was authentic, and there was nothing he had experienced yet to cause him to be feel deeply distrustful of Mahaney’s ethics. That’s my guess, anyway.

  392. Melody wrote:

    Seriously. It’s Pharisaichal loading of loads without lifting a finger to help those burdened.

    THIS. I have found this to be a pretty reliable guide to discerning what is and is not a “cult”–not Christian teaching.

  393. @ Deb:
    I am, too. I appreciated their remarks, which were enhanced, for me, by the bond of friendship they all share. There is power in agreement!

  394. @ Paula Rice:
    I thought it strange there was no attempt to even read the survivors stories that had been online for a while when he agreed to sit on that panel.

    As Todd made very clear for us– you can’t just believe what’s on a Blog. But it seems Truman could accept what a former Pastor wrote as evidence. IOW, the victims and survivors had no credibility in his eyes. Not a good start to a trusting relationship.

    At the time there was also plenty of online information on the history of Take and Give, People of Destiny and Mahaney’s role as an “apostle”. It has had cult written all over it. It seems Trueman did not even question his task or prepare for it.

    I believe Carl and Todd both are totally immersed in authoritarian Church structures. And since I have been reading Truman and their posts, this comes out loud and clear over and over.

    And I am fully aware that such a stance does not bother a lot of people. It is just a deal-breaker for me. And while Truman and Pruitt both write vaguely about some problems in Christendom, it seems we are to forget Truman’s role in exonerating mahaney as fit for ministry. I suppose I am just a bit worn out with all the hypocrisy. With friends like that I feel like I don’t need enemies.

  395. Melody wrote:

    I agree with this. Which is why Todd P’s crying slander and then refusing to be direct about what and why was so shocking to me. No one attacked Carl’s character, though they questioned his behavior as it is pertinent to the credibility of what he was saying now.

    Hi Melody 🙂 I was taken back by the Pruitt’s tone as well. I think he spoke without knowing his audience. He played the slander card pretty quickly too, as if he came prepared to do so. I felt a gap there. Had he taken up an offense? I know Carl is a friend of his and I admire people for sticking up for their friends. Maybe Carl can speak for himself next time. He must know people would like to see him address the record.

    It is a step forward with a few back, but good to know people are waking up to reality. I’m still getting the vibe the desire among some is not true healing and growth towards maturity in love, but maintaining an authoritarian status quo.

    I also think something of an “authoritarian status” had something to do with it. I think we’ve all grown weary of a “leadership culture” within the church. I believe it’s necessary for strong leadership to come to the forefront, especially in times of crisis, or in cases requiring remedial care. But for the majority of the time, the pattern we see in the Nedw Testament is of leadership that’s in the background, equipping people to come forward and exercise their gifts and works of service. Maybe Pruitt sees leadership as needing to be the guy out front. His behavior here seemed to suggest that’s the case.

  396. Lydia wrote:

    I suppose I am just a bit worn out with all the hypocrisy.

    I hear ya Lydia. I’d like to see things move forward. Thy Kingdom Come!

    I’ve been thinking about how the Holy Spirit moves within us to convict us. My feeling on the matter is that Carl Trueman doesn’t feel any conviction about his role in exonerating Mahaney, and that’s nothing we can force. Should he listen to the criticism? I’m guessing he has, and just hasn’t done anything, because he doesn’t feel any conviction of sin. Should he? I don’t see any evidence that he did anything deliberately wrong, so I think we need to give him that and believe the best about the the man on that count. But I think the podcast was really good. I thought it contained both wisdom showed an enlightened perspective. But, he’s just a man with a finite mind, albeit it a very fine one, and I can’t help but like the guy. I think he’s a good egg.

  397. @ Lydia:
    I just want to add that I realize there are far reaching implications here, involving CJ Mahaney. While I may be soft on Trueman, I am not soft on Mahaney. I view him as a trespasser who should be ushered out by the front Gate, with watchmen on the walls to prevent him from climbing over, even when he tries to cry his way back in with his fake conversion story.

  398. Paula Rice wrote:

    I was taken back by the Pruitt’s tone as well. I think he spoke without knowing his audience. He played the slander card pretty quickly too, as if he came prepared to do so.

    The slander accusation was the second sentence of his first comment, that is about as quick as you can get. I’m not sure what is meant by knowing his audience other than I got the impression of being told we didn’t know our place.

    I’m with you on the ‘grown weary of a “leadership culture” within the church’.

  399. @ Bill M:
    Admittedly, I am much more concerned about Mahaney than I am about Pruitt or Trueman, neither of whom has been involved in creating the injury that Mahaney has. For those guys to go public and say Mahaney is disqualified was needed and appreciated. I think their podcast deserved to be shouted from the rooftops. I encourage their stance and would like to see momentum added to it. I think denigrating these guys for speaking up like they did misses the mark. Maybe that’s what Pruitt was unhappy about, and if so, I can’t say I entirely blame him, do you? When you find a large group gathered around a dissecting table, you’re going to encounter a lot of careless overkill. That’s what I meant by him needing to know his audience.

  400. @ Paula Rice:
    I am extremely understanding when it comes to victims taking any little crumb that is thrown their way. But I have also seen them be reabused spiritually over and over by doing so.

    There seem to be different goals. One is to remove Mahaney from Ministry. The other, to recognize and warn about controlling abusive systems. I think they are the same goal, others don’t.

  401. Paula Rice wrote:

    I don’t see any evidence that he did anything deliberately wrong

    It seems like things were set up with very strict parameters and he went along with them. I would simply like to hear what he has to say about that whole thing now. Especially since he is being vocal about CJ.

    Who knows, maybe he signed some sort of confidentiality agreement and can’t legally talk about it. That seems like the kind of thing these folks would do.

  402. Lydia wrote:

    There seem to be different goals. One is to remove Mahaney from Ministry. The other, to recognize and warn about controlling abusive systems. I think they are the same goal, others don’t.

    Lydia, I think several of the pastors who are willing to say CJ should back off are only responding to the child abuse portion of things. The control issues and authoritarian problems absolutely need to be addressed. I agree with you that they are interconnected.

  403. Lea wrote:

    Who knows, maybe he signed some sort of confidentiality agreement and can’t legally talk about it. That seems like the kind of thing these folks would do.

    I concur that this is a strong possibility.

  404. @ Paula Rice:
    I know that the two of us meant this post to be more positive since we were appreciative of the podcast. However, I did not appreciate the *slander* word being flung around by people who had legitimate observations.

    Here is the issue. When we go public on this blog, we expect to get some tough pushback. My identity is not found in people agreeing with me. Instead, I make my stand and then I sit back and watch. If people don’t like it, then I am OK. I have learned something.

    Once you enter the public arena, your thoughts will be debated publicly. If that is too much for some people, then they need to take a step back and speak only to their buddies.

  405. @ Paula Rice:
    I guess I question the focus on “Pastors” speaking up? Why are we so quick to play into that clergy/ laity divide? As if a pastor has more credibility because of their title- than others? Many believe this and that belief is what created a Mahaney in the first place

    I am speaking as one who has been guilty of this in the past and have seen the damage it has caused in the long run.

    Christianity is not about finding godly leaders. We have One who IS God. And we can know Him independent of religious leaders who throw us crumbs.

  406. Lydia wrote:

    I guess I question the focus on “Pastors” speaking up? Why are we so quick to play into that clergy/ laity divide?

    From a practical perspective, most of these people simply won’t listen to anyone who isn’t a pastor. Which is ridiculous, of course, but that makes it even more important for people who are pastors to speak up. And for me I think it’s good to know that it isn’t just laity who sees problems, lest I be inclined to ignore all pastors from here on out as useless…

  407. @ Lea:
    Those are great points. I have had to go back and rethink what “pastor” means. I guess I view it more as a function-a verb- than an office or position.

  408. Lea wrote:

    Who knows, maybe he signed some sort of confidentiality agreement and can’t legally talk about it. That seems like the kind of thing these folks would do.

    This sort of thing is going on everywhere. Many organizations and companies are making censorship of speech (negative truths!) a condition of employment.

    A college here recently laid off a bunch of people and gave everyone they did not fire a letter stating they were not to discuss any layoffs or anything negative about the college or its leaders. Such was referred to as gossip. I am hoping some brave soul sends that letter to the media.

    When any institution attempts to censor speech, we have a bigger problem. They might use different strategies and tactics to censor speech but the result is the same.

  409. @ Lydia:
    I agree with your view. Regardless of position or title, when we forget self to care for and help someone else we are pastors.

  410. dee wrote:

    When we go public on this blog, we expect to get some tough pushback. My identity is not found in people agreeing with me.

    Exactly!

    dee wrote:

    Once you enter the public arena, your thoughts will be debated publicly. If that is too much for some people, then they need to take a step back and speak only to their buddies.

    These people want attention. “Look at me! Look at me! Look at my view of life, the universe and everything! I’ve got it all figured out!”

    They really want to live in this bubble where they are in the know, in authority, and unchallengeable. But their views aren’t infallible. And instead of growing up and realizing that they still have a lot to learn, they blame everyone else for pointing out the black holes in their philosophy
    It’s a childish, ignorant, and arrogant way to view the world and their own importance.

    Push back is good.
    I’ve learned a lot from pushbacks against my perceptions. It’s a growing experience.

  411. Lydia wrote:

    I am extremely understanding when it comes to victims taking any little crumb that is thrown their way. But I have also seen them be reabused spiritually over and over by doing so.
    There seem to be different goals. One is to remove Mahaney from Ministry. The other, to recognize and warn about controlling abusive systems. I think they are the same goal, others don’t.

    Lydia, I was a member of Covenant Life Church for 12 years. Todd Wilhelm was a member of an SGM church for 12 years. Happymom was a member of was a member of an SGM for 12 years. We are just three people but our experience amounts to 36 years in the system. Notice our response to the podcast. All of us have expressed our appreciation for what was said.

    Now, if you think we’re all just responding to “crumbs,” then that is your opinion, but I’d say its very uncharitable one.

  412. Lydia wrote:

    I am speaking as one who has been guilty of this in the past and have seen the damage it has caused in the long run.

    Mahaney’s church has the responsibility to hold him accountable. Of course, I’m not at all surprised that his first sermon to his parishioners upon his return to them after his appearance at T4G was to tell them they must support him and protect him. Of course he would say this, because they are the ones who he is accountable to. But just like he did at CLC, he told them that they were accountable to him and to the other pastors of the church. That’s spiritual abuse right there. You know it. I know it. And the members of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville need to wake up to that.

    And where is Carolyn Mahaney? Isn’t she the one who wrote about Watching Your Man? I guess she supports and approves of all her husband’s activities without question. And this coming from a woman who for years told women to remain at home because that is their domain. Children fall into the domain of a woman who is home raising them, yet Carolyn Mahaney can’t find the voice to speak out concerning the child abuse that happened under her watch, where the women under her ministry were traumatized and adversely affected by the woefully inadequate care and counsel they received in her church.

    So, perhaps we should try and put the shoe on where it fits.

  413. Paula Rice wrote:

    And where is Carolyn Mahaney? Isn’t she the one who wrote about Watching Your Man? I guess she supports and approves of all her husband’s activities without question.

    Two words: QUEEN BEE.

    “I Approve, Without Reserve.”
    — line from some poem (Bertholt Brecht?) I remember a local SF author quoting a lot

    Especially when YOU personally benefit from it.

  414. Mara wrote:

    These people want attention. “Look at me! Look at me! Look at my view of life, the universe and everything! I’ve got it all figured out!”

    Didn’t Calvin’s Institutes (and a lot of other now-forgotten Theological/Philosophical/Occult tomes) make the same claim?

  415. dee wrote:

    @ Paula Rice:
    I know that the two of us meant this post to be more positive since we were appreciative of the podcast. However, I did not appreciate the *slander* word being flung around by people who had legitimate observations.
    Here is the issue. When we go public on this blog, we expect to get some tough pushback. My identity is not found in people agreeing with me. Instead, I make my stand and then I sit back and watch. If people don’t like it, then I am OK. I have learned something.
    Once you enter the public arena, your thoughts will be debated publicly. If that is too much for some people, then they need to take a step back and speak only to their buddies.

    Dee, I’m just not going to get into assigning guilt by association to Trueman. I think the podcast served the purpose of moving the cause forward of seeing CJ Mahaney silenced and removed from pastoral ministry. That’s where I choose to focus. Todd Pruitt, Carl Trueman and Aimee Byrd have my support for their part in promoting and preaching the gospel. Their podcast not only announced their vote of non-support and a call for Mahaney to be disqualified, but it focused on the issue of Abusive Church Authority, Bully Pulpits, and the need for Pastors and Elders to be transparent. They mentioned the incalculable damage that has been done by hierarchical church leadership and that people are sick and tired of all the self-serving rhetoric at the top. Aimee Byrd emphasized the need for leaders to be true shepherds of the flock.

    I would add that we all share in the ministry of Christ to one another, and each of us has the responsibility to be watching our for our brother’s good. All of us are responsible to keep watch and to guard against those who come in among us, not motivated by love, but rather looking for whom they may devour.

    At the end of the day Pruitt is a brother in Christ, as is Trueman and Byrd (yes, I know she’s a sister, I’m just using the masculine, but not in the testosterone is superior sense). Pruitt said he felt they had been slandered here. He also mentioned in the podcast that it’s important to have a good reputation with outsiders, and that leaders need to take responsiblity. I know slander is a trigger word. But I don’t know if everything Todd Pruitt said here should be dismissed out of hand. His experience should matter, too.

  416. Lea wrote:

    Lydia, I think several of the pastors who are willing to say CJ should back off are only responding to the child abuse portion of things. The control issues and authoritarian problems absolutely need to be addressed

    Because that hits WAY too close to home.

  417. Lydia wrote:

    A college here recently laid off a bunch of people and gave everyone they did not fire a letter stating they were not to discuss any layoffs or anything negative about the college or its leaders. Such was referred to as gossip.

    Unspoken (with Plausible Deniability): If you Gossip(TM), You’re Next.

  418. Bill M wrote:

    I’m with you on the ‘grown weary of a “leadership culture” within the church’.

    Though the German word “Fuehrerprinzip” is more accurate than “leadership”.

  419. Paula Rice wrote:

    dee wrote:
    @ Paula Rice:
    I know that the two of us meant this post to be more positive since we were appreciative of the podcast. However, I did not appreciate the *slander* word being flung around by people who had legitimate observations.
    Here is the issue. When we go public on this blog, we expect to get some tough pushback. My identity is not found in people agreeing with me. Instead, I make my stand and then I sit back and watch. If people don’t like it, then I am OK. I have learned something.
    Once you enter the public arena, your thoughts will be debated publicly. If that is too much for some people, then they need to take a step back and speak only to their buddies.
    Dee, I’m just not going to get into assigning guilt by association to Trueman. I think the podcast served the purpose of moving the cause forward of seeing CJ Mahaney silenced and removed from pastoral ministry. That’s where I choose to focus. Todd Pruitt, Carl Trueman and Aimee Byrd have my support for their part in promoting and preaching the gospel. Their podcast not only announced their vote of non-support and a call for Mahaney to be disqualified, but it focused on the issue of Abusive Church Authority, Bully Pulpits, and the need for Pastors and Elders to be transparent. They mentioned the incalculable damage that has been done by hierarchical church leadership and that people are sick and tired of all the self-serving rhetoric at the top. Aimee Byrd emphasized the need for leaders to be true shepherds of the flock.
    I would add that we all share in the ministry of Christ to one another, and each of us has the responsibility to be watching our for our brother’s good. All of us are responsible to keep watch and to guard against those who come in among us, not motivated by love, but rather looking for whom they may devour.
    At the end of the day Pruitt is a brother in Christ, as is Trueman and Byrd (yes, I know she’s a sister, I’m just using the masculine, but not in the testosterone is superior sense). Pruitt said he felt they had been slandered here. He also mentioned in the podcast that it’s important to have a good reputation with outsiders, and that leaders need to take responsiblity. I know slander is a trigger word. But I don’t know if everything Todd Pruitt said here should be dismissed out of hand. His experience should matter, too.

    This is a good word.

  420. Paula Rice wrote:

    Dee, I’m just not going to get into assigning guilt by association to Trueman. I think the podcast served the purpose of moving the cause forward of seeing CJ Mahaney silenced and removed from pastoral ministry. That’s where I choose to focus.

    Everyone isn’t coming from that same perspective. I was in an SGM church for 17 years. I was in a different shepherding group for 16 years before that. My problem with Carl Trueman is that he had opportunity to contact victims and investigate CJ just like Dee and Deb did or anyone else. Instead, he followed the perameters set out for him without thinking of those who had been harmed by CJ and SGM. Carl, by his actions, and Todd with his accusations on this site, have shown support for fellow leaders while not wanting to wade into the messiness of hurting people. They are still in a hierarchial mindset . . . and this is the problem I have with many pastors and leaders in today’s churches.

  421. I agree with you. This is why I am disappointed in both Trueman and Pruitt, though I agree with others Trueman did not do what he did out of a sinful desire to cover up. I’m just sad he doesn’t see the need to address the impact of what he did on many fellow believers. I do think Todd’s defensiveness is part of the authoritarian problem and I don’t see the need to listen to his views on anything because of his apparent lack of understanding that authority is in truth not position. That said, in those circles, that podcast took guts. I’m just sad that speaking the truth should have to take guts in any Christian circle. Spiritual abuse is simply not understood or recognized yet by many because they like authority structures.
    @ Lydia:

  422. @ Bridget:
    Bridget, Todd Pruitt emphasized the importance for ministry leaders to sit and talk with victims and to be empathetic. Actually, he “plead” for ministry leaders to do this.

    Here, Todd Pruitt stated that Carl Trueman participated in the AoR prior to all the accusation of sexual abuse cover-ups that later came out.

    I do not think it’s unfair for you to say, “Carl, by his actions, and Todd with his accusations on this site, have shown support for fellow leaders while not wanting to wade into the messiness of hurting people.” How do you know they don’ want to wade into the messiness of hurting people?

    Btw, I read some of the questions you posed in your comments during the time Pruitt was actively commenting. Without going back to review them, I remember thinking you had asked some fair questions. I realize everyone isn’t going to approach a topic from the same perspective. There are perspectives, however, that lack legitimacy.

  423. Correction to my last post. This sentence should have read:

    I do not think it’s fair for you to say, “Carl, by his actions, and Todd with his accusations on this site, have shown support for fellow leaders while not wanting to wade into the messiness of hurting people.” How do you know they don’t want to wade into the messiness of hurting people?

  424. Just saw this comment-exactly. Many in these circles are still not truly thinking Biblically, IMO. It’s not about following protocol but doing what is right without partiality. That would be “Biblical”, as in Christlike. If He went after one sheep, I don’t understand why people calling themselves pastors would refuse to listen to fellow human beings, especially Christians. And the info was available; how come bloggers could contact people and hear them and leaders wouldn’t?

    @ Bridget:

  425. I thought this was a wonderfully positive post with honest questions in comments and I was taken aback and horrified at Todd’s abrasive tone here and subsequent actions elsewhere. That was very upsetting to me, proving there is a long way to go yet as regards spiritual abuse. I am concerned there are many in churches where it is truly unsafe to be honest if you aren’t at a leadership level, and that is sad.

    dee wrote:

    @ Paula Rice:
    I know that the two of us meant this post to be more positive since we were appreciative of the podcast. However, I did not appreciate the *slander* word being flung around by people who had legitimate observations.

    Here is the issue. When we go public on this blog, we expect to get some tough pushback. My identity is not found in people agreeing with me. Instead, I make my stand and then I sit back and watch. If people don’t like it, then I am OK. I have learned something.

    Once you enter the public arena, your thoughts will be debated publicly. If that is too much for some people, then they need to take a step back and speak only to their buddies.

  426. Melody wrote:

    That said, in those circles, that podcast took guts. I’m just sad that speaking the truth should have to take guts in any Christian circle. Spiritual abuse is simply not understood or recognized yet by many because they like authority structures.

    It shouldn’t have to take guts. They should not have to fear other pastors, none of us should. But they do and congregations do. Then you have CJ going back to his church preaching on supporting your pastor with the typical the Hebrews slam passage. CJ is quite unbelievable.

  427. Paula Rice wrote:

    How do you know they don’ want to wade into the messiness of hurting people?

    Carl didn’t bother to interact with any people when he signed off on Brent’s documents as nothing to disqualify CJ about. Todd responded on this site by immediately taking the “slander” road. Then he made comments elsewhere about his experience.

  428. Paula Rice wrote:

    Btw, I read some of the questions you posed in your comments during the time Pruitt was actively commenting. Without going back to review them, I remember thinking you had asked some fair questions.

    I don’t believe any of them were answered, u less I missed something.

  429. Paula Rice wrote:

    Mahaney’s church has the responsibility to hold him accountable

    In the particular governing polity that SGM used, only pastors can hold each other accountable. If you read sgm wikileaks you would see how well that worked. :o(

    In fact I would go as far to say that Mahaney would be a footnote in history, with no where to go and little credibility, had it not been for Dever and Mohler. And, the panel of religious leaders that declared him fit for Ministry.

    My view is that CLC and some other more well-known sgm churches operated as shepherding cults. The people in the pews needed counseling and debriefing from being in a Shepherding cult where you do not question the leaders.

  430. Bridget wrote:

    They are still in a hierarchial mindset . . . and this is the problem I have with many pastors and leaders in today’s churches.

    Exactly.

    We have absolutely no desire to indulge their mindset, yes? Did that too long, made things worse.

    We can respect people while rejecting ideas about their supposed authority over us. Unfortunately, they often perceive it as rejection of their person, thus ‘slander’.

    Debate is good for us, and would be for these guys especially. I wish Todd would return here for a while–I think he’d feel much better about it than he does now.

  431. @ Paula Rice:
    One of the things that really saddened and shocked me with the survivors blog early on was how they were still looking for their leaders to repent and be their leaders. I thought it was total cognitive dissonance then and it still is. At the same time it was a much-needed healing place where people could talk and talk and talk. There is so much value in that alone after being censured for so long and a Shepherding cult polity.

    I totally understand the long road of healing from being spiritually abused. I am coming more from a mama bear position than anything else. When you have to pray for your leaders to repent and be “Shepherds for Jesus Christ”, something is seriously wrong.

    When you feel it is mean to question a religious leader who did not give the victim’s the time of day, something is seriously wrong.

    When you are dealing with religious leaders who need evidence only from other pastors of wrongdoing or spiritual abuse, something is seriously wrong.

    I hear this all the time from some of the spiritually abusive: well if the victims don’t have a problem with it then it’s just your problem.

    I don’t buy into that meme. We all come at this from different angles and I am going to give those who have been in a system for a long time and have been spiritually abused a lot of leeway. If they want to spend the rest of their lives looking for “Godly leaders” that is their right.

    At the same time, asking uncomfortable questions of those who are throwing vague crumbs your way, is not always a bad thing either.

  432. @ Paula Rice:
    Not sure I understand why that matters? Whether we are discussing CLC or SGL? Maybe I’m not understanding where you are coming from.

  433. Lydia wrote:

    At the same time, asking uncomfortable questions of those who are throwing vague crumbs your way, is not always a bad thing either.

    Lydia, I found this uncharitable before, I find it uncharitable now. Why don’t you try acting like a safe person to talk with, since you claim to be such a “Mama Bear.” Personally, I’m not feeling it.

  434. @ Paula Rice:
    I’ll just interject that I think Lydia is right, and it is also not at all unChristlike to ask tough and direct questions of any fellow human being, certainly including those who claim to lead God’s people. If they cannot cope with directness and do not respond with gentleness, they are not fit to be pastoring. It’s a problem that this blog has done well to address for some time, and that is why it is always sad to see leaders whose behavior suggests they have forgotten they are servants, not superior to any other human being. Niceness has replaced kindness in the evangelical world, and to the detriment of maturity. It is very important that Christians be free to discuss with each other honestly as well as respectfully. While different people hold ot different views of etiquette, God’s Word always suggests we are to speak truth in love. Sometimes that will absolutely necessitate uncomfortable questions.

  435. Melody wrote:

    Niceness has replaced kindness

    I just want to pull this out because it took me a while to think through how they are not the same thing. Manners are good, but genuine kindness is better. Manners (not that many of these people even have manners at all!) are sort of rules of how to treat people that are helpful when you are not feeling genuine kindness. But true kindness is always better.

  436. @ Lea:

    And the bland ‘niceness’ of not ever saying anything in disagreement even when it is strongly called for is not nice at all.

  437. Paula Rice wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    At the same time, asking uncomfortable questions of those who are throwing vague crumbs your way, is not always a bad thing either.

    Lydia, I found this uncharitable before, I find it uncharitable now. Why don’t you try acting like a safe person to talk with, since you claim to be such a “Mama Bear.” Personally, I’m not feeling it.

    I am terribly sad you feel this way and see me as more of an enemy than an advocate. I am not sure what you mean by “safe” except that safety comes from agreement?

    But you are right in one way: I am probably not “safe” for those whose concerns are more focused on “biblical church authority” and not on the actual victims. But since I have no power, no authority, no followers and no title, they usually just SWAT me away. :o)

    I have no bad feelings here, Paula. I hope you won’t either.

  438. @ Paula Rice:

    And how do you define ‘a safe person to talk to’?

    And I’m not sure we are on the same page concerning the term ‘Mama Bear’ either.

    I might like respond to your comment. But I’d prefer to make sense of it first.

  439. @ Lea:

    Interesting article on the subject.

    I can’t link on this device but Google “meditation magazine” (yeah, I know) “nice vs kind”. Article is from Nov 2014.

    The author makes a claim that “nice” is about conformity. “Kind” wants to relieve suffering.

  440. Lydia wrote:

    The author makes a claim that “nice” is about conformity. “Kind” wants to relieve suffering.

    Interesting. Thanks.

  441. Bridget wrote:

    I don’t believe any of them were answered, u less I missed something.

    Priutt responded to you four times, more than anyone else.

  442. @ Paula Rice:

    I have not gone back through the 100s of comments. If I remember, he mainly responded to my questions on his denoms court system and whether or not women were included. His answers on that were a bit around the bush.

  443. Bridget wrote:

    @ Paula Rice:
    I have not gone back through the 100s of comments. If I remember, he mainly responded to my questions on his denoms court system and whether or not women were included. His answers on that were a bit around the bush.

    Bridget, you originally said (Wed Apr 27, 2016 at 02:57 PM) “I don’t believe any of them were answered, u less I missed something.”

    I pointed out that he did respond to you 4 times, more than anyone else.
    Now you seem to be saying you just didn’t care for his replies, as if they didn’t count.

    You said you didn’t believe any of the questions you asked him were answered, and the point here isn’t about your personal preference, it’s about the fact you first stated he didn’t answer you when in fact he did. (If you use “find” you can search using his name or your name, etc. if you want to review this for yourself)

    For your recollection, here are his responses to you:

    Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 03:51 PM said:

    The problem is that we need evidence not just charges and seemingly common sense extrapolations. So much of what I am reading here is the conclusions people have reached not because of actual evidence but because it seems to make sense based upon what they believe. I get that. We go through life reaching conclusions that seem reasonable based upon what we see and hear. However, when a man’s character is at stake we have to have actual evidence. I am not a journalist or a detective or an attorney. I blog about one hour a week. I have neither the time nor the calling to prosecute the case against CJ Mahaney. That said, I stand by my assertion that he should not be speaking in conferences. His church has the responsibility to do something, if anything about that.

    Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 04:35 PM said:

    The church courts in the PCA are 1) the local church’s session (lay and pastoral elders), 2) the presbytery, 3) General Assembly, and if need be, 4) the Standing Judicial Committee.

    Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 04:40 PM said:

    I can say from firsthand experience that just because someone makes a claim on a blog does not mean that it is true. We have to be very careful with blindly accepting claims on blogs.

    Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 05:16 PM said:

    Bridget – Yes these courts are filled by ordained men. The Session is made up of the elders of the local congregation – then the Presbytery are the Teaching Elders in a given region – then the General Assembly is all the elected representatives of each PCA church – the Standing Judicial Committee functions like the Supreme Court as the final court of appeal. Any church member can press their “case” through these courts if need be.

  444. @ Paula Rice:
    I guess I am even more confused with this article as if we are in a one on one friend relationship instead of conversing on a Blog that prohibits tone, body language or facial expression to come through.

    I have not accused you of slander or of being unsafe. I don’t think either of those apply to this venue.

    I apologize for my offenses which are just my opinions and really not worth much in the grand scheme of things. I only wish you well after being in an SGM church. I mean that.

  445. @ Lydia:
    Mara asked what I meant by “unsafe” and I provided her with the information as she requested.

    The End

  446. Paula Rice wrote:

    Now you seem to be saying you just didn’t care for his replies, as if they didn’t count.

    Thanks for finding those comments. I did remember the conversation about the denom courts, as I stated. It does get a bit difficult to follow the different conversations that can be going on in one thread.

    I didn’t care for some of his replies. Is there a rule that says I need to? I didn’t say they didn’t count. I was not rude or dismissive to him. I have not said anything about Todd’s character or Carl’s. I have stated why I have a problem with how Carl handled his panel response and the problem it created for the spiritually abused in SGM.

    I was not impressed with Todd’s use of slander with his first few sentences of commenting on this thread, or his responses to me about the courts in his denomination allowing men and women (but maybe he just didn’t understand the question).

    It is possible that the questions and statements I was making about Carl’s involvement on the panel were not addressed to Todd, but were in response to others’ comments. The issue of Carl’s involvement with the panel and how it affected the spiritually abused was my main concern, and not just Carl’s involvement, but the other men on the panel as well.

    Are you the same Paula Rice who has commented on TWW in the past?

  447. Paula Rice wrote:

    The Curtain Call

    I realize you are done with this convo. And I get that. Sorry to see you go. But when you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough.

    Still, I’m left wondering how Lydia’s comments can be considered “unsafe” yet Todd coming in here and using the word ‘slander’ right off, and accusing people could be counted as “safe”.

    Mostly, my point is just this.
    There is a strong double standard.
    And abuse victims and those defending them (mama bears, anyone?) are held to a much higher standard by the tone police, nice police, manners police, keep sweet police, and now the safe police. Victims and whistle blowers are held to a different standard than abusive leaders and other leaders who smooth over or outright protect abusers.

    You may not see this. But it is so. And there are plenty here who are done with the unfair double standard.

  448. Paula Rice wrote:

    Maybe that’s what Pruitt was unhappy about, and if so, I can’t say I entirely blame him, do you? When you find a large group gathered around a dissecting table, you’re going to encounter a lot of careless overkill. That’s what I meant by him needing to know his audience.

    Thanks for your reply, to use a vernacular, some here didn’t cut Pruitt any slack. I read this thread and didn’t comment until well after Pruitt had come and gone but I was certainly put off by the slander remark, that just shut me off. I guess his was also a careless remark.

    Do I blame him for being upset? No. Do I fault his expression of it here, yes. All in all this has been a confusing and informative discussion, revealing to me not so much facts but a multitude of attitudes and expectations.

  449. Julie Anne Smith wrote:

    One thing that has puzzled me about those in your camp is the failure to see that even without the sex abuse cases, CJ is unfit for ministry and shouldn’t be speaking simply because he destroyed his own dynasty with 40 churches and 100 pastors leaving. Obviously something is gravely amiss. What am I missing? Why aren’t people discussing even that aspect? Do you have any idea?

    This bears repeating. (So,:) I did).

  450. Sallie Borrink wrote:

    Max wrote:

    It should be obvious by now, that there is a great dearth of discernment within New Calvinism. The reformed leaders cannot “see” because they have been blinded by popularity and celebrity, rising from places of obscurity to the applause of a great following. Their followers cannot “see” because they have elevated an old dead man (Calvin) and a handful of Calvinist elite above Christ. Indeed, the living Jesus appears to have very little place in their belief and practice. It’s disturbing to see so many folks in their 20s-40s falling for this. Yes, they have returned to church, but as their idols continue to fall, many are leaving disillusioned and may never return.

    Anyone with any measure of detachment can see that these people have become more committed to their grid than Christ.

    I loved the opening segment of the podcast because it shows how ridiculous a slavish devotion to a grid can become. I could not believe when I read the original piece that CBMW was now promoting micro-managing dishwashing as healthy complementarianism. They are doubling down in all the wrong ways and look ridiculous. They are committed to their theological grid at all costs. They will not back up and consider things with a discerning eye. It’s full steam ahead because they will not allow their “opponents” one measure of credibility. They would rather enslave people to unbiblical burdens than admit they were wrong. They don’t think of it that way, but that’s what it boils down to just the same.

    It’s the same thing with T4G and TGC folks. They are committed to their grid at all costs – even when everyone around them can see that they have moved beyond sincerely held beliefs to doubling down in scandalous ways (such as CJ speaking last week).

    When groups start doubling down in the worst ways and lose any sense of objectivity, it’s only a matter of time before it all collapses. We’ve seen it before and it’s inevitable again.

    Agreed.

  451. Harley wrote:

    Melody – you said my thoughts better than I could. Thank you so much. As it happens, one of my closest friend’s is named Melody. These ministers have got to quit the “Good Old Boys” club and start manning up. Quit standing up for each other, just so they will do the same for you. I thought that’s what we did way back in school. I think I am way past that.

    Update – I had my foot surgery on Wednesday morning of this week. I have had a pretty tough time with the pain. I mistakenly asked for a lower grade of pain pills, which really haven’t helped at all. My husband went and got me a higher one this morning, and I am finally getting relief. I think I get a cast put on it in 2 weeks so to stabilize the screw that was put in and to let it heal. Thanks for the prayers.

    Thank you for keeping us up on how you are doing. You are in my prayers. I hope all goes smoothly from here on. Fierce pain is one of theose things that can really do a number on you. Been there, done that, wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I am glad that your meds are now working better.

  452. Mara wrote:

    Paula Rice wrote:

    The Curtain Call

    I realize you are done with this convo. And I get that. Sorry to see you go. But when you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough.

    Still, I’m left wondering how Lydia’s comments can be considered “unsafe” yet Todd coming in here and using the word ‘slander’ right off, and accusing people could be counted as “safe”.

    Mostly, my point is just this.
    There is a strong double standard.
    And abuse victims and those defending them (mama bears, anyone?) are held to a much higher standard by the tone police, nice police, manners police, keep sweet police, and now the safe police. Victims and whistle blowers are held to a different standard than abusive leaders and other leaders who smooth over or outright protect abusers.

    You may not see this. But it is so. And there are plenty here who are done with the unfair double standard.

    I agree. I am SO sick of guys showing up to talk, & then squealing, “You can’t criticize me, I’m a PASTOR!!!”, & running to hide so they don’t get their toes stepped on.

  453. Bill M wrote:

    All in all this has been a confusing and informative discussion, revealing to me not so much facts but a multitude of attitudes and expectations.

    I didn’t read the exchanges until well after he was gone as well. This certainly was informative. I’d agree, a multitude attitudes were revealed. I’d say a whole flock.

    And you know what they say about birds of a feather.

    Proceed with caution. Danger ahead. Reduce your speed. Pay attention to the warning signs.

  454. Melody wrote:

    The reason I’m harping on this is that I’ve been dealing with Todd P’s type of attitude from many evangelicals since beginning to talk about SGM victims. Imagine how much longer they have been dealing with being thought unbelievers or bitter or slanderers by Christians, even when they are believers themselves. There is too much bullying in evangelicalism and if you stand up to it they paint you as the divisive one or bully. I’m weary of it and I won’t tolerate it anymore.

    There’s a reason I exited the evangelical world, & you’ve just put your finger on it. This, of course, leaves a largish proportion of evangelicals shaking their heads & pronouncing me as a lost cause……..

  455. Lydia wrote:

    I guess I question the focus on “Pastors” speaking up? Why are we so quick to play into that clergy/ laity divide?

    I don’t & never have.
    Not surprisingly, I have sent many a Guy In A Suit & Dogcollar screaming into the night.

  456. Lydia wrote:

    But you are right in one way: I am probably not “safe” for those whose concerns are more focused on “biblical church authority” and not on the actual victims.

    Aslan wasn’t “safe”…

  457. Mara wrote:

    Still, I’m left wondering how Lydia’s comments can be considered “unsafe” yet Todd coming in here and using the word ‘slander’ right off, and accusing people could be counted as “safe”.

    Harley Quinn defending her Joker Who Can Do No Wrong?

  458. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    But you are right in one way: I am probably not “safe” for those whose concerns are more focused on “biblical church authority” and not on the actual victims.

    Aslan wasn’t “safe”…

    Nice.

  459. Lydia wrote:

    But you are right in one way: I am probably not “safe” for those whose concerns are more focused on “biblical church authority” and not on the actual victims. But since I have no power, no authority, no followers and no title, they usually just SWAT me away. :o)

    Lydia,

    I just wanted to thank you for your insights about the problems in the NeoCalvinist churches and others. I’ve thought long and hard over what you’ve seen over the years, including where these guys are planting churches. You are so spot on!