Covenant Life Church Sure Knows How to Pick’em – Guest Post by Todd Wilhelm

What did CLC pastor PJ Smyth know and when did he know it?

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/02/03/covenant-life-church-sure-knows-pickem/

John Smyth – PJ Smyth's Father

The world is getting smaller by the day! Late last week our friends in the UK sent us breaking news about John Smyth. More on him in a moment. If you know anything about Covenant Life Church (CLC) in Gaithersburg, Maryland (the church CJ Mahaney co-founded and pastored for 27 years), you may recognize the last name 'Smyth'. The pastor who succeeded Joshua Harris at CLC is PJ Smyth, son of John Smyth. Yes, it's a small world after all…

So who is John Smyth? According to The Sun (a UK news source):

John Smyth QC  was head of the Irwine [sic] Trust, a Christian charity closely linked to a church that ran summer camps in the late seventies.

He is accused of administering tens of thousands of lashes with a garden cane, supposedly to purge them of minor sins such as masturbation and pride.

The beatings, which took place in a shed in the garden of Mr Smyth’s Winchester home, were so intense that the victims were left with lasting scars.

Details of the alleged abuse did not come to light until 1982, when one boy attempted suicide after being ordered to submit himself to another beating.

The Iwerne Trust commissioned a report which concluded: “The scale and severity of the practice was horrific.”

But Smyth was was not reported to cops at the time.

He was instead allowed to move to South Africa after being asked never to work with children again.

The Sun article went on to reveal that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, first became acquainted with John Smyth in the late 1970s when he (Welby) worked at the camps run by Iwerne Trust. It appears that the Archbishop of Canterbury was first made aware of the allegations against John Smyth back in 2013. Smyth is now 75 years old.

We are grateful to the various UK news outlets who are spotlighting this awful story. Our friend Todd Wilhelm has put together an informative post about these developments as well as P.J. Smyth's response to the allegations against his father, and Todd has given us permission to share it with our readers.

We will be following this story closely and will bring you any updates.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to embed several of the videos in Todd's post, so you will have to go over to his blog to view them.


Covenant Life Church Sure Knows How to Pick'em (link)

Todd Wilhelm

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/02/03/covenant-life-church-sure-knows-pickem/PJ Smith receives weekly phone call from his father. (To view above video, click here)

Breaking: News 4 has aired their first two longer investigative stories on the abuse carried out by John Smyth. You can view the first story here. You can view the second story here.

Breaking: It is currently 2130 local time in Dubai, February 3, 2017. PJ Smyth has just released a video which can be viewed immediately below. PJ Smyth’s statement is not good news for Covenant Life Church.  It is my opinion that he comes across as a deceptive man with something to hide. CLC has a storied history of former senior pastors who have been deceptive with church members, unfortunately, it looks like they can add another one to the list.

For starters, PJ refers to his father’s abuse as “excessive discipline.” But the bigger deception is in what PJ did not say. You will notice that he talked only of his father’s alleged abuse while living in the UK decades ago.

Long, long ago and far, far away.

It all occurred when PJ was a young boy.  He only heard vague rumors of his father’s behavior.  End of story.  Nothing to see here, now move along.

Nice try PJ.

What about those years in between the time you and dear old dad lived in the UK and SA?  I believe your dad packed up and took the family to Zimbabwe in 1984, where he then worked for 17 years. By my calculations that would mean your dad left Zimbabwe for SA in 2001. You would have been 30 years-old!  While in Zimbabwe your dad was charged with the culpable homicide of 16-year-old Guide Nyachuru at one of the Zambesi Ministries’ summer camps held in Marondera in December 1992. (Link)  He managed to dodge those charges and fled to SA. (Link)  Any recollections of those years PJ?  You’re a clever man, surely you don’t expect us to believe that when you were 21 years old you had no knowledge of the charges of homicide against your father, do you?

PJ has some explaining to do.  My bet is the corrupt leaders at CLC who rallied around CJ Mahaney and Joshua Harris to cover up the sexual abuse of children happening in their church will continue their corrupt ways and attempt to provide cover for PJ Smyth.  It is time for the good members of CLC to rise up and demand the truth from their leaders, and then demand the resignation of corrupt leaders.

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/02/03/covenant-life-church-sure-knows-pickem/PJ Smyth’s deceptive video makes no mention of his father’s abuse in Zimbabwe. (To view this video, click here)

PJ Smyth’s written statement. (Link)

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/02/03/covenant-life-church-sure-knows-pickem/

My submitted response which is not likely to make it out of moderation.

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/02/03/covenant-life-church-sure-knows-pickem/

Breaking: February 4, 2017. PJ Smyth has published a second statement on the Covenant Life Church website. (Link)  In the statement below I again must point out what was not said. PJ states that “I do clearly remember the tragic drowning of a fellow camper.” No mention is made that his dad was arrested and charged with the culpable homicide of 16-year-old Guide Nyachuru, PJ’s “fellow camper.”  Perhaps PJ does not have as clear a recollection of that minor detail. Allow me to refresh PJ’s memory:

“While in Zimbabwe Smyth ran a Christian mission, Zambesi Ministries, for 17 years. He was charged with the culpable homicide of 16-year-old Guide Nyachuru at one of the Zambesi Ministries’ summer camps held in Marondera in December 1992. Nyachuru’s naked body was found in the Ruzawi School pool — questions still hang over the circumstances surrounding his drowning. Smyth has always maintained it was a tragic accident.

Smyth was also charged with five counts of crimen injuria relating to incidents during a camp in April 1993 involving five boys from posh Zimbabwean schools.

The culpable homicide prosecution was discontinued when the then Zimbabwean Chief Justice, Anthony Gubbay, ruled the prosecutor in the case had a conflict of interest. Smyth moved to South Africa soon afterwards in 2001.” (Link)

“In 1997 Smyth was arrested over claims that he had killed a teenage boy, 16-year-old Guide Nyachuru.” (Link)

 

“Rocky Leanders, who was 15 when he attended a camp in Africa, said Smyth encouraged the boys to swim naked with him.

Leanders alleged that Smyth beat boys with table tennis bats, sometimes hitting them so hard that he broke the bats.

His mother saw the bruises, and contacted a lawyer, who identified more alleged victims.

It emerged that 16-year-old Guide Nyachuru had been found dead in a swimming pool while on a Zambesi holiday in 1992.

His sister Edith, who now lives in Britain, said that the boy was naked when she went to identify his body.” (Link)

 

“Edith Nyachuru, whose brother died at one of Mr Smyth’s camps, say he would still be alive had the barrister faced justice in the UK.” (Link)

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/02/03/covenant-life-church-sure-knows-pickem/

Source: Channel 4 News – John Smyth confronted with charges by reporter Cathy Newman (Link)

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/02/03/covenant-life-church-sure-knows-pickem/(To view above video, click here)

Source: Channel 4 News – “Archbishop admits Church ‘failed terribly’ over abuse revelations” (Link)

Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD sure knows how to pick a winner. CLC, formerly the flagship church of the Sovereign Grace denomination, has been embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal that some say was the largest to hit the Evangelical Church in America. Former senior pastors C.J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris, along with assistant pastor (and brother-in-law of C.J. Mahaney) Grant Layman resigned from the church. Youth leader, Nate Morales was convicted of sexually abusing boys and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Hundreds of disenchanted church members quit.

Covenant Life Church, seeking a fresh beginning, left the Sovereign Grace denomination and began a world-wide search for a new pastor.  The man CLC leaders (the same leaders complicit in the coverup of abuse) selected to lead them out of the morass of sexual abuse and coverup and restore them to a position of respectability was PJ Smyth. While a relative unknown in the USA, PJ was a superstar in South Africa, much like CJ used to be in the USA.  Convinced they had found their next Christian celebrity, CLC leaders had an easy time of convincing the Kool-Aid swilling members who had remained loyal to the church that PJ was their man. The members reportedly voted overwhelmingly (97% in favor) of hiring PJ. One year later, in January of 2017, PJ and his family arrived in the USA.

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/02/03/covenant-life-church-sure-knows-pickem/

All appeared well in CLC-land. PJ was in charge and ready to make everyone forget CJ and lead CLC to new heights of fame and fortune. Who could have known that within one month of PJ’s arrival CLC leaders would once again be indirectly rocked by more charges of abuse?

Yesterday news broke in the UK and South Africa that John Smyth, father of PJ Smyth, is a monster. He is charged with the most horrific abuse of young men, dating back to the 1970’s!

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/02/03/covenant-life-church-sure-knows-pickem/

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/02/03/covenant-life-church-sure-knows-pickem/

John Smyth is questioned by reporter Cathy Newman regarding allegations of horrific abuse of boys. Smyth is the father of PJ Smyth, senior pastor of Covenant Life Church. (Link to video)

https://www.channel4.com/news/archbishop-admits-church-failed-terribly-over-abuse-revelations

Source: The Telegraph (Link)

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/02/03/covenant-life-church-sure-knows-pickem/

While one cannot place the blame for the sins of the father on the son, it would be reasonable to believe that PJ Smyth had to have knowledge of his father’s sinister life.  The Archbishop of Canterbury became aware of allegations in 2013. When did PJ Smyth become aware that his father was beating young men?  Did PJ report any of these brutal beatings to police?  Was PJ Smyth ever beaten by his father? Assuming PJ Smyth was aware of what his father was engaged in, did he advise CLC leaders of the potential fall-out from his father’s evil deeds?

It would appear CLC leaders did not exercise due diligence prior to hiring PJ Smith. CLC leaders have repeatedly demonstrated that they are sorely lacking any discernment. In my opinion, these leaders need to resign. One also wonders if church members will divest themselves of the notion that only a celebrity can lead their church? The whole culture at CLC seems, to this outsider, to be sick. Perhaps the healthiest thing CLC could do would be to close shop.

It would also be interesting to know whether PJ Smyth was truthful with US Immigration officials in his visa interview.

Below is a video in which Mark Mitchell recounts the thorough vetting procedure they put PJ Smyth through prior to offering him the job of senior pastor. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds to me as if the CLC pastors had determined the job was PJ’s prior to the Search Committee even beginning their work!

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/02/03/covenant-life-church-sure-knows-pickem/

(To view above video, click here)

A little refresher course on problems CLC leaders would like you to believe are in their past:


Comments

Covenant Life Church Sure Knows How to Pick’em – Guest Post by Todd Wilhelm — 276 Comments

  1. Today (Monday) a bishop of the Church of England (Anglican Church to us Americans) named Andrew Watson said he was beaten one time by John Smyth, and one of Watson’s friends apparently attempted suicide on the eve of a beating.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/06/c-of-e-bishop-guildford-andrew-watson-excruciating-beating-john-smyth

    There were other stories published in the Sunday papers in the UK. They are not for the faint of heart.

  2. Deb wrote:

    “Dear Archbishop of Canterbury: Can you look yourself in the mirror and honestly say you did everything you could to expose John Smyth?”

    Exactly.
    The fact that a network of churches and ministries keeps perpetrators active and “innocent” is complicity. The good ole’ leadership club.

  3. Deb wrote:

    Here’s an article published today in The Guardian. It’s entitled:

    Correction: Deb is quoting the above article.

  4. Seems that his dad is a self loathing man who is gay, but over comes these fleshly desires by beating others. He wouldn’t be the first anti get crusader who was in fact attracted to the same sex.

  5. TWW has had online discourse about how the church in general leans towards families (dad, mom, children) and ignores single, thinking, responsible, independent adults.

    Regarding the cases of flagrant inappropriate behavior with children or minors in the church, this preference causes concern. Is there is a need to have vulnerable little ones in supply for the misguided leaders?

  6. Frankly I’d be surprised if PJ himself wasn’t beaten. I can’t imagine a man like John Smyth being a loving and gentle father, though I guess people live double lives all the time.

  7. While PJ was just officially installed as the senior pastor, I am pretty sure he has been at CLC for almost a year.

  8. Thank you for spreading the word on this story Deebs. I just published another post titled “PJ Smyth’s Open Letters – A Work in Progress.” He has now published 3 letters on the subject and has yet to be truthful. I suggest it would be wise for him to come clean. He knows way more than he is letting on. CLC needs to close up shop. Their leaders are the same ones who claim Joshua Harris is a hero. This is the same guy who told his congregation they had no knowledge of the abuse. He later admitted they did. Quite a hero. When the truth comes out, CLC leaders and sheeple will most likely proclaim PJ is also a hero. Attacks from Satan, etc.

    Here is a quote we received from a commenter on the blog. Most likely the author is a CLC member.

    “Innocent men have lost their reputations, their ministries, their families, their health and their jobs. And, you are culpable.”

    While I claim no culpability, I do hope a few more “innocent men” lose their jobs.

    https://thouarttheman.org/2017/02/07/pj-smyths-open-letters-work-progress/

  9. @ Doubtful:
    Your average morality crusader just gets caught hiring a young male “escort” to “lift his luggage.” This person is a monster by comparison (of course he’s also a monster without the comparison).

  10. The sadism is horrific.

    I understand the works of the Pearls are still very popular among fundamentalist-evangelicals in SPITE of the deaths that have occurred based on its ‘teachings’.

    I don’t think people involved in this kind of sadism are fully sane. They certainly are very, very sick people.

    As for any and all religious superiors who are aware of these abusers and don’t turn them in, no apologies could ever suffice when deaths have resulted from ‘looking the other way’ and doing nothing. Who is culpable? Everyone who knew and let it continue. That must be a lot of people. God have mercy.

  11. I don’t get this hitting children. I really don’t. I mean in my old job I was hit, bitten, had full colostomy bags smashed across my face, etc. Never did I want to raise my hand or even felt the need to retaliate or whatever these folks call it. The Pearls are just a sick pair of twisted humans allegedly in my opinion. I mean consenting adults who move in that world, well even then it’s still abuse and control in my opinion, but children who are already susceptible to being manipulated it’s far worse. Not to mention it is also illegal. I dont think the sins of the father should be laid upon the son and I do not think that is the case. The concern is that reporting may not have happened and there are other questions. If the son was not a new pastor to a church that has appeared to have issues in the past one would think more due diligence would have been taken.

  12. I have several friends who came out of that church, and they were truly emotionally devastated by the treatment they received there. Some of them are still really broken people. I don’t think there’s anything of God there.

    What I see here is that they looked for someone “famous”, not someone worthy. They wanted to promote themselves, not fix their problems. By doing so, they created even more problems than they already had. And I’m guessing they will repeat the process with the same goal, again.

    While I don’t think children should be to blame for parents that display evil, I don’t see PJ Smyth renouncing his father’s acts. Calling what his father did “excessive discipline” is a sign that he probably needs a good deal of mental help. I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with that on a human level, because the influence of horrible people can warp us, but it does mean that PJ Smyth has no business being a pastor, especially of such a damaged church as CLC, until he is emotionally well himself.

  13. @ ishy:
    I agree with everything you said, especially that PJ most likely is damaged. It saddens me so much to read these things, especially since my roommate and one of my good friends still attends Covenant Life. Through the whole pastor search process, it was evident that PJ was their desired choice. But I wondered the whole time why PJ would even move from South Africa to leave his ministry and take over the leadership of CLC. There has to be something more to this whole story. It just makes me sad and concerned. Does there need to be more damage and scandal at that church?

    Also, I was in a meeting at my current church – one that I love and trust the leaders, and someone brought up a meeting at CLC about racial reconciliation, and my pastors are all attending. I got a sick feeling in my stomach that my former and horrible life are crashing in on a life I’m trying to rebuild. Please pray for wisdom and grace for me to navigate this.

  14. After WW II, and at a time when people were asking how the horrors could have happened, some research was done and some ideas put forth about child rearing strategies in Germany, and secondarily one could at the time note child rearing strategies in other countries including England with its alleged approach in the ‘public’ schools (elite male prep schools) or so it was said at the time. Physical disciple they say was pretty much accepted as a methodological adjunct. There was? is? also the idea that violent sports were part of the training of the ruling class males, as in the term ‘the playing fields of Eton’. Some people were suggesting that certain cultures turn out abusive or potentially abusive adults at least in part by these child rearing methods and the cultural philosophies behind them. I do not know how well these sociological ideas fared over time, but the issue of how to raise children is not yet solved, including in the US.

    And then there is the long history of physical abuse in religious discipline. For an introduction to this look at how St. John of the Cross was treated and realize that this sort of thing has been going on in various places and in various ways in Christianity for centuries. Then look at various ‘bible verses’ about physical discipline of children. And if you really want to go far out on some limb (and I do) then realize that we have a religion which says that humanity itself is only redeemed by the torture and death of God’s own son, all this being done by the will (and necessity) of God.

    I don’t know how to solve any of this, but I believe that we are talking about culturally embedded ideas of the acceptability of abuse both in our cultures and in our religion. And may I add that we are obviously not the only culture and obviously not the only major religion which fails to solve the abuse issue.

  15. @ okrapod:

    So how far should we go in holding PJ accountable for his actions as described here? I tend to see him as more a victim of the system than as a culprit, seeing who raised him. But he does not need to be a pastor if he is a damaged person in the area of abuse. The pastor at the church associated with the school where g’kids go was removed from his position all the while claimed childhood abuse both social and sexual. I do not doubt him, but he had to go before he did more damage to the kids.

  16. Doubtful wrote:

    Seems that his dad is a self loathing man who is gay, but over comes these fleshly desires by beating others. He wouldn’t be the first anti get crusader who was in fact attracted to the same sex.

    Let me think… Oh, there was the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Ted Haggard. Preaching against homosexuality while soliciting gay sex and drugs from a male prostitute.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/ted-haggard-i-over-repented-for-my-meth-gay-prostitute-crisis

  17. PJ Smyth

    What did you know? Did you work at the camp after you reached your majority? Did you alert authorities to your father’s alleged activities?

    I met with the Episcopal Bishop of Virginia (for other reasons) yesterday and alerted him to your presence at CLC.

  18. One other point

    Anyone who allegedly beats teen boys who are nude or with their pants pulled down is after much more than *discipline.* That sort of abuse is sexual in nature-a form of molestation.

  19. Maybe he is a self-loathing gay man, I don’t know. He could be a sadist. Either way, he needs a thorough psychological evaluation pronto.

    As far as CLC’s vetting process, if there was nothing to be found in the media online, I’m not sure they would have known to look for any such thing as the elder Smyth’s abuse of boys. PJ had wanted to come to CLC for some time, and they were excited to get him. Their thorough vetting was of PJ, not John. Without voluntary disclosure on his part, they would have never thought to ask the question, “So PJ, has your father ever been guilty of criminal behavior, you know, like sexually and physically abusing teen boys?”.

  20. How convenient, PJ gets a new job across the sea just before the story breaks. Makes me wonder how much he knows about abuse at CLC that he’s keeping quiet. Deals maybe?

  21. okrapod wrote:

    So how far should we go in holding PJ accountable for his actions as described here? I tend to see him as more a victim of the system than as a culprit, seeing who raised him. But he does not need to be a pastor if he is a damaged person in the area of abuse. The pastor at the church associated with the school where g’kids go was removed from his position all the while claimed childhood abuse both social and sexual. I do not doubt him, but he had to go before he did more damage to the kids.

    In his statements, PJ doesn’t blatantly deny that the abuse happened, but he comes very close. He expresses more concern for his father’s reputation than he does for the numerous victims, including the boy that died and his family. And, I don’t see how PJ’s father could commit these acts on multiple victims for decades without PJ at least hearing rumors.
    PJ has no business pastoring a church, especially a church where rampant abuse has been covered up for years!

  22. JYJames wrote:

    TWW has had online discourse about how the church in general leans towards families (dad, mom, children) and ignores single, thinking, responsible, independent adults.

    Regarding the cases of flagrant inappropriate behavior with children or minors in the church, this preference causes concern. Is there is a need to have vulnerable little ones in supply for the misguided leaders?

    That is a disturbing thought. I’m inclined to think it’s more that people go where the children are, but I don’t know.

  23. okrapod wrote:

    So how far should we go in holding PJ accountable for his actions as described here? I tend to see him as more a victim of the system than as a culprit, seeing who raised him. But he does not need to be a pastor if he is a damaged person in the area of abuse.

    I agree.

    He also should not be a pastor if he lied/hid what he knew about his father and did not protect children being hurt by his father.

  24. ishy wrote:

    While I don’t think children should be to blame for parents that display evil, I don’t see PJ Smyth renouncing his father’s acts.

    Thank you, ishy! That is what is bothering me too.

  25. With corporal punishment such a coveted doctrine for CLCers in the the past, I would imagine that the vetting process included questioning into PJ’s position on discipline. I just happen to be preparing my final paper for my psychology class. I am writing about parental aggression. One thing that is always curious to me is how I can have friends from my abusive IFB school who later in life now post memes that glorify how we were treated. What I mean by that is, people actually post stuff that says things like, “when I was a kid, I was taken behind the woodshed if I said such and such to my dad!” And they say like they are OK for it. They are too numb to realize that I do not think they are OK. I think they are whacked! Yes, pun intended, but true.

  26. Bridget wrote:

    He also should not be a pastor if he lied/hid what he knew about his father and did not protect children being hurt by his father.

    But he’s a Theologically-Correct C*E*L*E*B*R*I*T*Y, and that’s what matters.

    Plus, that reputation would help when the issue is Church Discipline(TM)…

    Patti wrote:

    One thing that is always curious to me is how I can have friends from my abusive IFB school who later in life now post memes that glorify how we were treated. What I mean by that is, people actually post stuff that says things like, “when I was a kid, I was taken behind the woodshed if I said such and such to my dad!” And they say like they are OK for it.

    I suspect this is a combination of “A Fish Doesn’t Know It’s Wet” and “But That’s NORMAL”.

    And what “Generational Curses” really meant before the term went all Woo-Woo. Each generation raising the one after it, passing down its own bad practices as What’s Normal.

  27. Patti wrote:

    when I was a kid, I was taken behind the woodshed if I said such and such to my dad!”

    I think some of this stuff which I’ve also seen going around facebook is a reaction to the lack of manners displayed by so many children/teenagers, and some idea that going back is going to fix that. I think most of the people I’ve seen share it are really exaggerating their childhoods ala walking to school 5 miles uphill both ways style. This is probably different with people who were raised IFB/Pearl.

  28. Dale wrote:

    Let me think… Oh, there was the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Ted Haggard. Preaching against homosexuality while soliciting gay sex and drugs from a male prostitute.
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/ted-haggard-i-over-repented-for-my-meth-gay-prostitute-crisis

    I suspect one of the dynamics in this is “self-treating in secret”. Like recovering alcoholic Billy Sunday preaching Christless sermons against Demon Rum. Or Rush Limbaugh becoming the most vocal number-one fanboy of the War on Drugs while suffering from a secret OxyContin addiction. Like the old saw about how a lot of psychologists/psychiatrists got into that profession because they’re crazy themselves and are trying to treat themselves without anyone finding out.

    Using Ted Haggard as an example, here he is with SSA, high-ranking MoG in a subculture where SSA is the Number One TABOO. He can’t admit it to anyone (not even himself) without getting turned into a pile of rocks, he doesn’t dare jeopardize his image as The Anointed Mighty Man Of God, so he has to self-treat and self-medicate in secret. By preaching against it with extreme prejudice, preaching to and encouraging himself as much as to any audience. And one day it all blows sky-high.

  29. Lea wrote:

    Patti wrote:
    when I was a kid, I was taken behind the woodshed if I said such and such to my dad!”
    I think some of this stuff which I’ve also seen going around facebook is a reaction to the lack of manners displayed by so many children/teenagers, and some idea that going back is going to fix that

    One of my writing partners (the self-educated son of a Bethlehem Steelworker) talks about how in his father’s generation a slap or spanking was just the common/normal method of disciplining children.

    I have also edited and proofed a manuscript of his that was an oral history of his family. His father’s generation was rural Pennsylvania Dutch who grew up during the rock-bottom period of the Great Depression, coming close to starvation on more than one occasion. I figure they locked into Basic Survival Mode as a matter of life & death (near-literally), and getting physical to the point of abuse (by current definitions) was part of that Life-and-Death Survival Mode. They didn’t have the luxury (not the right word but I can’t think of the right one now) of sitting down and talking things out (and they didn’t sound like they came from a talk-things-out culture anyway, but a manual labor one).

  30. Patti wrote:

    How convenient, PJ gets a new job across the sea just before the story breaks.

    Good timing, a bit suspiciously so.
    But then, didn’t The Humble One have the good timing to get out-of-state before HIS scandal broke?

    Makes me wonder how much he knows about abuse at CLC that he’s keeping quiet. Deals maybe?

    “One hand washes the other…”

  31. Lea wrote:

    JYJames wrote:
    TWW has had online discourse about how the church in general leans towards families (dad, mom, children) and ignores single, thinking, responsible, independent adults.

    Regarding the cases of flagrant inappropriate behavior with children or minors in the church, this preference causes concern. Is there is a need to have vulnerable little ones in supply for the misguided leaders?

    That is a disturbing thought. I’m inclined to think it’s more that people go where the children are, but I don’t know.

    Where prey gathers, the predators will swarm.

  32. Testing before I post.
    I just tried to post a comment from my iPad after I left the house but I was told that my IP address was SPAM. I’ve never seen that before for any site ever. Then I clicked off of TWW site and tried just to get back on without posting and I get Access Denied due to being SPAM. Now back on my computer and I see no one has posted since 11:29. Testing now.

  33. JYJames wrote:

    Exactly.
    The fact that a network of churches and ministries keeps perpetrators active and “innocent” is complicity. The good ole’ leadership club.

    Indeed. The background to this horrifying story begins in the 1930s with a man called Eric Nash (known as “Bash”). Nash realised that the great and good of British society were mostly educated at independent schools (for example, places like Eton, Harrow, and Rugby may be familiar to people in the US). Afterwards, they tended to go to Oxford or Cambridge universities (our equivalent of Harvard and Yale) and then into the professions or politics. Nash decided to target these schools with the gospel, with the aim of producing Christians who would end up in positions of influence. A key part of his strategy was evangelistic holiday camps. Many church leaders came to faith at these camps. And, as you might expect, these posh schools, and the holiday camps, were for boys only.

    In the 1970s, Nash was less involved and the charitable trust that ran the camps was chaired by the abuser John Smyth. For completeness, the reports say that the abuse happened at Smyth’s house, not the camps themselves.

    The key thing is this: The Nash camps, which continue to this day, have effectively baptised the culture – in this case the British system of rigid social classes. The camps create a self-perpetuating old boys network of conservative evangelical church leaders drawn from privileged backgrounds. It has been observed by others that this group forms a clique which is unwelcoming to outsiders. Women, are, of course, total outsiders in this all-male world, and they are extremely vocal in their opposition to female clergy.

    One of the press stories linked above said that the 1982 report into the abuse went to a number of people who didn’t inform the police. It shouldn’t surprise us that they protected their own reputations at the expense of the victims. Apparently a number of them are in still senior leadership positions in the church today.

  34. okrapod wrote:

    @ dee:

    IMO a lot of abuse may well be sexually motivated, pants or no pants.

    yes, Sadism is a perversion that is of course identified as ‘sexually motivated’

    the ‘masked’ humiliation of women in the SBC’s 2K BF&M more strongly suggests an orientation more toward the world of sexual perversion than to a healthy mutual relationship between a husband and a wife.

    That the men ‘elders of the Church’ can then ‘discipline’ a woman, harassing and attempting to humiliate and intimidate her, is a step in the direction of sadistic perversion.

  35. Christiane wrote:

    the ‘masked’ humiliation of women in the SBC’s 2K BF&M more strongly suggests an orientation more toward the world of sexual perversion than to a healthy mutual relationship between a husband and a wife.

    I agree, the SBC’s 2k BF&M is a man made document in relationship to God’s purpose for them. I will never understand shy men and women submit to this document but ignore God’s word on women.

  36. I didn’t see this part of the interview in the TWW post that I copied from DailyMail. I want to know exactly what PJ thinks forms of child abuse are. The Covenant Life School used to use forms of child abuse that they did not call child abuse. Have they changed?

    ‘In my twenties’ I gradually became aware that there had been issues surrounding my father’s ministry in the UK. Nothing specific’ but I remember hearing some of my parents’ friends say things like’ ‘… of course those were difficult years for your dad’. However’ I assumed that it was something relatively minor and it never occurred to me to press my father for detail.
    ‘I believe that the civil authorities are given by God to help protect against wrong-doing. I am firmly committed to reporting any form of child abuse to the authorities.’

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4193168/Lawyer-accused-beating-boys-urged-fly-UK.html#ixzz4Y1a7nM61
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  37. This might be off topic, but if you want to know how severely someone can be damaged by sexual abuse, done and allowed by those in power, please read “I cried, You didn’t listen” by Dwight Abbott. That is the first part of his story of a 9 year old boy being taken to Juvenile Hall in California. “Consequence” is the continuation. Net result, the author murdered someone and is in jail with 4 life sentences.

  38. My heart has literally been breaking all day. Sad for the victims and sad for CLC – mostly the innocent members! But can I ask, why did all this come out now? Was it because of PJ’s move to the US? Or some other reason? Just curious.

  39. Since this situation is so blatantly the type of sexual activity that it seems to be, I googled and found a site about social attitudes in the UK on various issues including what would seems significant in this setting. I am being careful how I say this. Their situation has not been identical to ours. I am thinking that some of these people perhaps did not report what was going on lest they be accused of deviant sexuality themselves. Apparently and according to the site that used to be a capital offense for them even without the abuse. Laws change faster than attitudes change, so maybe some people were really scared to say anything. Perhaps they did not themselves want to be tainted with allegations and did not want to live the rest of their lives with some people asking, hmm, why did he chose you to abuse, and was there something about you that, well, you know…

  40. Former CLC’er wrote:

    But can I ask, why did all this come out now? Was it because of PJ’s move to the US? Or some other reason? Just curious.

    A South African news channel did the expose. Andrew posted the link above to the reporter who broke the story.

  41. Patti wrote:

    The Covenant Life School used to use forms of child abuse that they did not call child abuse.

    What did they do?

  42. Christiane wrote:

    okrapod wrote:

    @ dee:

    IMO a lot of abuse may well be sexually motivated, pants or no pants.

    yes, Sadism is a perversion that is of course identified as ‘sexually motivated’

    the ‘masked’ humiliation of women in the SBC’s 2K BF&M more strongly suggests an orientation more toward the world of sexual perversion than to a healthy mutual relationship between a husband and a wife.

    That the men ‘elders of the Church’ can then ‘discipline’ a woman, harassing and attempting to humiliate and intimidate her, is a step in the direction of sadistic perversion.

    It’s like Poe’s law, but for sexual fetishes rather than parody. “Poe’s 34th law”?

  43. Giles Fraser, a Anglican priest, recounts how the culture favored thrashing boys at the elite private schools when he was growing up. He’s not saying it’s right, either. He says he still hasn’t forgiven his headmaster.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/05/john-smyth-public-school-christianity-brutality-thrashings-evangelical-decency

    That said, it appears what John Smyth was doing went well beyond the sadistic whippings from headmasters. I imagine there are men still out there who have not forgiven Smyth for his actions. Not saying they should, but maybe now they’ll get some recognition that what occured was deeply wrong.

  44. Former CLC’er wrote:

    But can I ask, why did all this come out now? Was it because of PJ’s move to the US? Or some other reason? Just curious.

    It came out now because News 4 in the UK just aired their programs. They had been investigating for 6 months.

  45. mot wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    the ‘masked’ humiliation of women in the SBC’s 2K BF&M more strongly suggests an orientation more toward the world of sexual perversion than to a healthy mutual relationship between a husband and a wife.

    I agree, the SBC’s 2k BF&M is a man made document in relationship to God’s purpose for them. I will never understand shy men and women submit to this document but ignore God’s word on women.

    Perhaps this was why President Jimmy Carter ‘walked’ away from the SBC. He did at the time point out his reservation about the treatment of women in the BF&M2K as one reason. Perhaps it was his strength of character that could not allow for him to accept this change. I don’t know of many more Southern Baptist people I hold in higher esteem than that humble man, except maybe my dear grandmother of blessed memory.

  46. okrapod wrote:

    And if you really want to go far out on some limb (and I do) then realize that we have a religion which says that humanity itself is only redeemed by the torture and death of God’s own son, all this being done by the will (and necessity) of God.

    Free and independent thinkers have never been beholden to what others say about this, that, and the other. Free and independent thinkers have always gone out on limbs. You’re in good company okrapod.

  47. okrapod wrote:

    And if you really want to go far out on some limb (and I do) then realize that we have a religion which says that humanity itself is only redeemed by the torture and death of God’s own son, all this being done by the will (and necessity) of God.

    I’d rather see meaning in the ‘Christus Victor’ understanding of redemption than this description any day.

    Or recognize the meaning of CS Lewis’ “She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”

    I look at the crucifix and I recall the willing sacrifice of the God-Man Who by His very Incarnation assumed our humanity and yet remained God….. crucified not at the merciless will of ‘God’ for ‘God’s Glory’, but something far more meaningful: God came down for us in the Second Person of the Holy Trinity and He took us to Himself willingly and the motivation was ‘love’. That is the teaching of the Church. The blood sacrifice of the willing Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Incarnate God-Man Jesus Christ, is only made understandable in the context of the WHOLE Paschal Event. The Resurrection is a part of that Event, as was the Incarnation. Context is key.

  48. ishy wrote:

    Former CLC’er wrote:
    But can I ask, why did all this come out now? Was it because of PJ’s move to the US? Or some other reason? Just curious.

    A South African news channel did the expose. Andrew posted the link above to the reporter who broke the story.

    Read the links. Apparently Smyth the Elder and his wife have packed up and left their house in Capetown, “Present Whereabouts Unknown”. Sounds like they’re hiding out until the heat blows over or gone on the run.

  49. okrapod wrote:

    Since this situation is so blatantly the type of sexual activity that it seems to be, I googled and found a site about social attitudes in the UK on various issues including what would seems significant in this setting. I am being careful how I say this. Their situation has not been identical to ours. I am thinking that some of these people perhaps did not report what was going on lest they be accused of deviant sexuality themselves. Apparently and according to the site that used to be a capital offense for them even without the abuse. Laws change faster than attitudes change, so maybe some people were really scared to say anything. Perhaps they did not themselves want to be tainted with allegations and did not want to live the rest of their lives with some people asking, hmm, why did he chose you to abuse, and was there something about you that, well, you know…

    Okra, doesn’t that sound like “blame the victim” rape culture?

    Especially the Christianese kind where a three-year-old victim of a pedo gets sin-sniffed for her depravity?

  50. Brent wrote:

    Ezekiel 18 – the son IS NOT responsible for the sins of the father.

    You said the exact same thing over at Wondering Eagle when he covered the subject.
    First comment in the thread, actually. (Here at TWW we get suspicious when someone unfamiliar jumps in with what sounds like a defense of the abuser. We’ve been burned before by sock-puppet Damage Control/Truth Squads. So you’ll have to stick around and show you’re legit by joining in with something other than clobber texts and/or talking points.)

    And I give the same reply:
    But did the son also sin as in becoming an accessory to his father’s?
    As Sapphira became an accessory to Ananias?

  51. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Okra, doesn’t that sound like “blame the victim” rape culture?

    Perhaps. It also sounds like ‘you were not a victim but rather a willing participate’ idea. It sounds like ‘it takes one to know one and you got spotted for being one’. At minimum it sounds like ‘you are a cry baby since you, at your age, let it happen and now you want to cry about it’, and it sounds like ‘you are not as tough as I am’ bullying. This stuff goes on.

    And it sounds like it would fit in with the stuff going on in the Anglican communion in which TEC got put on probation over the gay marriage issue and in which many left TEC and put themselves under an African bishop about the whole sexual orientation and its related issues matter, the Africans specifically and the Anglican communion in general being more conservative on that issue. And here we have Anglicans, and Africans and homosexual behavior, and I am thinking that of course people kept silent and out of it-self preservation. That does not make it right to be silent, I am just saying that maybe these were factors in people’s silence.

    My observation is that regarding specifically gay marriage and TEC and what I see there seem to be three kinds of reactions: gung ho gay marriage and all things homosexual, traditionalist anti-gay marriage, and those who stare straight ahead and pretend that nothing is going on. I am just guessing but perhaps this is part of what went on-stare straight ahead and never play your cards lest you get hurt worse in the ensuing fracas.

  52. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    But did the son also sin as in becoming an accessory to his father’s?

    I wonder about that. I wonder if he was abused himself.

    I think it’s quite likely he lied in one of his statements. I’m pretty sure if my dad had been arrested I would know the details. I would make it my business to find out. Between this and some of his other statements, he seems a poor choice to take over this particular church. Like ishy said, he’s not even capable of making a strong statement here about the victims. How is he supposed to be changing the culture at CLC?

    He won’t.

  53. More on the Iwerne camps:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=3Ry6BAAAQBAJ&pg=PA6

    “…the ‘Bash camp’ network. E.J.H. Nash, affectionately known as ‘Bash’, was an Anglican clergyman appointed by Scripture Union in 1932 to work especially with public school boys. His strategy was to evangelise the social elite because he knew a high proportion of Britain’s future leaders would be educated at those schools. A regular pattern of summer camps (or house parties) was established at Clayesmore School in the small Dorset village of Iwerne Minster for boys from the top 30 schools in the country”

    “The Bash camp ministry extended to undergraduates, especially at Cambridge and Oxford…invited to Iwerne initially as ‘senior campers’, a category invented for those who were no longer schoolboys”

    “At its peak in 1977, there were 285 boys at camp and 139 senior campers. By the early 1980s over 7,000 boys had passed through Iwerne camps alone. Many of the leading Anglican evangelical ministers in the second half of the twentieth century were Bash campers, including John Stott”

    https://www.e-n.org.uk/2015/01/features/sir-fred-catherwood-1925-2014/

    “[Fred Catherwood] served as both President and Vice President of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union (CICCU) and was an officer at Iwerne camps, which drew boys from the top public schools; here he worked to assist John Stott who was then Camps Secretary.”

  54. okrapod wrote:

    Patti wrote:
    The Covenant Life School used to use forms of child abuse that they did not call child abuse.
    What did they do?

    Back when my daughter was seriously dating a guy who grew up there I compared stories with him from my own upbringing in a school with the same harsh philosophy of corporal punishment. Although some of the severely abusive charges that came out in the lawsuits against CLC and SGM leaders he had not personally witnessed, he still honored the corporal punishment as sound that he did witness, namely very harsh swatting with boards, like at my school, which was sanctioned by the school.

  55. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Especially the Christianese kind where a three-year-old victim of a pedo gets sin-sniffed for her depravity?

    Yet another instance why their religion needs to be exposed for what it is.
    Morally bankrupt and utterly devoid of any human decency.
    Kudos to TWW and others for getting the facts out.

  56. Ian wrote:

    The camps create a self-perpetuating old boys network of conservative evangelical church leaders

    Sort of like the ‘Weekenders’ thrown by 9Marks for initiates.

  57. Even if one does not think that is abuse, it definitely is a doorway for what one would always call abuse. For example, how could anyone ever prove that one of my teachers used to swing the board around, up, and under. What I mean is that he obviously got off by attempting to hit more than our butts. The boys learned to warn each other to tuck in their bits before the hits. But I think swats are abusive, no matter what.

  58. @ Christiane:

    Precisely. Blood sacrifice, only this time it was the God/man himself. ‘What can was away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus’. How many times have we sung that hymn? Now that may be true or not, depending on who you believe, but either way it is still blood sacrifice. And not to forget the eucharist memorial meal which may or may not be actually eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ, in its substance not its elements. Christianity is a blood saturated religion, and it goes on to glorify martyrdom and suffering for the cause of Christ.

    I am not saying that this is not accurate, I am not saying that this is not intrinsic to the salvation of the world, but I am saying that any way you play it, and any motives you attribute to any of the chief players, it is still what it is. And no, the other two ‘Abrahamic religions’ do not agree with Christianity on this. On this, we are either right or wrong, but we do believe ‘by his stripes we are healed’ right along with the rest of it. No amount of incense or candle light or vestments or poetry or ancient chants or precise later Latin (church Latin) vowel pronunciations can change what it is. It is the fulfillment of the temple sacrifices for the law, ‘nailed to the cross’, or so we say. In all its brutality and horror. When we quit seeing it that way then we have lost the substance of it and we have made common cause with evil. May it not be so.

  59. okrapod wrote:

    Precisely. Blood sacrifice, only this time it was the God/man himself. ‘What can was away my sin?

    What can wash, not what can was…

  60. okrapod wrote:

    In all its brutality and horror. When we quit seeing it that way then we have lost the substance of it and we have made common cause with evil. May it not be so.

    yes, the eternal ‘Catholic guilt’….. the sight of the Crucified Lord is, through working of the Holy Spirit, meant to break our hearts and lead us to repent:
    ” They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.”
    (from Zechariah 12:10)

    It is only heart-breaking when we are anointed by the Holy Spirit, and when we realize that the suffering was willingly done out of love for us …. that is what breaks the heart and brings us to our knees before Him

    The idea that God hates us? That comes from satan.
    The idea that ‘God’ despised ‘Jesus’ on the Cross? God in the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was WILLINGLY on that cross, and we know from Scripture that it was done out of love.

  61. Jerome wrote:

    Ian wrote:

    The camps create a self-perpetuating old boys network of conservative evangelical church leaders

    Sort of like the ‘Weekenders’ thrown by 9Marks for initiates.

    Far more that a 9 Marx weekender, because it all starts at a young age and continues for years. I do believe the motives of Bash and the others responsible for the camps (other than Smyth) were honourable, it’s just the side effects have been extremely problematic.

  62. Christiane wrote:

    I don’t know of many more Southern Baptist people I hold in higher esteem than that humble man, except maybe my dear grandmother of blessed memory.

    I love and greatly suspect President Jimmy Carter! IMO FUNDAMENTALISM is a scourge and a cancer.

  63. okrapod wrote:

    And if you really want to go far out on some limb (and I do) then realize that we have a religion which says that humanity itself is only redeemed by the torture and death of God’s own son, all this being done by the will (and necessity) of God.

    That’s how I used to see it. But it does not appear to be the original way of seeing it by early Christians. The reformation has convinced us that God’s wrath has to be satisfied before he can forgive. But an earlier way of seeing it is that Jesus must enter into the darkest places of humanity in order to rescue and redeem us.

    Gregory of Nazianzus said, “What is unassumed is unhealed.” Jesus had to be murdered in order to reach us at our worst, not because God needed blood.

    Here’s from a Southern theologian (see http://www.perichoresis.org/on-the-death-of-our-blessed-lord-jesus-christ-2/):

    Jesus Christ did not go to the cross to change God; he went to the cross to change us. He did not die to appease the Father’s anger or to heal the Father’s divided heart. Jesus Christ went to the cross to call a halt to the Fall and undo it, to convert fallen Adamic existence to his Father, to systematically eliminate our estrangement, so that he could accomplish his Father’s dream for our adoption in his ascension.

    This type of theology is making much more sense to me than what came out of the reformation.

  64. Ken F wrote:

    This type of theology is making much more sense to me than what came out of the reformation.

    I messed up the blockquote, that last part was not supposed to be blocked.

  65. The story of John Smyth makes me want to throw up and then go wash my brain out with bleach.

  66. I must admit today has been a very hard day. It’s raining and that really affects my arthritis joints. My heart is just so broken, I have been a teacher for adults for the last 30 years and I am tired. I just needed to share that, thank you.

  67. brian wrote:

    I must admit today has been a very hard day. It’s raining and that really affects my arthritis joints. My heart is just so broken, I have been a teacher for adults for the last 30 years and I am tired. I just needed to share that, thank you.

    I will pray vigil for your sake tonight, Brian. Go get some rest. I’ll cover you.

  68. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    Thank you for spreading the word on this story Deebs. I just published another post titled “PJ Smyth’s Open Letters – A Work in Progress.” He has now published 3 letters on the subject and has yet to be truthful. I suggest it would be wise for him to come clean. He knows way more than he is letting on.

    Excellent reporting, as always, Todd. I read his letters and there do seem to be some red flags where he avoids speaking clearly, minimizes, or sets up his own alibis, i.e.:

    “discipline of high school/college aged boys”
    “more than 3 decades ago”
    “I was about 10”
    “I became aware yesterday that a story broke”
    “several decades later”
    “I had no knowledge of specifics”
    “I was in boarding school”
    “I never saw or heard anything”
    “disciplined me in a manner consistent with the laws and cultural trends
    “I was not involved with those interactions”

    But I do notice there is more detail in each letter. Could it be possible that more memories are coming back to P.J. as he thinks on this subject? Perhaps there are things he has blanked out of his mind.

    Here is a quote we received from a commenter on the blog. Most likely the author is a CLC member.

    “Innocent men have lost their reputations, their ministries, their families, their health and their jobs. And, you are culpable.

    Name one. NAME. ONE.

  69. Channel 4 (UK) news had another story about John Smyth tonight, with more evidence garnered from his stay in Zimbabwe. There was also an interview with the Zimbabwean prosecutor who would have brought John Smyth up on charges, but for some (what I would call) shenanigans. And, finally, the report ends with an unnamed daughter of John Smyth stating that her father should leave Cape Town and face the charges piling up against him in Zimbabwe and the UK.

    Funny how we’re not hearing anything from PJ in the press.

    https://www.channel4.com/news/exclusive-more-church-abuse-revelations

  70. okrapod wrote:

    So how far should we go in holding PJ accountable for his actions as described here? I tend to see him as more a victim of the system than as a culprit, seeing who raised him. But he does not need to be a pastor if he is a damaged person in the area of abuse. The pastor at the church associated with the school where g’kids go was removed from his position all the while claimed childhood abuse both social and sexual. I do not doubt him, but he had to go before he did more damage to the kids.

    Remember the old “Children Learn What They Live” inspirational message?
    http://www.empowermentresources.com/info2/childrenlearn.html

    I wonder what do children learn when their parents’ mindset is one of predator/prey? Can a parent successfully hide that from a child, even in the hundreds and thousands of interactions they have daily from the time of infancy on?

  71. brian wrote:

    I must admit today has been a very hard day. It’s raining and that really affects my arthritis joints. My heart is just so broken, I have been a teacher for adults for the last 30 years and I am tired. I just needed to share that, thank you.

    February is a low point in the year, so dreary, cold, dark and wet. And there is so much to feel heartbroken and tired about. But this too shall pass. Things will get better.

    Sometimes a person just needs one kind face, one gentle word, to keep going. You are that person for others, Brian. You make a difference.

  72. Patti wrote:

    I just tried to post a comment from my iPad after I left the house but I was told that my IP address was SPAM. I’ve never seen that before for any site ever. Then I clicked off of TWW site and tried just to get back on without posting and I get Access Denied due to being SPAM. Now back on my computer and I see no one has posted since 11:29. Testing now.

    Something isn’t right. I comment on TWW from my iPad all the time. Maybe check your settings? Do you have email access set up on your iPad? Don’t know……….

  73. Best to Brian and I get what you’re saying here but this kind of cracked me up

    siteseer wrote:

    February is a low point in the year, so dreary, cold, dark and wet

    Since in southern news, today was 80 degrees and I saw a mosquito. Ugh.

  74. Lea wrote:

    Since in southern news, today was 80 degrees and I saw a mosquito. Ugh.

    I envy you the 80 degrees but not the mosquitoes! 🙂

  75. siteseer quoting PJ Smyth wrote:

    “disciplined me in a manner consistent with the laws and cultural trends”

    Really? Because that article I posted by Giles Fraser earlier today indicated that the kind of whippings that went on were legal until 1999 in the UK. At that point, PJ would have been 28 years old, and he would have been in a UK boarding school during that period. I have no idea what the Zimbabwean law would have looked like, but it’s worth noting that Zimbabwe did not gain independence until 1980. And, if Zimbabwe was like other Commonwealth countries, it may have inherited UK law on the subject. (That would require research beyond my abilities.)

    The fact is, that the law and the custom when PJ Smyth was growing up was that whippings were normal (but not right, I must emphasize) and that boys and young men suffered from them, to the point of bleeding through their underclothes. It would not surprise me to learn that PJ was thrashed by his father and is now covering up.

    For the record, I’m 11 years older than PJ and when we were children in California and then Texas, my mother used to beat us with a metal-mesh flyswatter. She took this up after she broke a blood vessel in her hand whaling on one of us. As I frequently say, all that beating did for me was make it clear that I had to teach myself how to become a better liar. In other words, I didn’t get the obvious lesson out of the punishment. Interestingly, my late father never laid a hand on us, or a belt.

  76. siteseer wrote:

    Excellent reporting, as always, Todd. I read his letters and there do seem to be some red flags where he avoids speaking clearly, minimizes, or sets up his own alibis, i.e.:

    Anybody else note how much they sound like the low level flunkies and gophers at the Nuremberg proceedings?

  77. Ian wrote:

    It shouldn’t surprise us that they protected their own reputations at the expense of the victims.

    This is pretty much the story; generally the norm, it seems.

    So from generation to generation, the cycle is perpetuated.

  78. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    Here is a quote we received from a commenter on the blog. Most likely the author is a CLC member.

    “Innocent men have lost their reputations, their ministries, their families, their health and their jobs. And, you are culpable.”

    After reading these silencing type comments over the past few years I can’t help but grade them now. The commenter at your blog started with the worn out “you don’t have all the facts” gambit and went downhill from there, it was a dismally poor showing. If anything such comments betray their lazy regard for basic facts let alone the truth, it isn’t much of a “witness”.

  79. Bill M wrote:

    After reading these silencing type comments over the past few years I can’t help but grade them now.

    That’s a great idea!

  80. Ken F wrote:

    That’s how I used to see it. But it does not appear to be the original way of seeing it by early Christians. The reformation has convinced us that God’s wrath has to be satisfied before he can forgive. But an earlier way of seeing it is that Jesus must enter into the darkest places of humanity in order to rescue and redeem us.

    I really can’t agree with this, for the simple reason of Isaiah 53:

    5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
    6
    We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
    and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

    ….

    10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
    he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

    This isn’t a theology that was just invented by some medieval scholar, it’s very directly drawn from this scripture. Like most things, I think it would be fair to say that this is likely a simplification and the full story is much more complex (as with all things, it seems), but I think it would be hard to argue that it isn’t on some level true.

  81. Garland, regarding Isaiah 53, see this brief discussion from the great NT Wright:

    https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/trevinwax/2007/11/18/wright-on-penal-substitution/

    Here’s the key bit:

    “If you expound Isaiah 53 so that it isn’t about the kingdom, it isn’t about covenant renewal, it isn’t about the renewal of creation, then you have simply taken a little bit of Scripture to suit a scheme of your own, rather than the great Scriptural scheme. Jesus didn’t do that. You can see he’s got the whole agenda present to his mind.

    So we have to understand the doctrine of penal substitution within the Scriptural framework, within which it makes sense, rather than within this very low grade thing that I’ve been a naughty boy, God wants to punish me, and for some reason, he punishes someone else, so phew! I’m alright. OK. For a five-year-old, that’s fine. That’ll maybe do it. But, actually let’s grow up! We’re not talking about five-year-olds here; we’re talking about grown men and women who ought to know better, to be honest.”

    I’m sure I once watched a YouTube video with him speaking about this, but I can’t track it down.

  82. @ Ian:

    You are getting off into the ‘why’ and people have lots of ideas about the ‘why’ something happened. I am saying that ‘what’ happened as in what was prophesied to happen and what did happen. Christianity has looked at ‘why’ and come up with a lot of ideas. It really seems to help some people to grapple around some in the why, and I get that, but it really does not change reality whatever theories people have about it.

    The Jews look at why he died and say that it proves that he was one of many false messiahs since he did not accomplish the restoration of Israel before he died. The muslims see Jesus as a prophet who died as a prophet. Christianity says no, he was the god-man whose death was essential to the redemption of the world, regardless on how and why it was essential. This in itself, regardless of the reasons ‘why’ and regardless of whether or not he was ‘willing’ and totally aside from what was the mindset of God at the time, and regardless or not of any of the theories thrown around about how that works, this in itself makes christianity a religion based on blood sacrifice. And the eucharistic memorial meal, In Jesus’ own words, was about remembering and some sort of participation in his body broken for us and his blood shed for us. The cross was not a theory, it was a reality. The blood was not an hallucination, it was human blood. And the Jews are absolutely correct in saying that the fact that he died as he did including without seeing the fulfillment of his own prophesies, is crucial to believing or not believing that he was/is the messiah. This is the great dividing line between ‘the Abrahamic religions’ and the great dividing line between believers and non-believers, the cross. Not the idea of incarnation; lots of pagan gods incarnated and/or impregnated women in other lines of religious thinking. Not the idea of resurrections; people rose from the dead in thinking in other cases, and not the assumption because there had already been a couple of folks in scripture who were alleged to have avoided death. But here was the cross, and here were the other ideas brought together in light of the cross, and there was no getting away from the cross. Which is why Paul said he chose to preach Christ crucified as the hope of glory.

    Humans have a problem with that, it being a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the gentiles. Tom Wright can try to present it any way he sees fit, but there the cross still stands. Why-ever, whoever and however, there it is.

  83. Deb wrote:

    Shocking about young boys not being ‘allowed’ to wear underwear and Smyth standing in the nude reading the Bible!

    It would be interesting to see how the hyper-grace people deal with that.

  84. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Giles Fraser, a Anglican priest, recounts how the culture favored thrashing boys at the elite private schools when he was growing up. He’s not saying it’s right, either. He says he still hasn’t forgiven his headmaster.

    I am reminded of a story told to me by one of my golfing buddies. He went to Catholic school back in the early 60’s. He would be sitting at his desk when a certain nun would come by and give him a sharp kick to his knee. He has knee problems to this day.

  85. JYJames wrote:

    Ian wrote:

    It shouldn’t surprise us that they protected their own reputations at the expense of the victims.

    This is pretty much the story; generally the norm, it seems.

    So from generation to generation, the cycle is perpetuated.

    THAT is the original meaning of “Generational Curses”.
    NOT Demons piggybacking on your family like when you read Poem Truth as Math Truth.

  86. Deb wrote:

    @ Muslin, fka Dee Holmes:

    Shocking about young boys not being ‘allowed’ to wear underwear and Smyth standing in the nude reading the Bible!

    Another look at a ManaGAWD’s sexual fetishes…

  87. Former CLC’er wrote:

    Sad for the victims and sad for CLC – mostly the innocent members!

    Are there really any ‘innocent’ members left at CLC? It continues to amaze me that the doors are still open at CLC considering the stigma placed on it within Christendom due to the real and alleged abuse allegations among its leaders. While sins of the father do not pass to his son, CLC should have known the elder Smyth’s sins would come up sooner or later. Surely, there was someone else they could have tapped as a new leader, without putting their exciting new pastor under a cloud right out of the chute. Are members ‘innocent’ for continuing to support the place? Is it really all that great there?! Is it a spiritually healthy place? I’m not saying these aren’t Christians who choose to stay there – but it does appear they don’t have much spiritual discernment.

  88. @ Dale:

    When I was a child we all got spanked, some more than others. When I was in public school paddling was done, but not very often. In the sixth grade I had one teacher who ground a piece of chalk in my skull. I don’t remember what for. But then a couple of years later I had a violin teacher whack me over the head with the back of her violin bow because I did not ‘feel’ the thing we were playing even though she admitted I was ‘technically correct’. When my children were in school the occasional whack with the ruler was common, but paddling could only be done by the principal. I will not comment concerning behavior management in schools today lest I upset people unnecessarily.

  89. @ Dale:

    Everybody did hear me say public school? Neither I nor my children went to any type of religious school, much less catholic. I am not saying anything about catholic schools or the nuns who were there.

  90. okrapod wrote:

    When I was in public school paddling was done, but not very often.

    Eons ago, I experienced my only paddling in public school as a first grader. One of the first grade boys broke a window with a rock while on the play ground. All of the boys were lined up to confess who did it and/or reveal the one who did. When we all remained silent, we were told to turn around and grip the chalk shelf on the class chalk board. The teacher proceeded down the line with two whacks per kid with a paddle, followed by screams. I can still remember waiting near the end of the line for judgment to fall on me. I guess it was stupid on my part to remain silent, rather than squeal on the little culprit, but I wanted to be a “man” as a first grader. To this day, I have always viewed that experience as discipline rather than punishment leading to abuse. There is a line between the two … John Smyth crossed that line.

  91. Muff Potter wrote:

    siteseer wrote:
    Excellent reporting, as always, Todd. I read his letters and there do seem to be some red flags where he avoids speaking clearly, minimizes, or sets up his own alibis, i.e.:

    Anybody else note how much they sound like the low level flunkies and gophers at the Nuremberg proceedings?

    “Ich habe nur meine Befehle ausgefert.”
    “My involvement with the Party/membership in the SS was strictly non-political.”

  92. siteseer wrote:

    Remember the old “Children Learn What They Live” inspirational message?
    http://www.empowermentresources.com/info2/childrenlearn.html
    I wonder what do children learn when their parents’ mindset is one of predator/prey?

    They learn “Better Predator than Prey. Better to Hold the Whip than Feel the Whip. Better WINNER than Loser.”

    And become Sociopaths on Top, or curse God from the Bottom for not being born Sociopaths.

  93. @ okrapod:
    I taught sixth, seventh, and eighth grades at Blessed Sacrament School in Paterson NJ, and while I was there, no children were ‘hit’ or ‘paddled’ by the nuns. One thing that was going on: they were learning to read and to do math, with extra time given to both during the day. Heavy attention to basic skills was being paid. …… fast forward ten years and I am at a public school teacher’s conference for the adoption of new math books and the lady presenting the talk says ‘we’ve got to get away from teaching basic skills’

    I didn’t agree. My public school students ALL learned their times tables thoroughly. At the end of one sixth grade year, a father came up to me and shook my hand and said he wanted to meet the teacher who FINALLY had taught his son the times tables. I told him that I had been trained by nuns and they didn’t play. 🙂

  94. siteseer wrote:

    Excellent reporting, as always, Todd. I read his letters and there do seem to be some red flags where he avoids speaking clearly, minimizes, or sets up his own alibis, i.e.:
    “discipline of high school/college aged boys”

    “Use proper code words. Relocation. Resettlement. Delousing.”
    Holocaust (miniseries)


    “I became aware yesterday that a story broke”

    “I had no knowledge of specifics”

    “I never saw or heard anything”

    “I KNOW NOTHINK! NOTHINK!”
    — Sgt Schultz, Hogan’s Heroes
    (Johann Banner, I’m getting a lot of mileage out of your best-known role’s tag line…)

    “disciplined me in a manner consistent with the laws and cultural trends”

    “Everything we did was LEGAL!”
    — Los Angeles law firm disbarred en masse years ago for an OSHA extortion racket

    “I was not involved with those interactions”

    “I did not know that woman in a Biblical sense.”
    — Douggie ESQUIRE

  95. siteseer wrote:

    The story of John Smyth makes me want to throw up and then go wash my brain out with bleach.

    Even after all the Preacher/Church Corruption exposes you’ve read here and on other watchblogs?

  96. Muff Potter wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Sounds like they’re hiding out until the heat blows over or gone on the run.
    Paraguay maybe?

    “OUR GLORIOUS FATHERLAND — SOUTH AMERICA!”
    — KAOS villain (in thick comic-opera German accent), Get Smart

  97. Christiane wrote:

    okrapod wrote:
    And if you really want to go far out on some limb (and I do) then realize that we have a religion which says that humanity itself is only redeemed by the torture and death of God’s own son, all this being done by the will (and necessity) of God.

    I’d rather see meaning in the ‘Christus Victor’ understanding of redemption than this description any day.

    Wasn’t Christus Victor the original understanding?
    And Penal Substitutionary Atonement a later usurper?

  98. Christiane wrote:

    fast forward ten years and I am at a public school teacher’s conference for the adoption of new math books and the lady presenting the talk says ‘we’ve got to get away from teaching basic skills’

    Sheer madness. Yours is only one such horror story of public schooling I’ve heard over the years. How do these idiots hold so much sway in public education with regard to curriculum and policy?

  99. okrapod wrote:

    . I will not comment concerning behavior management in schools today lest I upset people unnecessarily.

    I will. I moved to Texas when I was 12 and summary corporal punishment was the rule of the day. Teachers weren’t afraid to instill fear in a classroom by punishing kids and taking them out for three swats with their boards of education.

    I’d note this type of non-consensual beating of an adult is the crime of battery. If we don’t approve of husbands disciplining their adult wives with their fists, then why is it OK to hit kids? It just teaches that problems can be solved with force.

  100. Brent wrote:

    Ezekiel 18 – the son IS NOT responsible for the sins of the father.

    Eagle traced your IP, SENECA.

  101. Nancy2 wrote:

    Wow! Google “abuse by John Smyth”, and just look at everything that pops up!

    You mean the 407,000 hits?

  102. Christiane wrote:

    fast forward ten years and I am at a public school teacher’s conference for the adoption of new math books and the lady presenting the talk says ‘we’ve got to get away from teaching basic skills’

    Basic teaching skills applied to my generation got us enough learnin’ to put a man on the moon, discover cures and treatments for multiple diseases, develop computer technology, etc. etc. Yep, teaching basic skills didn’t do us any harm.

  103. Max wrote:

    Basic teaching skills applied to my generation got us enough learnin’ to put a man on the moon, discover cures and treatments for multiple diseases, develop computer technology, etc. etc. Yep, teaching basic skills didn’t do us any harm.

    … not to mention equipping me with enough semi-intelligence to comment on this here blog.

  104. okrapod wrote:

    Humans have a problem with that, it being a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the gentiles. Tom Wright can try to present it any way he sees fit, but there the cross still stands. Why-ever, whoever and however, there it is.

    I don’t think it’s appropriate to just dump NT Wright into a trash can as if he doesn’t matter.

    Maybe the cross is foolishness because it represents the failure of the political and religious powers to go up against God in the person of Jesus. In fact, I would argue, if Jesus is just a better sacrifice (and yes, I know I’m riffing on Hebrews), then how different is he than the other human sacrifices through the ages? Because he’s God, making things right with God through a brutal death? (Get the implications of that?)

    This thought isn’t original with me, but get this: Judaism had a perfectly workable sacrificial system with livestock and birds. It didn’t need human sacrifice and in fact was forbidden from sacrificing humans. If Jesus’ death is explained by Penal Substitutionary Atomement, then that is literally no different than just sacrificing another lamb. And PSA would be repulsive to Jews because of the prohibition on human sacrifice.

    Perhaps the better sacrifice is that Christianity’s view of hoe God reconciles us to Himself is different from all the sacrificial systems of the world. Even the Aztecs had a sacrificial system, even though separated for millennia from Asia.

    What NT Wright is trying to say is that Christianity is truly different in that in God’s self revelation, He is challenging the status quo of the powers of the world. Substituting a crucified god-man for a sheep just doesn’t cut it. There are plenty of those kinds of religions out there.

    In other words, the challenge of Christianity is to politics, religion and society as usual. PSA is basically the world as usual, sacrifice as usual, instead of seeing God’s self-revelation as a challenge to “business as usual.” The failure of Christendom is that it took God’s radical self-identification with humanity in Jesus Christ, His confrontation with the powers of His day and His crucifixion and turned it into another sacrificial religion. Instead, Christendom could have pointed to the risen Lord, who triumphed over those who would have kept Him in the grave, and gives to us, His followers, the possibility that by His Spirit, we can overcome the very religious, political and social slings and arrows thrown at us daily, with a promise that God will set the world right in the future.

    “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”

  105. Nancy2 wrote:

    Google “abuse by John Smyth”, and just look at everything that pops up!

    I wonder what would pop up if internet had existed in the 16th century during John Calvin’s heyday? With the history that does exist, he certainly wasn’t a model of moral behavior befitting of the 21st century worship of him by New Calvinists.

  106. @ Brent:

    Senaca your IP address is similar. I will guess one is home and one is work. Either way they both come from Jacksonville, FL.

  107. NJ wrote:

    Their thorough vetting was of PJ, not John.

    Be prepared for some info to follow on this regard. We are aware of some behind the scenes allegations by those with personal involvement that should become public knowledge within the coming weeks.

    I wonder if they should have asked the following questions. Given the church’s history, I would think this might have been wise.

    “Have you ever knowingly observed abuse of any underage person and not reported it?”

    “Have you ever participated, after reaching your majority, in any activity that could be construed as abusive?”

    “Why have you decided to come to the States? Are you leaving behind any unresolved issues?”

    Stay posted as we delve more into this fluid and disturbing situation.

  108. Janey wrote:

    What kind of sick church keeps hiring people with sick covered-up backgrounds?

    Perhaps churches which do not ask the right questions…If I were involved in the leadership of CLC, I would be concerned at this point. Oh yeah, and PJ has been pushed by certain Calvinistas so it will be interesting to see how they will respond if further details expose some difficult information.

  109. @ Todd Wilhelm:
    I am planning on reposting your new post along with some comments. I alerted an Episcopal official on Monday about PJ’s location in the States. Odd how things work together like this.

  110. Nancy2 wrote:

    Patti wrote:
    I just tried to post a comment from my iPad after I left the house but I was told that my IP address was SPAM. I’ve never seen that before for any site ever. Then I clicked off of TWW site and tried just to get back on without posting and I get Access Denied due to being SPAM. Now back on my computer and I see no one has posted since 11:29. Testing now.
    Something isn’t right. I comment on TWW from my iPad all the time. Maybe check your settings? Do you have email access set up on your iPad? Don’t know……….

    If I have a TWW post open in my phone for some time, and then come back to read and comment without refreshing the page, I’ll get that kind of message, that it thinks I’m up to no good, or trying to post spam, or whatnot. Refreshing the page loses the comment I was trying to add, of course, but it seems to solve the problem.

    HTH.

  111. @ Nancy2:
    Believe it or not, it happens to me as well. So don’t worry that it is just you!

    I usually refresh the page and sometimes must reboot my computer.

  112. Sometimes you all, one or more, will leap right to the theory of penal substitutionary atonement as if any mention of atonement, much less substitutionary atonement was by definition ‘penal’. That in fact is not the case and I personally have never even hinted that it was. Check out ‘substitutionary atonement’ in wiki and note that it is an umbrella term for various atonement theories, of which ‘penal’ is only one.

    Now I do believe in atonement, but that is beside my point right here. My point is that however one thinks about Jesus and Christianity, atonement theory or not, there is still the cross and it is still a religion which says that in saving the world the cross was necessary.

    Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Substituting a crucified god-man for a sheep just doesn’t cut it.

    That is not what atonement theories say. They say that the death of God’s son always was the only atonement, that the sheep were the temporary substitution; not the other way around. Like what God said to Abraham at the binding of Isaac.

    And you are correct, they Jews do not believe that the death of Jesus was an atonement. I must have not been clear on that point.

  113. Max wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:

    Google “abuse by John Smyth”, and just look at everything that pops up!

    I wonder what would pop up if internet had existed in the 16th century during John Calvin’s heyday? With the history that does exist, he certainly wasn’t a model of moral behavior befitting of the 21st century worship of him by New Calvinists.

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:

    Wow! Google “abuse by John Smyth”, and just look at everything that pops up!

    You mean the 407,000 hits?

    To be fair, there was another VERY famous man named John Smyth (who was the founder of the Baptist movement!) Perhaps some of those hits are referring to him.

    The original John Smyth, interestingly enough, eventually embraced an Anabaptist/Mennonite way of thinking and the other Baptists cut ties with him after that point, despite his being their founder. Something similar happened with Congregationalism (it was originally called Brownism, but Robert Browne eventually became an Anglican again, leaving behind the movement he had started in the first place). The Pilgrims were Brownists.

    Yet another such occurrence happened with “Newmanism” (Anglo-Catholicism). Newman was the biggest, but not the only, early driving force in the movement. Eventually though he became Roman Catholic and was made a cardinal.

  114. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Wasn’t Christus Victor the original understanding?
    And Penal Substitutionary Atonement a later usurper?

    Yes, MUCH later. I’ll comment more on PSA this evening, and how it directly connects with the topic of this post.

  115. MidwesternEasterner wrote:

    The Pilgrims were Brownists.

    And I grew up in a church founded by Pilgrims in 1638. That is, the church was founded in 1638 – I attended it in the 1950’s and 60’s 🙂 Ironically, it became quite ‘liberal’ I guess you could say. I believe that a woman serves as senior pastor these days. Funny what a few centuries will do.

  116. okrapod wrote:

    Sometimes you all, one or more, will leap right to the theory of penal substitutionary atonement as if any mention of atonement, much less substitutionary atonement was by definition ‘penal’.

    That’s because penal substitutionary atonement of the most blatant kind IS the ONLY atonement in a LOT of Fundagelicalism. Like Pre-Trib Rapture, it wasn’t until I’d left that I even HEARD of ANYTHING else.

  117. dee wrote:

    NJ wrote:

    Their thorough vetting was of PJ, not John.

    Be prepared for some info to follow on this regard. We are aware of some behind the scenes allegations by those with personal involvement that should become public knowledge within the coming weeks.

    I wonder if they should have asked the following questions. Given the church’s history, I would think this might have been wise.

    “Have you ever knowingly observed abuse of any underage person and not reported it?”

    “Have you ever participated, after reaching your majority, in any activity that could be construed as abusive?”

    “Why have you decided to come to the States? Are you leaving behind any unresolved issues?”

    Stay posted as we delve more into this fluid and disturbing situation.

    Just now saw this. In that case, I’ll keep an eye out for any followup.

  118. okrapod wrote:

    And you are correct, they Jews do not believe that the death of Jesus was an atonement. I must have not been clear on that point.

    Not only do my Jewsih friends say Jesus could not have been an atonement, they say He could have never been an atonement as He would be a forbidden human sacrifice.

    Interestingly, it wasn’t a problem for the earliest Christians, who were Jews. I wonder why? Is it perhaps because they did not see Jesus as an atonement or sacrifice but somthing else, and the sacrificial language came when Paul was trying to figure out a way to explain Jesus to Gentiles?

  119. This might be a little off-topic, but can you see the SBC getting this bad…..or are they already there?

  120. dee wrote:

    One other point
    Anyone who allegedly beats teen boys who are nude or with their pants pulled down is after much more than *discipline.* That sort of abuse is sexual in nature-a form of molestation.

    Was more than just beating, Dee.
    This is an excerpt from the London Telegraph account on Eagle’s blog; I’ve highlighted the parts that stood out to me. (Remember this was male-on-male.)

    That was the first of the 8,000 or so strokes he would make on my bared bottom over the next four years; each and every stroke delivered with the same extraordinary ferocity. After 10 strokes, I felt my skin burn. After 20, I felt blood trickling down from my buttocks to my legs. At 30, he stopped and embraced me from behind, leaning against my back, nuzzling his face against my neck and whispering how proud he was of me.

    I never felt or saw him have an erection and he never touched me sexually, although he, too, was often naked and groaning in spiritual ecstasy while doing the beating. He did the same thing, pretty much every time.

    Somehow I don’t think that “spiritual ecstasy” was spiritual.

  121. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Funny how we’re not hearing anything from PJ in the press.

    Maybe the boy’s got some sense.
    (Unlike, say, Barnabas Piper who can’t stay out of the public eye.)

  122. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    That’s because penal substitutionary atonement of the most blatant kind IS the ONLY atonement in a LOT of Fundagelicalism.

    I take it then that people might feel a tad uncomfortable if I told them that according to wiki Christus Victor is a substitutionary atonement theory? Along with the earlier Ransom Theory? And others?

  123. Ken F wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Wasn’t Christus Victor the original understanding?
    And Penal Substitutionary Atonement a later usurper?

    Yes, MUCH later. I’ll comment more on PSA this evening, and how it directly connects with the topic of this post.

    Just don’t get too long or obscuro-technical; I’m allergic to heavy theological jargon.

  124. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Not only do my Jewsih friends say Jesus could not have been an atonement, they say He could have never been an atonement as He would be a forbidden human sacrifice.

    So, what do they say about the OT prophesies concerning the Messiah?

  125. @ Muslin fka Deana Holmes:

    I have been listening to Paula Fredriksen about the Jews, god-fearers and pagans who constituted the early church, and it is stuff I never heard before. I am not even going to start to get into what she says, but I recommend her for anybody who is interested in that time period. The research and scholarship of the past several decades on the ‘New Perspective on Paul’ is fascinating but still has a long way to go. I really value what the historians have done in this area, but I don’t remotely have any postulations of my own about any of it; I am not a historian.

  126. okrapod wrote:

    That is not what atonement theories say. They say that the death of God’s son always was the only atonement, that the sheep were the temporary substitution; not the other way around. Like what God said to Abraham at the binding of Isaac.

    And I have a huge, insuperable problem with human sacrifice as the final, end all to be all sacrifice. Human sacrifice is intrinsically wrong. I do not believe God needed to sacrifice Himself to Himself to forgive humanity. Again, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”

    Substitutionary atonement makes me want to crawl under my bed and cry until I’m exhausted. I don’t think a doctrine that can cause a person serious mental issues and trigger a deep depression is a good doctrine. I think it’s time to review atonement theories.

  127. Max wrote:

    Basic teaching skills applied to my generation got us enough learnin’ to put a man on the moon, discover cures and treatments for multiple diseases, develop computer technology, etc. etc. Yep, teaching basic skills didn’t do us any harm.

    Mine, too – graduated in ’82. When I was teaching, I had 9th graders who couldn’t tell ya what 3×4 equals! Sooooo, I didn’t give a rip what the mandatory core curriculum guidelines were…… we spent a couple weeks doing basic multiplication and long division, sans calculators! If an algebra student can’t do that, how are they supposed to solve algebraic equations with fractions???

  128. Janey wrote:

    What kind of sick church keeps hiring people with sick covered-up backgrounds?

    An elder-ruled church does not allow input from the congregation on its leaders. Church elders wowed by the possibility of getting an icon on staff do not have the discernment to properly vet new leaders.

  129. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Wasn’t Christus Victor the original understanding?
    And Penal Substitutionary Atonement a later usurper?

    Hi HEADLESS

    the ‘Christus Victor’ is from Patristic times, whereas the much later Penal Substitutionary Atonement developed as a pattern after the Germanic Anglo-Saxon concept of the ‘weregild’ …. a ‘debt’ paid either in blood or gold

    the ‘weregild’ (sometimes spelled ‘weregeld’) influences a lot of Western thinking even in Christianity, but not so much Eastern Christianity (Orthodox)

    take a look at ‘weregild’ in Wiki, and you can see how the Protestant Lord’s Prayer got it’s understanding of ‘trespasses’ phrased as ‘debts’ …. interesting reading 🙂

  130. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Substitutionary atonement makes me want to crawl under my bed and cry until I’m exhausted. I don’t think a doctrine that can cause a person serious mental issues and trigger a deep depression is a good doctrine. I think it’s time to review atonement theories.

    Dear Muslin,
    there are many other choices of theories …. so come out from under the bed and dry your eyes and be comforted 🙂

  131. K.D. wrote:

    This might be a little off-topic, but can you see the SBC getting this bad…..or are they already there?

    Lest we forget, C.J. Mahaney and his Louisville church are now Southern Baptist! Yep, we are already there!

  132. Nancy2 wrote:

    So, what do they say about the OT prophesies concerning the Messiah?

    Jesus didn’t fulfill them. But as you can guess, there are serious, nay insurmountable differences between how Jews interpret the Tanakh and how Christians interpret the OT, starting with te name for the collection of books.

  133. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    human sacrifice

    I know how you feel, but at the same time it is necessary to be sure that we are all talking about the same thing. The death of the god-man was not just some human sacrifice, it was God sacrificing himself. It is God providing for Himself His own sacrifice. And certainly this is an emotional thing, but the idea of the lamb slain before the foundations of the world is precisely that. I do think that there are a gracious plenty historical theories afloat about what all this may mean that surely one of them might be easier to think about, and I think that is probably what people are doing in discussing theories of the atonement. But if Jesus was just some teacher, healer, and apocalyptic Jewish prophet who just got himself executed in the process, then that is pretty much the end of the Jesus story. And we consequently would be without hope. It has to be the whole story or none because there are no parts that can be left out without changing the whole narrative.

  134. @ Dave (Eagle):
    Seneca is getting bored. No one is commenting on his blog which serves to trash TWW. One of the few comments was Seneca agreeing with himself. Sad. So, did you get bored and decide to come over here to feel like you are part of something.

    I’ve got one for you. How about TWW whines about Seneca and all of his pseudonyms and the entires of his undying devotion to CJ Mahaney. Have you heard from him yet? Bet not…

  135. @ Muff Potter:
    So Eagle seems to say. Poor fellow. No one pays him any attention until he gets kicked off a blog, attempts to start on and doesn’t get any comments so he needs to come over here to pretend that he actually has something to say beyond :CJ is great.

  136. If anyone wants to see the concept of Christus Victor, there is a good example of it at the ending of the film ‘Gran Torino’. The unexpected ending does reflect more of love in Walt’s sacrifice than the ‘penal substitution’ atonement theory ever could. Big difference. Love is also the theme shown in the C.S. Lewis scene where Aslan submits to death for the sake of the boy.

    The villain is real ‘evil’, not ‘God the Father’ in the story of the atonement, when you look at the patristic Christus Victor understanding of it.

  137. Nancy2 wrote:

    Max wrote:
    Basic teaching skills applied to my generation got us enough learnin’ to put a man on the moon, discover cures and treatments for multiple diseases, develop computer technology, etc. etc. Yep, teaching basic skills didn’t do us any harm.
    Mine, too – graduated in ’82. When I was teaching, I had 9th graders who couldn’t tell ya what 3×4 equals! Sooooo, I didn’t give a rip what the mandatory core curriculum guidelines were…… we spent a couple weeks doing basic multiplication and long division, sans calculators! If an algebra student can’t do that, how are they supposed to solve algebraic equations with fractions???

    Yeah, part of my decision to retire from teaching was the curriculum. I taught 12th grade economics and my seniors could not add, subtract, multiply, divide w/o a calculator. I took two weeks to ” re-teach” those skills. When they told me I had to stop, it helped make that decision to visit TRS even easier.

  138. K.D. wrote:

    took two weeks to ” re-teach” those skills. When they told me I had to stop, it helped make that decision to visit TRS even easier.

    I understand this. I came from teaching in the Catholic school system up North into a Southern city’s public school system working with ‘inner-city’ children. Culture shock? Well, no, not exactly ….. I had for a time worked as a math teacher for boys 14 to 18 in Straight and Narrow, a drug rehab facility in Jersey, so I was not completely overwhelmed, no.

    I took the first ten minutes of every math class for skill building: example …using a grid to teach basic multiplication tables .. and I GRADED AND RETURNED all their work (very important, these feedback).

    If they had told me to ‘stop’ the skill building, I would have ‘persisted’ until I got fired :).

    It gets very frustrating out there when people in high places order teachers NOT to teach …. I am a maverick-on-fire by heart and when I went into those inner-city classrooms, those children LEARNED.

  139. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    okrapod wrote:
    . I will not comment concerning behavior management in schools today lest I upset people unnecessarily.
    I will. I moved to Texas when I was 12 and summary corporal punishment was the rule of the day. Teachers weren’t afraid to instill fear in a classroom by punishing kids and taking them out for three swats with their boards of education.
    I’d note this type of non-consensual beating of an adult is the crime of battery. If we don’t approve of husbands disciplining their adult wives with their fists, then why is it OK to hit kids? It just teaches that problems can be solved with force.

    My first few years teaching, corporal punishment was the norm for me and for many in Texas, still is. Giving kids ” swats” made me ill physically and I stopped my third year. For the next 27 years I discovered so many other ways of discipline worked so much better. ( I can tell you the name of the last kid I swatted, he is now hospice care nurse in San Angelo, TX)

  140. K.D. wrote:

    Yeah, part of my decision to retire from teaching was the curriculum. I taught 12th grade economics and my seniors could not add, subtract, multiply, divide w/o a calculator. I took two weeks to ” re-teach” those skills. When they told me I had to stop, it helped make that decision to visit TRS even easier.

    I taught one “consumer math” class, basic math survival skills in the real world, juniors and seniors. One problem: how to give give a customer $8.76 change back? One seniors answer: 8 ones, 7 dimes, and 6 pennies. That was the only way she could count money. She tried working as a waitress on the weekends – she was fired. And these are the people trying to function in our society now!

  141. Back to the subject of this post: those of us who are parents and/or have worked as educators …….. Is our education system letting our kids slide….. not teaching critical thinking skills…….. and making them more susceptible for abuse as teenagers and young adults?

  142. @ Nancy2:

    That type of thinking is right out of common core math. That is how they are taught to understand numbers. I am thinking that your illustration may have been before c.c. but none the less that is how they are taught to think. I can feel my blood starting to curdle as we speak.

    And of course, her answer was technically correct. Impractical, only one of several ways, not how we do, but technically correct. I bet she could ‘show her work’ on the side of the page too, in neat columns, with little diagrams for each coin and bill.

    We are committing intellectual suicide in this country.

  143. Nancy2 wrote:

    I didn’t give a rip what the mandatory core curriculum guidelines were…… we spent a couple weeks doing basic multiplication and long division, sans calculators! If an algebra student can’t do that, how are they supposed to solve algebraic equations with fractions???

    “Where do I download the App for that?” (txt txt txt txt txt txt txt txt…)

  144. Nancy2 wrote:

    One problem: how to give give a customer $8.76 change back? One seniors answer: 8 ones, 7 dimes, and 6 pennies. That was the only way she could count money. She tried working as a waitress on the weekends – she was fired. And these are the people trying to function in our society now!

    Did she get an A+ in Self-Esteem?

  145. okrapod wrote:

    @ Nancy2:
    That type of thinking is right out of common core math. That is how they are taught to understand numbers. I am thinking that your illustration may have been before c.c. but none the less that is how they are taught to think

    To pass the Common Core test answers and nothing else.
    This means more awards and Federal funding for the school administrators.

    Richard Feynman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman) once wrote about a fact-finding trip to Brazil in the Fifties; Brazilian universities were graduating a lot of science/tech degrees yet Brazil’s industrial/technical base was not showing any results. Feynman wrote that Brazilian universities were “Teaching to the Test” and nothing else; all their higher education at the time concentrated on answering to pass the standard tests and nothing more.

  146. Nancy2 wrote:

    Back to the subject of this post: those of us who are parents and/or have worked as educators …….. Is our education system letting our kids slide….. not teaching critical thinking skills…….. and making them more susceptible for abuse as teenagers and young adults?

    Feature, not Bug.

  147. dee wrote:

    @ Dave (Eagle):
    Seneca is getting bored. No one is commenting on his blog which serves to trash TWW. One of the few comments was Seneca agreeing with himself. Sad.

    You know it’s bad when the only commenters on your blog are your own sock puppets.

    Kinda like failing a Turing Test.

  148. okrapod wrote:

    I bet she could ‘show her work’ on the side of the page too, in neat columns, with little diagrams for each coin and bill.

    An Icon Array of Pretty Pictures, just like on her smartphone screen.

    “Reading and Writing? What’s the App for that?”

  149. okrapod wrote:

    @ Nancy2:
    That type of thinking is right out of common core math. That is how they are taught to understand numbers. I am thinking that your illustration may have been before c.c. but none the less that is how they are taught to think. I can feel my blood starting to curdle as we speak.
    And of course, her answer was technically correct. Impractical, only one of several ways, not how we do, but technically correct. I bet she could ‘show her work’ on the side of the page too, in neat columns, with little diagrams for each coin and bill.
    We are committing intellectual suicide in this country.

    Common Core Math….oh man, a nightmare….
    And on a side note, please pray for the people in DeRidder, LA right across the border from here in Texas. There was an explosion at a container board plant, several dead and injured.

  150. @ Nancy2:

    My Rabbi told me this when I called him, in 1976, to ask, “They are telling me that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. How do I answer them?”

    Rabbi replied, “First, we do not believe that God had a son. Second, if He did, He would not have kill him.”

    The Rabbi was wrong. To the first point, the Old Testament, Proverbs 30:4 tells us that God indeed has a Son. And we know His name. The proverb starts with a series of redundant questions and ends with a question and exclamation. Take a look:

    Proverbs 30:

    4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
    Whose hands have gathered up the wind?
    Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?
    Who has established all the ends of the earth?
    What is his name, and what is the name of his son?
    Surely you know!

    To the second point, the Old Testament give the truth in Isaiah 53, specifially verse 10:

    Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makeshis life an offering for sin,

  151. K.D. wrote:

    ….oh man, a nightmare….
    And on a side note, please pray for the people in DeRidder, LA

    Sure thing.

  152. K.D. wrote:

    And on a side note, please pray for the people in DeRidder, LA right across the border from here in Texas. There was an explosion at a container board plant, several dead and injured.

    I am sorry to hear this sad news.

    I too am praying.

  153. K.D. wrote:

    Common Core Math….oh man, a nightmare….

    I remember New Math in the Sixties, the predecessor of Common Core math.

    Tried to teach the concepts of math before we had the toolbox of basic times tables and long division. Result?

    “You’re walking into a forest with a book on how to chop down trees and no axe.”
    — H Beam Piper, The Cosmic Comnputer

  154. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Substitutionary atonement makes me want to crawl under my bed and cry until I’m exhausted. I don’t think a doctrine that can cause a person serious mental issues and trigger a deep depression is a good doctrine. I think it’s time to review atonement theories.

    This is my favorite (so far) paper on the alternative to PSA: http://perichoresis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/God-in-the-Hands-of-Angry-Sinners.pdf. PSA is evil.

  155. Some Thoughts on Penal Substitutionary Atonement (PSA)
    PSA seems to be off topic, but I’ll show how it is not. I grew up on PSA and only started to examine it critically a few years ago. I’ll offer a few thoughts from my reading/studying that I hope will be helpful.

    1) PSA lacks explanatory power because it creates more problems than it solves. One of the biggest problems it creates is a break in the Trinity. PSA advocates say this is not so, but if God literally turned his face away from Jesus because he could not look at him when he took on our sin, that is a break in the Trinity. Such a break requires explanation. For those who want to cite Psalm 22:1, they need to see that Psalm 22:24 has the answer. The answer is not separation.
    2) Among the many good things Okrapod wrote about PSA, this one point is very important: there is a big difference between substitutionary atonement and penal substitution. It all depends on the nature of the substitution. The most common logical mistake I see concerning PSA is to use verses/passages that support substitutionary atonement to prove PSA. That is insufficient. What must be proven is that the substitution is primarily about penalty/punishment. This is where PSA advocates fall short – one cannot use the Bible to prove this part.
    3) PSA was not believed or taught in Christianity until the reformation. There are no records or any church leaders teaching before about 500 years ago. This does not prove it to be wrong, but one has to wonder why it took the Christians 1500 years to figure it out (another problem from point 1). Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics still reject it, which means that only a small sliver of Christians have ever believed it.
    4) To prove PSA from the Bible one must first assume it to be true, and then interpret verses/passages in light of PSA. One cannot directly prove it from the Bible by drawing out the meaning of the text (exegesis). Rather, one must read it into the Bible (eisegesis).
    5) The only passage in the Bible from which one can seem to make a fairly solid argument for PSA is Isaiah 53. PSA is supposed to demonstrate the justice of God. But that passage describes someone sentenced to death unjustly. If that passage proves PSA, it also proves that God is unjust or that he uses injustice in order to be just (word salad). Here is one of the best articles I have found on Isaiah 53: https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxyandheterodoxy/2014/02/24/the-death-of-jesus-as-sacrifice-an-orthodox-reading-of-isaiah-53-and-romans-325/

    On May 17, 2016 on the Interesting items tab above under “Books, Movies, TV, etc.” is a list of questions and a list of anti-PSA links that Velour kindly posted for me. The links are a good source of information from a variety of perspectives. I’ve expanded my original list a bit since then, but there is more than enough to get started.

    Finally, I need to explain the tie in to this topic. We tend to become like that which we worship. If we worship a god who has to personally rage, beat, and kill in order to punish sin, then that is what we will become. Not that everyone who abuses believes in such a god, but belief in this kind of god naturally leads to the type of abuse described in this post.

  156. Another very good link on PSA: http://www.pravmir.com/the-original-christian-gospel/

    Placing the Fall, sin, and death into a legal framework leads to viewing the Person and work of Christ as part of that same framework. Accepting our inheritance of Adam’s guilt leads to viewing judicial guilt for sin as our main problem, which results in the belief that once divine justice is satisfied on the Cross, redemption is complete. That is why many expressions of Christianity seem shallow and simplistic: sanctification, virtue, holiness, life in Christ, transfiguration, union and communion with God were held to be added onto redemption and salvation, not integral to their very essence.

    The original Gospel emphasizes that Jesus takes upon Himself our humanity in order to purify, heal, illumine, and transfigure it. We are saved from something (namely, death, sin, and the devil) in order to be saved for something else (union and communion with God). Union and communion with God is a journey of ever-deepening love that begins in this life, and—because God is infinite—continues forever.

    This is a very different view of God than is taught by Calvinists.

  157. Ken F wrote:

    In the mean time, here is a link that I included in that comment related to Isaiah 53:

    Ken F wrote:

    Here is one of the best articles I have found on Isaiah 53:

    I posted a good link in these two comments, but it was not the one I was thinking of. This was the one I meant to post: http://www.clarion-journal.com/clarion_journal_of_spirit/2013/10/punished-for-or-by-our-sins-the-suffering-servant-of-isaiah-53-santo-calarco.html. Sorry for the confusion.

  158. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Very enlightening, HUG.

    … the cycle of evil, down through the ages, unless our Lord Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit intervene, hopefully, sometimes through the Real People of God.

  159. JYJames wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Very enlightening, HUG.

    … the cycle of evil, down through the ages, unless our Lord Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit intervene, hopefully, sometimes through the Real People of God.

    More my impression/interpretation.

    Every generation raises the next, and passes on to them the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Grow up with whatever dysfunction and it becomes What’s Normal. ANd you end up passing that dysfunction on to the next generation. And the next. And the next.

    A Curse echoing through Generation after Generation was a poetic way of saying that, back before Math Truth when there was only Poem Truth. No demon possession or God sending misfortune necessary.

  160. @ Christiane:
    I work for a public school system that has had a lot of sex abuse cases come to light in the past year or so. Meanwhile I go to a few schools each day and see good teaching all the time.

  161. @ Max:
    I would agree with all of your comments. I think many people who attend CLC are either diehards who don’t know where else to go or are too lazy to look around at other churches, have no discernment, or are relatively new to the church and ignoring the history and what’s happening now. I have little patience for any of them, even if I care for them as people. A friend and I were texting yesterday that CLC should just close.

  162. Ken F wrote:

    For those who want to cite Psalm 22:1, they need to see that Psalm 22:24 has the answer.

    Finally, I need to explain the tie in to this topic. We tend to become like that which we worship.

    I’ve appreciated your references on this subject the last few months. If I could tie your two items together I might add that while the PSA theology in this instance is not just citing Psalm 22 out of context, but of accusing Jesus of doing so. Teaching that Jesus quoted the first line of Psalm 22 out of context and thereby using it to imply the Father had turned his face away is upside-down. Instead, Jesus quoting Psalm 22 should reassure me that he felt the exact opposite, “he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard”.

    Jesus’ ministry was aimed at one point in time and the concept he would twist the meaning of Psalm 22 at that crucial moment, and with his last words is simply beyond belief. It would be a pretty nefarious God that would twist his own words. So your point that a contorted view of God yields a deformed morality can be complemented by a twisting of scripture to defend abusive behavior.

  163. okrapod wrote:

    We are committing intellectual suicide in this country.

    Agreed.

    okrapod wrote:

    The death of the god-man was not just some human sacrifice, it was God sacrificing himself. It is God providing for Himself His own sacrifice.

    Not agreed. It’s still human sacrifice no matter how thin you (generic you) wanna’ slice the partitions and approach the asymptote so to speak. I’m with Muslin (fka Deana) on this one. Even though I sign onto the tenets (and especially its supernatural vector components) of The Apostle’s Creed, I cannot buy into PSA. My conscience won’t let me.

  164. dee wrote:

    Be prepared for some info to follow on this regard. We are aware of some behind the scenes allegations by those with personal involvement that should become public knowledge within the coming weeks.

    Wow.

  165. Ken F wrote:

    Finally, I need to explain the tie in to this topic. We tend to become like that which we worship. If we worship a god who has to personally rage, beat, and kill in order to punish sin, then that is what we will become. Not that everyone who abuses believes in such a god, but belief in this kind of god naturally leads to the type of abuse described in this post.

    I very much agree with you. And, again, I believe that this description fits the god of this world, not our God.

  166. @ Muslin fka Deana Holmes:

    I don’t really have the intellectual weight to describe what I think are important points within the cross/resurrection meaning. I am leaning away from atonement as the purpose but in a different way. Okrapod mentions the pov of resurrection within that culture and why the cross is the important focus. ( if I understood that wrong please correct me) We do know that there were other young Jewish men put to death by crucifixtion, too. There were some who even claimed to be Savior of Israel over the Roman occupation. Zealots. That was not unusual.

    I do think the cross and resurrection must go to gather to have meaning. I don’t think we can ever separate them.

    I lean toward the “conquering death” understanding. However within that framework, I think that we have historically misunderstood the relationship between sin and death. And this is where it gets tricky to try to describe what I mean. Can we imagine all sin has its roots in decay/ death? I try to keep this in mind as I am reading the genres of ancient writing.

    And I do think that we make way too big of a deal over the sacrificial system –reading scripture as if it’s a giant codebook and taking allegory/metaphors way too far. I asked myself the question when I am reading about the rescue of the Israelites from pharaoh and then God’s similar but laws for the Jews. Why would he institute any sort of blood sacrifice? Because they had been living among pagans for centuries? These are the same people who made a golden calf to worship when Moses was away. I also keep in mind that Abraham was a pagan and would have understood blood sacrifice .

    I had a eureka moment one time when reading through Leviticus with the kids in a bunny translation. One of my kids said “wow God must’ve wanted them thinking about him all the time”. Oh my. Out of the mouths of babes. It makes total sense that God would meet these people where they were at the time yet position it to focus on Him- the One True God and not the cultural pagan gods. . I do think we see an evolution in scripture concerning the law. Mercy not sacrifice– as you mentioned. But I also think we take the word “law” and misapply it at times when it comes to scripture. We need laws, sadly. Not everyone is self governing.

    I see the cross/resurrection as Gods message and provision for a “do over” –so to speak. Death is conquered. Now let us live as God intended for His Creation in relationship with Him. But it is still a choice.

  167. @ Remnant:

    I can see where the Rabbi was coming from. Not just taking Isaiah 9 into consideration where the coming Messiah is referred to as “everlasting Father” but the fact that Yahweh is rarely referred to as God the Father in the OT. It is used as “God the Father of Israel” and such but not so much as “God the Father of a God Son” language. I realized this when researching ESS.

    There are some confusing references such as Lord of Host Armies and such. And Psalm 110 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. and this is referenced again in Matthew 22 and Jesus does not explain:

    41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

    “The son of David,” they replied.

    43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

    44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
    until I put your enemies
    under your feet.”’[e]
    45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

    It was also a bit of a shock to learn that it was not unusual in that era for the pagan gods to have sons. Caesar’s were known to refer to themselves this way. This is where I think the political pov of the smoking cauldron of Palestine is often overlooked in interpretation.

  168. Lydia wrote:

    I see the cross/resurrection as Gods message and provision for a “do over” –so to speak.

    Are you familiar with John Shelby Spong? He is an Episcopal bishop and rather prolific writer who thinks that the entirety of Christianity needs to be reinvented. There is a good article on Wiki about him, and it includes his 12 areas in which he does not believe the Christian narrative and which he thinks need eliminated and re-thought, starting with theism. The article says that Mohler has called Spong a heretic. I might use somewhat worse vocabulary. None the less, reading down the 12 issue list is very informative to say the least. There are people who are headed in the Spong direction to a more or less degree, and I think that is one reason why hyper-conservative Christianity is flourishing as it currently is, not Spong himself but rather what he stands for. Opposite ends of the continuum.

  169. okrapod wrote:

    Are you familiar with John Shelby Spong? He is an Episcopal bishop and rather prolific writer who thinks that the entirety of Christianity needs to be reinvented.

    Everything I’ve heard about him and his teaching says “FLAKE”.

    There are people who are headed in the Spong direction to a more or less degree, and I think that is one reason why hyper-conservative Christianity is flourishing as it currently is, not Spong himself but rather what he stands for. Opposite ends of the continuum.

    Communism begets Objectivism.
    Equally Extreme, Equally Destructive, Opposite Directions.

  170. @ okrapod:
    I have never read Spong. I have heard of him spoken of a lot in terms of somewhat hawking a cheap grace. I have no idea if true.

    I don’t think Christianity needs to be reinvented. I do think it healthy to discuss differing interpretations/understandings/
    ancient cultural backdrops, etc. I certainly don’t expect anyone to sign on or agree. I don’t even buy into the term, “Orthodox” which basically means ‘guys in a room long ago who decided what was true or not’. I think it OK to question assumptions.

    One thing I agree with NT Wright on is that each generation needs to do due diligence on the historical Jesus. IMO, For centuries the theological/rulers/politicians turned Jesus into a fair skinned European Gentile whose sacrifice has legal forensic value and gave them, the specially anointed ones, power over people.

    I believe He conquered death and seek to understand all the ramifications of that. Even how the concept of “substitution” fits in there.

    Btw: I don’t have to guess whether Mohler thinks me a heretic, too. Heretics ask too many questions? :o)

  171. Lydia wrote:

    Heretics ask too many questions? :o)

    No. It’s the heretics who have all the answers. Sounds like you have been doing some interesting reading.

  172. Christiane wrote:

    No. It’s the heretics who have all the answers.

    Like the succession of Vicars of Christ on earth? :o)

    Actually, I have spent some time reading around on the ancient backdrop not always understanding it well. They obviously thought and communicated very differently than we do. I should know better than to think outloud. :o)

  173. John Smyth writing from Harare, Zimbabwe in 2000 to ThirdWay magazine; he was scandalized by a columnist’s pun about, and criticism of, Penal Substitutionary Atonement:

    (letter is at bottom right corner of page)
    https://books.google.com/books?id=RfG242FGuNwC&pg=PA31

    “Mark Riddell is guilty of a cavalier treatment of scripture in his January column”

    “far more than a concept: it is one of the great doctrines of scripture and the Reformation.”

  174. Lydia wrote:

    Actually, I have spent some time reading around on the ancient backdrop not always understanding it well. They obviously thought and communicated very differently than we do

    It’s complicated. But don’t give up. One salient point is that some writings are ‘spurious’ and this is not always noted. So it is good to consider your sources and have multiple sources to compare on what you are reading to avoid spurious writings.

    The Fathers may have seen things differently and communicated differently, yes, but they give us some important insights into the times of the early Church and the ‘evolution’ of doctrines about ‘Who Christ is’ and ‘the Holy Trinity’.

  175. Jerome wrote:

    The column that upset Smyth:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=M2_gwdJsOSAC&pg=PA35

    This is a great article! Thanks for finding it. The comment you posted by John Smyth related to this article is a classic example of point number two from the comment I posted last night. Substitutionary atonement is not penal substitutionary atonement. It’s such a huge difference, and yet so many PSA advocates fail to acknowledge it. I don’t know whether it is from ignorance, incompetence, or deceit.

  176. Lydia wrote:

    It makes total sense that God would meet these people where they were at the time yet position it to focus on Him- the One True God and not the cultural pagan gods.

    This is a great observation. In the story of the fall in Genesis, God did the same thing – he met Adam and Eve where they were. There was nothing in the physical environment that caused them to all of a sudden need clothing. He provided it because they felt like they needed it, not because he needed it. As they were hiding in fear from the One who loved with endless love, he met them where they were. If we put the OT in that context, it seems to clear up quite a lot.

  177. Ken F wrote:

    It’s such a huge difference, and yet so many PSA advocates fail to acknowledge it. I don’t know whether it is from ignorance, incompetence, or deceit.

    True. And also so many anti-PSA people fail to acknowledge it. And I don’t know whether this is also from ignorance, incompetence, or deceit. But it plucks my last nerve.

  178. Christiane wrote:

    The Fathers may have seen things differently and communicated differently, yes, but they give us some important insights into the times of the early Church and the ‘evolution’ of doctrines about ‘Who Christ is’ and ‘the Holy Trinity’.

    I agree with that sentence, but that sword cuts both ways. For a reasonably mature and reasonably catechized believer who has been a lifelong protestant in a protestant tradition steeped in doctrine but short on history, and reasonably generally educated at the same time, which is what I was when I decided to take a look at some of the more ancient writings in church history, it can be devastating. The more I read the more I developed the feeling that Christianity was just a bunch of stuff that people made up as they went along. That would be what you are calling the ‘evolution’ of doctrines.

    It is one thing in one’s thinking that there is adequate historical evidence for a rational belief that Jesus actually existed, and it is one thing to think that whether or not the resurrection was actually ‘bodily’ in what we say it was or whether it was something on a different plane of existence none the less something happened…stuff related to some actual or reasonably presumed evidence. It was quite another to read St. Whoozis of Wherever and think that this guy has forsaken all tether to the idea of evidence and has crawled out on some limb and people are gobbling up this stuff for who knows what reason? I even started spotting streaks of possible mental problems in some of what I read.

    Eventually I had to totally get away from it, and (let me be blunt) totally get away from the RCC because I thought ‘if I don’t get away from these people and this foolishness I will have destroyed every thread of belief that I have and I will be left with nothing that even resembles faith’.

    That said, I do not think however that it is possible to completely take modern Christianity away from its history and its developmental stages and its historical setting and end up with anything all that cohesive or understandable. And, IMO, it cannot be completely unhinged from the OT either. So, yes, I agree with you, but I want to issue the warning that it may be like a teetotaler taking a big swallow of white lightning straight out of the Mason jar; it may make you swear off for life.

  179. Lydia wrote:

    Btw: I don’t have to guess whether Mohler thinks me a heretic, too.

    Mohler? Who the #ell cares what Mohler thinks other than his loyal toadies? If you’re an heretic, that makes me a …
    Well, we won’t go there…

  180. okrapod wrote:

    None the less, reading down the 12 issue list is very informative to say the least.

    I never heard of Spong until just now. And yeah you’re right, going down his 12 point list is informative. According to him, the supernatural is just quaint superstition and simply not possible. Not possible for whom? That’s the real question.

  181. Jerome wrote:

    “Mark Riddell is guilty of a cavalier treatment of scripture in his January column”

    “far more than a concept: it is one of the great doctrines of scripture and the Reformation.”

    No wonder Smyth got miffed. He’s (Smyth) the real life embodiment (in every way) of a famous Voltaire quote:

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

  182. i think i could have gone through my entire life enjoying God’s company and help without ever needing to hear “penal”.

    Whose the moron who thought that one up? and there weren’t any other alternatives? he did it on purpose?

  183. @ okrapod:

    I do hold to the early Church having received the ‘deposit of faith’ from the Apostles which was carefully guarded, carried throughout Christendom, and handed down. Within that ‘deposit of faith’ was oral and written information concerning ‘Who Is Christ?’ and about ‘What is the Holy Trinity?’
    It is true that in response to the early heresies, the Church did come together and proclaim what it believed as ‘the Church’ and these statements were in the form of the early Creeds.

    If you were uncomfortable with RCC exploration, you did the right thing to walk away from it …. many people study and do not join the Church because they cannot accept the teachings …. the Church knows this and offers a chance for those who study to maintain their integrity as the studies take place over many months, sometimes even years.

    As far as taking on the writings of the Fathers, I am Catholic and I find it is not easy reading, although I find it rewarding. But I have to imagine what it must be like for someone who is from an evangelical background first encountering Athanasius and the Cappadocian Fathers or the writings of Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch or Polycarp of Smyrna. And then, taking what has been gleaned from those early writings and, comparing and contrasting the findings with the tenets of one’s own Southern Baptist or Evangelical faith in a way so that something of meaning comes into focus.

    I would think it could be very frustrating as your comment witnesses to this, yes. Still, I applaud your efforts to study. Nothing you encounter in your studies that is meaningful to your faith in Christ Crucified is every a waste of time or effort. Keeping your integrity as a believer is important.

  184. elastigirl wrote:

    i think i could have gone through my entire life enjoying God’s company and help without ever needing to hear “penal”.

    Whose the moron who thought that one up? and there weren’t any other alternatives? he did it on purpose?

    The person credited with originating PSA is Charles Hodge, a Presbyterian reformed theologian (1797-1878)

  185. @ Christiane:

    …and he could have settled for ‘punitive’, but no, let’s call it ‘penal’! 😐

    gettin’ punchy here

    that ‘masculine feel’ in this silly religion of mine…. makin my toes curl backwards

  186. Former CLCer wrote:

    I think many people who attend CLC are either diehards who don’t know where else to go

    Yes, it’s a sad day when you can’t find a good church, which doesn’t place an emphasis on something else beside Jesus … where Christ reins, instead of celebrity. It is forcing believers to make a Biblical choice between “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together” vs. “come out from among them and be ye separate.”

  187. @ Christiane:I am not as impressed by “Church Father’s” as you. Unlike so many, I don’ view Paul’s writings in equality with Christ much less “church fathers” or Popes who claim to be in succession to Peter. And I find the focus on “church” fathers problematic as too much of hold over from a church state mentality. “Body of Christ Fathers” just doesn’t have the same imperial ring to it. :o) I have considered some of them helpful in determining terminology used at the time, etc.

    You might have misunderstood what I meant. I am talking about Ancients scholars, Archeologists, Linguists , etc.

  188. @ Muff Potter:
    Yikes. I forgot to go look him up. I will try to remember later. There has to be a balance. Some “mystery” is nothing more than ancient superstition adopted by the princes of the church to control the pew peons. It depends on what exactly is called a superstition. I choose to believe in a virgin birth, resurrection, etc. It is a choice.

  189. @ Lydia:

    Yes on the ‘mystery’ idea. If one says ‘mystery’ and stops there then one may simply have said ‘We don’t know’ and that is a good thing. We don’t know. About a lot of things. But if one then goes on to have Saint Whoever who has visions and draining sores and has some insight to some ‘mystery’ which gets popular with the general public and which the church either then or eventually makes peace with and lets its subsequent thinking be influenced by this, then I think one has to say loud and clear Maybe Not’.

    And if doctrine seems inordinately swayed by those with political power or seeking political power (Augustine of Hippo perhaps as well as the usual suspects in our day) then one has to say ‘ Maybe and Maybe Not’.

    And when some doctrine, as seen on a continuum between scripture on the one hand and what the early converts from paganism may have brought with them from their old religion looks way too close to the pagan ideas… And when one thinks that christianity over the centuries might be more interested in numbers of converts than veracity and might have marketed whatever ideas would sell…And when one sees that christianity over the centuries did not hesitate to use both political and military force to acquire power…If one does not stop at that point and say Whoa Now; Maybe Not, then I just give up on humanity.

    And both catholicism and protestantism have done, and IMO are doing) these things.

  190. Lydia wrote:

    I choose to believe in a virgin birth, resurrection, etc. It is a choice.

    So do I. I’ve made it clear on more than one occasion that I subscribe to the supernatural components and divinity of Messiah in his very person. I also believe that he really did do supernatural deeds and exploits while here in this world.

  191. okrapod wrote:

    Ken F wrote:
    It’s such a huge difference, and yet so many PSA advocates fail to acknowledge it. I don’t know whether it is from ignorance, incompetence, or deceit.
    True. And also so many anti-PSA people fail to acknowledge it. And I don’t know whether this is also from ignorance, incompetence, or deceit. But it plucks my last nerve.

    I might be misunderstanding you about anti PSA people who fail to acknowledge it. Do you mean they fail to acknowledge it as a viable theory? I was thinking when I read your comment that PSA is the approved theory taught to most SBC seminarians, most Presbyterians, etc. I am guessing we will have a large percentage of a younger generation of evangelicals that only know that theory. It fits with so much of what they are teaching in other areas.

    I fear the other theories are not taught in many churches. I can remember as a kid when our pastor outlined the different theories and for some reason I hooked onto Ransom only understanding it in terms of kidnapping. Lots of chuckles from the adults around the lunch table later. The point is we were not told what to believe but I fear there is more indoctrination than education going on these days.

    I do think PSA presents a very different character and understanding of God.

  192. okrapod wrote:

    And when one sees that christianity over the centuries did not hesitate to use both political and military force to acquire power…If one does not stop at that point and say Whoa Now; Maybe Not, then I just give up on humanity.

    ‘that gates of hell’ have been attempting to prevail against Our Lord’s Church since the beginning, yes

    I think what helps with the ‘Whao Now; Maybe Not’ is that Our Lord sent the Holy Spirit as guide and when confronted with someone attempting to cynically use Christianity for an agenda that harms others, we are given a gift of ‘Whoa Now’, a jolt right in the gut that tells us ‘no, this is not of Christ’

    Your comment testifies to the need and to the work of the Holy Spirit, Okrapod. There’s a saying ‘the Holy Spirit points only to Christ’ and comes into the Church that which poses as ‘christian’ and brings evil instead, we can expect a good healthy jolt to discern this …. that what is being done that is evil cannot be affirmed

    Your ‘Whoa Now, Maybe Not’ is discernment in action.

  193. Lydia wrote:

    I do think PSA presents a very different character and understanding of God.

    take a look at ‘weregild’ (sometimes spelled ‘weregeld’) and you can better connect the PSA theory up with Western thought, and understand better why it didn’t show up in Eastern Christianity ….. the theory of PSA has roots derived from old Germanic Anglo-Saxon custom of the ‘weregeld’

  194. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Christiane:

    …and he could have settled for ‘punitive’, but no, let’s call it ‘penal’!

    gettin’ punchy here

    that ‘masculine feel’ in this silly religion of mine…. makin my toes curl backwards

    Your comment makes me smile! We women have been scorned by men because of The Fall, but here are some things to remember that put the ‘mens’ in their place, here is an account of the famous speech by Sojourner Truth, a former slave woman:

    “”There were very few women in those days who dared to “speak in meeting”; and the august teachers of the people were seemingly getting the better of us, while the boys in the galleries, and the sneerers among the pews, were hugely enjoying the discomfiture, as they supposed, of the “strong-minded.”

    When, slowly from her seat in the corner rose Sojourner Truth, who, till now, had scarcely lifted her head. “Don’t let her speak!”gasped half a dozen in my ear. She moved slowly and solemnly to the front, laid her old bonnet at her feet, and turned her great speaking eyes to me. There was a hissing sound of disapprobation above and below. I rose and announced“Sojourner Truth,” and begged the audience to keep silence for a few moments.

    The tumult subsided at once, and every eye was fixed on this almost Amazon form, which stood nearly six feet high, head erect, and eyes piercing the upper air like one in a dream. At her first word there was a profound hush. She spoke in deep tones, which, though not loud, reached every ear in the house, and away through the throng at the doors and windows.

    “I have ploughed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me!

    And a’n’t I a woman?

    I could work as much and eat as much as a man—when I could get it—and bear de lash as well! And a’n‘t I a woman? I have borne thirteen chilern, and seen ’em mos‘ all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And a’n’t I a woman?

    “Den dat little man in black dar, he say women can’t have as much rights as men, ‘cause Christ wan’t a woman! Whar did your Christ come from?” Rolling thunder couldn’t have stilled that crowd, as did those deep, wonderful tones, as she stood there with outstretched arms and eyes of fire. Raising her voice still louder, she repeated, “Whar did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothin’ to do wid Him.” Oh, what a rebuke that was to that little man.

    Turning again to another objector, she took up the defense of Mother Eve. I can not follow her through it all. It was pointed, and witty, and solemn; eliciting at almost every sentence deafening applause; and she ended by asserting: “If de fust woman God ever made was strong enough to turn de world upside down all alone, dese women togedder (and she glanced her eye over the platform) ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now dey is asking to do it, de men better let ‘em.” Long-continued cheering greeted this. “’Bleeged to ye for hearin‘ on me, and now ole Sojourner han’t got nothin’ more to say.”

    Amid roars of applause, she returned to her corner, leaving more than one of us with streaming eyes, and hearts beating with gratitude. She had taken us up in her strong arms and carried us safely over the slough of difficulty turning the whole tide in our favor. I have never in my life seen anything like the magical influence that subdued the mobbish spirit of the day, and turned the sneers and jeers of an excited crowd into notes of respect and admiration. Hundreds rushed up to shake hands with her, and congratulate the glorious old mother, and bid her God-speed on her mission of “testifyin‘ agin concerning the wickedness of this ’ere people.”

    So stay ‘punchy’ Elastigirl, stay ‘punchy’: You are living a great tradition in the faith 🙂
    http://newlife.id.au/wp-content/uploads/Mary-Eve-Sr-Grace-Remington-OCSO-732×1024.jpg

  195. Christiane wrote:

    elastigirl wrote:
    i think i could have gone through my entire life enjoying God’s company and help without ever needing to hear “penal”.
    Whose the moron who thought that one up? and there weren’t any other alternatives? he did it on purpose?
    The person credited with originating PSA is Charles Hodge, a Presbyterian reformed theologian (1797-1878)

    Hodge was one of the heroes of the first pastor of our former church. Hmmm…

  196. Muff Potter wrote:

    okrapod wrote:
    None the less, reading down the 12 issue list is very informative to say the least.
    I never heard of Spong until just now. And yeah you’re right, going down his 12 point list is informative. According to him, the supernatural is just quaint superstition and simply not possible. Not possible for whom? That’s the real question.

    That is one reason we left the US Episcopal Church (the frying pan?) and found our way to a church that had more reverence for scripture. We were troubled by sermons talking about the “myth” of Adam and Eve, and the fact that there were people on the vestry who didn’t believe in the Virgin Birth or even the Resurrection. (What were they doing helping to govern and guide a church?)

    Not everyone was that way, but it was jarring.

    And yet, at the end, I don’t think our former hyper-Calvinist church had any more Truth than that Episcopal church did. They just erred in a different direction.

  197. refugee wrote:

    Hodge was one of the heroes of the first pastor of our former church. Hmmm…

    if I am not mistaken, Hodge was at the nexus of bringing together fundamentalism with patriarchal Calvinism …. he would be worth some examination by people who study the history of the neo-Cal ‘church of what’s happening now’, yes

    If the SBC can ‘absorb’ neo-Calvinism into itself, perhaps it’s the previously resident fundamentalists that opened the door for the neo-Cal movement, after giving the more ‘moderate’ (?) Southern Baptists the boot. ? Just some thoughts.

  198. refugee wrote:

    That is one reason we left the US Episcopal Church (the frying pan?) and found our way to a church that had more reverence for scripture. We were troubled by sermons talking about the “myth” of Adam and Eve, and the fact that there were people on the vestry who didn’t believe in the Virgin Birth or even the Resurrection. (What were they doing helping to govern and guide a church?)

    I don’t doubt it, but my experience with all things anti-supernatural was in the UMC church that I left as it collapsed around itself. You just can’t tell by the labels when it comes to churches.

  199. Christiane wrote:

    If the SBC can ‘absorb’ neo-Calvinism into itself, perhaps it’s the previously resident fundamentalists that opened the door for the neo-Cal movement, after giving the more ‘moderate’ (?) Southern Baptists the boot. ? Just some thoughts.

    Nope. You are not thinking like a Baptist here. Baptist ‘fundamentalism’ is not calvinist. The SBC was a mixture of calvinist and non-calvinist, but none of it was fundamentalist. The fundamentalists separated from the SBC back when ‘the fundamentals’ got published and were long gone and had long set up their own churches, associations, mission boards and schools. The word ‘evangelical’ was intended to indicate that the people were not fundamentalists, and indeed they were not.

    The neo-cal issue is one thing that for sure cannot be blamed on the official baptist fundamentalists because the issues are different issues. Now there are those who call the neo-cals ‘fundamentalists’. This is using the word as a derogatory term and a slam. I understand that, but when it gets down to accuracy the only way to make that use of the term accurate would be to say that there are different kinds of fundamentalisms within baptist thought and practice, which would require re-defining the issues and I don’t actually see how that would help anything because the very complexity of doing that would make the term itself meaningless. And, I think that few if any actual fundamentalists stayed in the SBC after the actual fundamentalists set up their own business elsewhere so to speak.

  200. @ Christiane:

    AMEN! to Sojourner and all Eshet Chayil (women of valor). The sooner that the patriarchal fundagelical nitwits out there realize that plumbing received at birth has nothing whatsoever to do with valor as a gender role, and that their Bibles teach no such thing, the better off the Christian religion will be as it looks toward the future.

  201. Christiane wrote:

    The person credited with originating PSA is Charles Hodge, a Presbyterian reformed theologian (1797-1878)

    He might have been the person who coined the term, but the teaching itself came from Calvin. Calvin was trained as a lawyer rather than a theologian, so it’s no surprise that he would view the atonement primarily from a legal perspective. There is debate as to whether or not Luther accepted and taught PSA. I’m leaning toward believing he did not because the evidence seems to favor this.

  202. I left this comment on his blog because I was not that impressed:

    I certainly agree with you that this should not be used to further a theological or political agenda. It is a tragedy and anyone who reacts with glee to this has a wicked heart. Many of these victims are scarred for life and have been suicidal. The correct response is sadness, empathy, compassion and for justice to be done.

    But I disagree that “there is nothing to suggest that it took place in the camps.” See the Channel 4 news report on Zimbabwe: https://www.channel4.com/news/exclusive-more-church-abuse-revelations

    Whilst the beatings took place in the garden shed, he also forced them to shower and led prayer sessions “in the nude”. Did you see this report?

    And this from the Telegraph shows that two prominent Christian institutions failed to report it:

    “Both the Iwerne Trust and Winchester College, were informed of the allegations in 1982, after one of the alleged victims attempted suicide….Winchester College confirmed to The Telegraph that the police had not been informed but denied they sought to conceal events and stated that the college authorities “did their best to deal responsibly and sensitively” with the situation. The Iwerne Trust is now part of the Titus Trust. A spokesman for the Titus Trust said that the “very disturbing allegations… should have been reported to the police when they first became known”.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/01/could-feel-blood-spattering-legs-victims-tell-horrific-beatings/

    This begs the question as to why these organisations did not report it.

    Several victims feel that the Archbishop knows more than he is letting on: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/06/victims-say-archbishop-canterbury-failed-expose-child-abuse/

  203. Lowlandseer wrote:

    Anselm set the ball rolling with Cur Deus Homo, a long time before Hodge.

    Yes, this is true. For Anselm, it was God’s honor that was offended, which required infinite redress. To Calvin, it was God’ justice that was offended, which required infinite punishment. In my understanding, Roman Catholics still teach Anselm’s moral satisfaction, but not PSA. Eastern Orthodox teach neither. John Piper teaches PSA from the perspective of mankind infinitely offending God’s honor, so he mixes the two. As a side note, it is impossible for humans to infinitely offend or dishonor God because finite beings cannot create infinite effects.

  204. Ken F wrote:

    Yes, this is true. For Anselm, it was God’s honor that was offended, which required infinite redress.

    Can you say Muslim honor killing as in Pakistan?

  205. Max wrote:

    Speaking of churches knowing how to pickem … guess who’s baaaccckkkk:

    “Perry Noble Returns to Pulpit 7 Months after Being Fired for Alcohol Abuse”

    http://churchleaders.com/news/298987-perry-noble-returns-pulpit-7-months-fired-alcohol-abuse.html

    As was predicted by the Massmind here at Wartburg Watch when the story first broke.

    A little stint in Rehab(TM) until the heat blows over, then the Triumphal Return with long trumpets blowing before Him.

  206. dee wrote:

    One other point

    Anyone who allegedly beats teen boys who are nude or with their pants pulled down is after much more than *discipline.* That sort of abuse is sexual in nature-a form of molestation.

    Especially when the beater is himself naked and “grunting in spiritual ecstasy” with each blow. And after the beating presses his naked body against the victim (standing in his own blood) and whispers in his ear.

    No erection, though (the victim’s account was very specific about that detail). And it just hit me why:

    Remember Commander Douggie ESQUIRE of Vision Forum and his Handmaid Ofdoug?
    “I did not know her in a Biblical sense”?
    AKA “No Tab A in Slot B so it wasn’t REALLY Adultery”?

    Well, this might be a case of “I had no erection, so it wasn’t REALLY Sodomy”.
    That or it goes so deep it’s beyond any recognition of the sexual angle; or like a Hellraiser Cenobite, he’s built up such an addiction tolerance that he’s in an ever-escalating loop to re-experience That Sensation.
    Neither of these possibilities is a complement.

  207. @ Jeffrey Chalmers:
    kin wrote:

    Sounds like Tom Wright believes there is evidence the early church fathers believed in PSA, but you don’t?

    I don’t. Many confuse PSA with substitutionary atonement. One is a subclass of the other. I don’t see evidence that the early church believed in the subclass.

  208. Ken F wrote:

    To Calvin, it was God’ justice that was offended, which required infinite punishment.

    As if all the human suffering and misery precipitated by the fall and run amok down through the ages is not enough, there also has to be an additional penalty levied?

  209. Lowlandseer wrote:

    You might be interested in this article from the UK that looks at this from a different perspective.

    https://theweeflea.com/2017/02/07/christian-camps-and-child-abuse-is-evangelical-theology-to-blame/

    Somethings about that article and author massively irritate me. Are people blaming the ‘gospel’ truly when they point out that this was a horror? Was there a need for the man to ‘gleefully’ claim he was not abused under such circumstances? I couldn’t even get past that.

  210. @ Ken F:

    thanks for the reply. I’m confident Wright is not confusing the two. He clearly distinguishes PSA as an apsect of the atonement. I’m leaning towards seeing multiple aspects found in the atonement, not exclusively just PSA or Christ the Victor.

  211. @ Lea:

    I wasn’t impressed with it either. He belittles the pain of the victims and his motive is to defend the Archbishop. He left out several significant facts and although he cites several articles from the Telegraph it is clear that he has either not read them properly or ignored important facts. He said that there is no evidence that the abuse took place at the meetings but when you look at the Channel 4 documentary it very clearly did. He didn’t comment on the specifics he just made generalisations to create a smokescreen and rant to defend his fellow church leaders (he is a minister)

  212. kin wrote:

    I’m leaning towards seeing multiple aspects found in the atonement, not exclusively just PSA or Christ the Victor.

    Thanks for the dialouge and for pointing me to the video by Tom Wright. I hope my reply is not too far down the page for you to check back.

    I agree with most of what Wright said in that video. I have come to believe that the atonement is too big to be encapsulated by any one theory – this is one area where I agree with PSA advocates (John MacArthur is the only one who says “penal substitution is the only way to understand the atonement). Most people seem to accept multiple atonement theories as different facets on a gem, but with one being the main facet. PSA advocates claim that PSA is what holds all the other atonement theories together. This is where I most strongly disagree with them. All of the other atonement theories play well together, but PSA does not. It is a violent theory that does violence to all other aspects of the atonement.

    Wright claims that the patristic fathers taught PSA, but I have yet to find conclusive evidence for that. They taught substitution, but not penal substitution. I would very much like to see evidence of early writings that clearly teach PSA. But to be clear, for such writings to teach PSA they would have to say that our primary problem is guilt, that our guilt can only be dealt with through punishment, that God has to express his wrath by punishing someone before he can forgive us, and that Jesus is the one who satisfied the wrath of God by taking the specific punishment inflicted by the Father that we deserved. I have not yet been able to find this evidence. This is the one area where I disagree with Tom Wright.

  213. Ken F wrote:

    But to be clear, for such writings to teach PSA they would have to say that our primary problem is guilt, that our guilt can only be dealt with through punishment, that God has to express his wrath by punishing someone before he can forgive us, and that Jesus is the one who satisfied the wrath of God by taking the specific punishment inflicted by the Father that we deserved. I have not yet been able to find this evidence.

    We’ve discussed this before and although I am not sure that I agree with your conclusions, what you said really made me think about this. I can’t think of a place in the Bible that says that Christ died INSTEAD of sinners. It says he died FOR us and he died FOR our sins. What that means is another discussion but to change the preposition from “FOR” us to “INSTEAD OF” us opens up a can of worms. Error can be very subtle! If PSA is true then does it follow that everyone is saved by legal necessity? This is where Calvinists get their “double-payment” argument from. That is, they ask how someone is still punished for their sins if Christ died for them. Salvation becomes a matter of justice and not of grace. So the implications of this view are, in reality, problematic to them.

    We also pick up a lot of our theology from the songs we sing and books we read without knowing it. One Graham Kendrick says “my debt he pays and my death he dies that I might live” and I wonder how much unconscious influence lines like that have on us.

  214. @ Ken F:

    Thanks again for the very helpful thoughts!! So if the idea of personal guilt is missing, what should we make of the multitude of OT examples of retribution on God’s “people” for their sins (the picture/type of the reality)?

  215. kin wrote:

    So if the idea of personal guilt is missing, what should we make of the multitude of OT examples of retribution on God’s “people” for their sins (the picture/type of the reality)?

    I don’t think it’s an issue there being no personal guilt. Rather, it is the relative importance. Every analogy breaks down at one point, but maybe it’s a bit like someone breaking the speed limit and driving off a cliff as a result. While they are truly guilty of breaking the law (the good law that was meant to protect them), their primary problem is not so much a legal problem as it is a survival problem. They need rescue more than they need a lawyer. PSA focuses more on the legal guilt than on the bigger death problem.

    Not only do I find no solid biblical support for PSA, I find no need for it to explain the atonement. All it seems to do is warp our view of God. If you have opportunity I recommend reading some of these articles I found on PSA: http://thewartburgwatch.com/interesting/books-movies-tv-etc/#comment-253218. I’ve expanded the list a bit in the meantime, but what is posted is still pretty good. No single one is perfect, which is why I included so many.

  216. @ Ken F:
    we sin … we die …. Our Lord comes to Earth and is incarnated, taking our humanity to Himself … He does not sin, He dies …. but He rises, destroying the power of death to enslave our kind eternally ….. it will be at His command that we rise from the dead and at His command that the sea will give up its dead …. He, the Incarnated Lord, is the Resurrection of us all

    something about that Incarnation is more closely related to our salvation than Western Christianity has been known to speak of ….. I think Eastern Christianity is closer to identifying the importance of the mystery of the Incarnation as it applies to our salvation

  217. Christiane wrote:

    I think Eastern Christianity is closer to identifying the importance of the mystery of the Incarnation as it applies to our salvation

    I agree. Some of the best material I found on this came from the EO perspective.

  218. Ken F wrote:

    kin wrote:

    So if the idea of personal guilt is missing, what should we make of the multitude of OT examples of retribution on God’s “people” for their sins (the picture/type of the reality)?

    I don’t think it’s an issue there being no personal guilt. Rather, it is the relative importance. Every analogy breaks down at one point, but maybe it’s a bit like someone breaking the speed limit and driving off a cliff as a result. While they are truly guilty of breaking the law (the good law that was meant to protect them), their primary problem is not so much a legal problem as it is a survival problem. They need rescue more than they need a lawyer. PSA focuses more on the legal guilt than on the bigger death problem.

    Not only do I find no solid biblical support for PSA, I find no need for it to explain the atonement. All it seems to do is warp our view of God. If you have opportunity I recommend reading some of these articles I found on PSA: http://thewartburgwatch.com/interesting/books-movies-tv-etc/#comment-253218. I’ve expanded the list a bit in the meantime, but what is posted is still pretty good. No single one is perfect, which is why I included so many.

    Okey dokey. thanks for the articles. Will work through most of them, hopefully. 🙂

  219. Ken F wrote:

    They need rescue more than they need a lawyer. PSA focuses more on the legal guilt than on the bigger death problem.

    I read a book a while back titled, “So Others May Live,” documenting the history of Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers. One story (I can’t remember the swimmer’s name, or the case, but it’s in the book somewhere) discussed not only the rescue, but the subsequent court hearing to determine what (or who) caused the accident in the first place. (For a little context, most sea disasters are caused by crew error compounded by terrible weather conditions).

    At the press release after the rescue, the first question asked of the swimmer was, “Whose fault do you think it is?”

    The swimmer got angry, but controlled himself and said, flatly, something along the lines of, “I don’t care whose fault it is. In the moment of crisis, my job is to save lives. You can sort out the blame later, but that’s not my concern.”

    (Again, my memory is a little shady on the exact wording, but that’s the basic exchange.)

    When I first read this account, it struck me that we tend to have a preoccupation with assigning legal blame and missing the bigger picture of life and death. From what I’ve read, in almost every single disaster, emergency, or crisis requiring sea-air rescue, it is the victim’s fault for getting into the situation in the first place. In that technical sense, the blame falls squarely on them. But does that mean they deserve to die for a mistake or lapse in judgement? Does a fisherman deserve to die because he ignored a fog warning?

    Some people say, “Yes,” which I find disturbing. Many Christians also say “Yes,” which I find even more disturbing.

    But the rescuer says a resounding, “NO!”

    What I find refreshing is the rescue swimmer’s anger at the implication that legality is more important than saving someone’s life. According to the legal code, the rescue swimmer is legally perfect, with no crimes or misdemeanors before the law, whereas the victim is almost always the cause of his own endangerment by ignoring laws written for his own safety. And yet, the rescue swimmer is the last person to be concerned with legality, and even snorts in anger that anyone would think legality was the main concern in a rescue.

    Now, as with all analogies, this one is not perfect (the biggest thing I would like to clarify is that, in ocean search and rescue, it is nearly always the victim’s fault for ignoring warning signs. In cases of abuse, it is NEVER the victim’s fault).

    But the main point is pretty clear: Most of our sin problem is our own fault, and it’s killing us.

    Now, there are two ways to view God’s response to our need of rescue: The reformed view, that sin is primarily a legal problem, and God needs to save us so that the legal code is no longer violated; or the orthodox (in the sense of, “what Christians have traditionally believed until 1500”) view, that sin is primarily a death problem, and God is more concerned with saving us from death than assigning blame. Jesus is the swimmer that jumps into our mess, and is more concerned with saving our lives than writing up our charges.

  220. The Man who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    And yet, the rescue swimmer is the last person to be concerned with legality, and even snorts in anger that anyone would think legality was the main concern in a rescue.

    Great analogy. Thanks for joining the dialogue.

  221. The Man who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Now, there are two ways to view God’s response to our need of rescue:

    I liked your analogy, but the more I’m reading (links that Ken F compiled) the more I’m being convinced it isn’t an either-or proposition.

    Now, on one hand, it appears erroneous to frame the atonement completely in terms of the court room scene (Reformed), but, on the other hand, it also seems equally erroneous to throw the legal aspect out and declare that God wasn’t acting in any capacity as the Supreme Judge or Attorney and only as the Ultimate EMT/Physician/Rescuer/Benefactor.

    God did fry and swallow a heck of a whole lot of people who failed to perform as they agreed/contracted under the Old Covenant. One of the simple reasons why Christ didn’t die when he was two yrs old was to prove he was worthy (performance-wise) of being that acceptable sacrifice without spot or blemish.

  222. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    In other words, the challenge of Christianity is to politics, religion and society as usual.

    A year or two ago, I read an online interpretation of Revelation where the Great Whore represented corrupt economic systems, the Beast represented corrupt political systems, and the False Prophet represented corrupt religious systems. All to be blown away by the returning Lamb in the ultimate Tikkun Olam.

    Made a lot more sense than the Hal Lindsay/Left Behind interpretation you usually get.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *