Voice of the Martyrs and Alleged Sexual Sin in a Nigerian Orphanage

"If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."

Matthew 18:6 (NIV)

Persecuting the Persecuted video in postVoice of the Martyrs Headquarters

(Screen Shot from Persecuting the Persecuted Video)

Five years ago we wrote a post on the sudden death of Tom White, Executive Director of Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), a persecution ministry located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The tragic news garnered headlines worldwide. White was found dead in a warehouse at ministry headquarters. The police were just beginning to investigate allegations that he had molested a young girl. Instead of facing those allegations, it was determined that White committed suicide.

Wade Burleson, who lives in Oklahoma, reached out to this young girl on April 23, 2012 in a post entitled:

The Sin and Suicide of 'Voice of the Martyrs' Ex. Director Tom White: An Open Letter to the Young Girl He Abused (link)

A week later Wade wrote a follow-up post — Tom White, Abuse, VOM, and the Power of the Internet (link)

In the intervening years, we have sometimes wondered about how VOM is faring in the wake of Tom White's death.

Recently, we received a disturbing email from Andrea Horn of Reformation Baptist Church. She also reached out to our friend Todd Wilhelm regarding reports of sexual abuse at a Nigerian orphanage connected with VOM. It has been alleged that the director of the Stephens Center – Isaac Newton – has been habitually abusing girls in the orphanage. Todd has put together an informative post which he published last week, and he has given us permission to re-post it for our readership. Please join us in praying for those who have been hurt in Nigeria.


Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) Funded Abuse of Nigerian Orphans (link)

Todd Wilhelm

After reading this article I would urge you to sign the petition.  I have placed three links to the page in this article where you can do that.

Take action – sign the petition here.

When I think of Evangelicalism today suffice it to say that my head is not filled with pleasant thoughts. I could write a litany of detailed corruption amongst the celebrity leadership, and in fact I initially did so, but instead of rehashing the many negative stories I chose to delete a few hours of work, assuming that my readers will not contest the fact that American Evangelicalism is a ship that is badly listing.

I want to instead highlight Reformation Baptist Church, a small church in Youngsville, NC that has reassured me that there are still some local churches that are fighting the good fight. What this church has done in researching the corruption in Nigeria VOM is amazing and quite commendable.

I [recently] received the following email…

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/04/24/voice-martyrs-vom-funded-abuse-nigerian-orphans/

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/04/24/voice-martyrs-vom-funded-abuse-nigerian-orphans/

Prior to getting into the important issues that the Reformation Baptist Church has raised, I believe it would be helpful to review the Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) organization.

  Prior to getting into the important issues that the Reformation Baptist Church has raised, I believe it would be helpful to review the Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) organizaton.

Below is an excerpt from an article on Tom White’s suicide, found in Christianity Today.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/aprilweb-only/tom-white-accusations.html

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/aprilweb-only/tom-white-accusations.html

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/aprilweb-only/tom-white-accusations.html

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/04/24/voice-martyrs-vom-funded-abuse-nigerian-orphans/To read the entire letter written by Michael Wumbrand, click on this link.

The Reformation Baptist Church, through circumstances described in the video below, became aware of  gross mismanagement of funds in the Voice of Martyrs Nigeria. Most of the money came from Voice of Martyrs in America. In addition the church was also made aware of terrible abuse occurring at an orphanage in Abeokuta, Nigeria. This orphanage is called Stephen Centre and was run by Isaac Newton,  head man of VOM in Nigeria.

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/04/24/voice-martyrs-vom-funded-abuse-nigerian-orphans/I would urge you to watch the video below.  It is about 45 minutes in length. The Reformation Baptist Church did an outstanding job of researching and producing this;  it will definitely awaken a righteous anger in you.  Once you have watched it you will want to sign the petition. I suggest you will also want to cease contributing to VOM.  As Michael Wurmbrand stated, they are fully corrupt.

Take action – sign the petition here.

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/04/24/voice-martyrs-vom-funded-abuse-nigerian-orphans/

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/04/24/voice-martyrs-vom-funded-abuse-nigerian-orphans/

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/04/24/voice-martyrs-vom-funded-abuse-nigerian-orphans/

Take action – sign the petition here.


IMPORTANT UPDATE: 

Todd Wilhelm believes the Voice of the Martyrs are attempting damage control in the wake of his explosive post.  To read this update, click here. 


Comments

Voice of the Martyrs and Alleged Sexual Sin in a Nigerian Orphanage — 125 Comments

  1. Thank you all for tackling this tough subject — the sexual abuse of children.

    I stopped giving to the Voice of the Martyrs years ago because of the accusations of sexual abuse. In fact, it’s very rare for me to give to any Christian ministries any more because of the corruption, nepotism, misuse of funds, and stories of “missionaries” who are sexually abusing children.

  2. “I co chop you dolla;
    I make you money disappear;
    Four-one-nine just a game,
    You be the mugu,
    I be the masta!”
    — Nigerian pop song about a swindler

  3. @ Velour:
    I agree. Many ministries are so corrupt and prideful. I have given to Mercy Corps, which I hope hasn’t gotten corrupted. I’m about sick of Franklin Graham and his attitude and politics, and was thinking how sad he strayed so far from his Dad’s ways.

  4. Was it in Kenya or Nigeria that girls were kidnapped by Islamic fighters to be sex slaves? What is the effective difference between that and so-called ‘Christians’. abusing girls they are supposedly ‘caring’ for? ‘Christianity’ is daily losing whatever ‘moral authority’ it once had.

  5. TomkeinOK wrote:

    Was it in Kenya or Nigeria that girls were kidnapped by Islamic fighters to be sex slaves? What is the effective difference between that and so-called ‘Christians’. abusing girls they are supposedly ‘caring’ for? ‘Christianity’ is daily losing whatever ‘moral authority’ it once had.

    It was in Nigeria. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/04/14/boko-haram-kidnapped-276-girls-two-years-ago-what-happened-to-them/?utm_term=.30e31da2fbbc

    And vulnerable populations of people will always be vulnerable to predators. That’s what makes it so sickening.

  6. I guess the ‘martyrs’ are the abused children and all the good people who sent money to these monsters, thinking they were helping the children

    I guess it ends when people wise up

    But I wonder if attacking ‘evangelicalism’ is the answer, when truth is that it is like more that our many human weaknesses are driving the boat towards the rocks?

    There will always be predators and swindlers and there will always be orphans and us ‘nice people’ who ‘give money’ thinking we are helping, but at one remove hands-off ‘let the people I’m contributing to handle the trouble and I can say ‘I helped’

    ….. how comfortable to be always at one remove from the suffering and there are plenty of swindlers and predators out there who realize we are like this, yes …… may God help us find the better way

  7. I used to give money to VOM, never again. Unless the Lord leads me in a different direction, I’ll never give another penny to a so-called Christian institution, so tired of all the people lining up for salaries and circling the wagons to protect the institution, sometimes at the cost of the truth and justice. I’ll give my money to poor people or friends in trouble, to my children.

  8. I totally agree about giving money to christian organizations. My home State of Missouri is suffering tremendously from the flooding. My home town was cut off 3 different ways. But my family that lives in Missouri is fine. If you wish to donate money to anything, find organizations that are helping out those displaced by the flood. I am sending money to a family member’s church that is collecting items for the flood victims. I’ve been thru having your home flooded by Hurricane Ike. It’s totally devastating to lose everything you have.

    On another note here – Words aren’t enough to say how I feel about VOM and its organizations across the world. It totally sickens me. What started out for good has been changed to pure evil. I can think of punishments that I would like to happen to those who horribly abuse the children, but it’s not nice of me to put it in print. I know that God has a punishment for those who sexually abuse innocent children and for those who know about it but ignore it.

  9. I’ve been pondering a recent post on TGC. Calvinism’s determinism does not have a good answer for abuse – it blames it all on God while at the same time denying that God caused it. This short article (and especially the comments) summarizes the problem with this view of God:
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-pray-if-god-has-already-determined-everything

    Most Calvinists believe in a form of determinism—that is, God has determined every single event. At each moment there is only one possible future: the future God has determined.
    Fatalism is both philosophically and theologically impoverished. It holds that God fixes some, but not all, future events in place.
    God not only ordains ends, he also ordains means. He plans the destination and the entire journey to get there.

    I don’t know if this explains whey there is so much abuse in New-Calvinist churches. In any case, it cannot explain all abuse since it is also common in non-Calvinist populations. But I wonder if this sense of determinism causes people to take abuse less seriously.

  10. Former CLC’er wrote:

    I’m about sick of Franklin Graham and his attitude and politics, and was thinking how sad he strayed so far from his Dad’s ways.

    Isn’t it just like the Bible, those lists of kings: the father serves the Lord, then the prince takes over and goes astray and undoes everything done right, then a another comes along and surpasses them all in evil, then finally there’s another in the line who comes along and sets things right again and serves the Lord and the cycle continues. The longer I live, the more it seems like the Bible’s real and was just describing life dead on.

  11. Ken F wrote:

    I don’t know if this explains whey there is so much abuse in New-Calvinist churches. In any case, it cannot explain all abuse since it is also common in non-Calvinist populations. But I wonder if this sense of determinism causes people to take abuse less seriously.

    Good thoughts. I’ve wondered about it also, as it’s true, abuse is absolutely not confined to the calvinists; I’ve seen vicious abuse in a number of churches, including Arminian, pentecostal and calvinist, but unlike the others, in my experience it’s the norm in the neocalvinist churches.

    There’s something about the theology that attracts disturbed, wounded young men who are more likely to become abusive. It’s a philosophy for the malignant nerd, has an odd and ugly side: God controls everyone and everything, the movement of every atom, The Great Puppetmaster. Kind of weird and sci-fi. I remember hanging round the type in high school, they liked to sit around and ponder stuff like “What if the universe is just some alien’s science experiment?” In the calvinist god, it’s almost as if they found the object of their ponderings, that alien.

    Also attracts a lot of people who have a need to feel they’re masters of the universe with the hidden knowledge. Most really think they’re onto the Deep Truth and need to convert all of us common rabble, whom they consider low grade, beneath them. Explains why they’re so into church takeovers by subterfuge, so dismissive of opposing views, so tone deaf and unfeeling towards the rest of us–we’re beneath them, we need to be enlightened.

    Of course, they also follow a book that says be patient and kind, so they have to at least fake up some goodness. No wonder dealing with the average neocalvinist feels like speaking with a maddeningly fake-sweet Islamic extremist.

    Of course, as you point out, the determinism which I claim attracts the wounded souls also justifies the abusive behavior. If you’re an abuser by nature, what better philosophy than one which claims you cannot truly be responsible for your own actions, they having been controlled by God Himself?

  12. VOM, SGM, 9Marx, Acts29, and so on ……. seems like the only people that matter are the high ranking males. Those are the “poor souls” to whom people donate the money.

  13. @ Ken F:
    If they (Neo-Cals) believe that God is the Author of evil, then that might explain some of what is going on ….. particularly feeling free ‘to do evil that good may come’

    It’s a small, wrathful, angry, mean-spirited god they worship, rather like themselves in the way they have treated women (and children) with abuse … their god is made in their own image

    you know, for them, it’s like Our Lord never came to Earth as the clearest and best revelation of God we have been given ….

  14. @ Ken F and Law Prof:

    I too have the same thoughts and questions.
    In my opinion the open theism of Pinnock and Boyd makes more sense.
    I came to pretty much the same conclusion long before I ever read Pinnock & Boyd.

  15. Nancy2 wrote:

    I read that a couple of days ago. Even with a PhD, the writer can’t make it make any sense!

    I’m as perplexed as you are.
    I know you’re a math person too.
    The write says it is… then says it isn’t … then says it is…
    Almost like an infinite series problem that goes nowhere.

  16. Law Prof wrote:

    Of course, as you point out, the determinism which I claim attracts the wounded souls also justifies the abusive behavior. If you’re an abuser by nature, what better philosophy than one which claims you cannot truly be responsible for your own actions, they having been controlled by God Himself?

    that’s the whole thing:
    when a human person, made in the image of God, loses the dignity of being able to choose whether or not to obey his own conscience, he then can no longer be held accountable for his actions

  17. This is nothing new at orphanages. A friend of mine was brought up in several orphanages, including a local one run by the Methodist Church. At age 11 she was serially molested by a Methodist minister closely involved with the orphanage. She was aware of other girls who suffered the same treatment. As dependents on “Christian charity,” the young victims were too terrified to say anything. The minister got off scot-free and actually rose to local prominence. To this day the orphanage (now devoted to helping homeless kids. I believe) has an unsullied reputation in our community.

    If anyone here is familiar with Winston-Salem, you will know exactly which orphanage I’m referring to.

    My friend has led a mostly happy adult life, but she has a hard, brittle shell.

    This all occurred many years before the Catholic Scandal broke. To this day I know Christians who think the world of this local orphanage — and are utterly convinced that sex abuse and coverups are just a “Catholic Problem.”

  18. Muff Potter wrote:

    @ Ken F and Law Prof:
    I too have the same thoughts and questions.
    In my opinion the open theism of Pinnock and Boyd makes more sense.
    I came to pretty much the same conclusion long before I ever read Pinnock & Boyd.

    Greg Boyd and Billy Graham are about the only big names I ever saw speak in person who I didn’t think Jesus wouldn’t have turned over on his head and shaked the money out of his pockets, then run him off the stage with a whip.

  19. I totally agree about giving money to christian organizations.

    I hate to say it, but I feel the same way about doing business with Christian businesses. After 27+ years here in the Bible Belt, I have learned this the hard way. If a business advertises itself as Christian-owned, I grab my wallet, hold it tight, and run hard in the opposite direction.

    (I’m talking here about “secular” businesses such as plumbers, contractors, dog groomers, and what have you. Mostly services but also some retailers. I’m not talking about Christian bookstores or the food taverna at the Greek Festival. Of course those enterprises are run by Christians, and I gladly patronize them. But a self-proclaimed Christian electrician with a fish on his truck? Fuhgeddaboudit.)

  20. Harley wrote:

    VOM. What started out for good has been changed to pure evil.

    180 turn around, for sure. From the testimony of Richard Wurmbrand and the founding of VOM, to VOM today: financial fraud, abuse of power, and serial statutory rape. The deadly, destructive, evil triad of power, sex, money. Doesn’t get any worse.

    This is an important post – thanks Dee, Deb, Todd.

  21. @ Law Prof:

    It doesn’t explain the global RCC pedophile priest scandals. Perhaps the belief in easy confession/penance covered that? I don’t know

  22. @ Law Prof:
    Boyd cracks me up. My guess is he can’t find his wallet half the time. His wife probably does the books. His speaking style gets on my nerves but he is a brilliant thinker. I love the Q&A with his partner. They often disagree, too. I have not listened in a few years though. But always much food for thought from him.

  23. Law Prof wrote:

    I used to give money to VOM, never again.

    So did I. Then I volunteered for them and worked part-time for a short period of time. I know ex-employees. I know who the 10 year old child is that Tom White molested. I know who the father is who went to police and I run across him on a regular basis. I have my own inside story at VOM. I am aware of Michael Wurmbrands going public to expose the wicked leaders of this organization. There is absolutely zero transparency with this organization. No one knows anything about where the money goes to. Unless something like this is publicized, we know little about the real projects or countries it is spending its money in. Much of the money could get embezzled and there is no way to expose that. They have a culture of paranoia and secrecy that is very cultish. They care nothing about the actual persecution of believers. The only things that I know for sure is that the real projects are badly managed and that a spirit of sexual impurity gained power and influence over the culture as Tom White grew the business. I have no doubt that there are many more stories out there to tell as Tom took donor funds and made secret trips into closed countries. Most likely he used the funds to molest many, many children in countries where he could not get caught by western authorities. I am waiting for one of them to grow up, emigrate out to a freer country and then file a lawsuit against VOM. I think it is only a matter of time. The controversy will only grow because light has a way of finding its way out of darkness. A conspiracy of silence only lasts so long.
    This is my “Mars Hill” inside experience. They need to be de-funded, period. I pray that this video goes viral. Their is nothing Christian at all about VOM.

  24. Mr. Jesperson wrote:

    ost likely he used the funds to molest many, many children in countries where he could not get caught by western authorities. I am waiting for one of them to grow up, emigrate out to a freer country and then file a lawsuit against VOM. I think it is only a matter of time. The controversy will only grow because light has a way of finding its way out of darkness. A conspiracy of silence only lasts so long.

    If there are other suspected child sexual predators at Voice of the Martyrs who are in the U.S. it would be a good idea to turn them in now to Immigration & Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.). Victims can be brought to the United States and perpetrators can be prosecuted in federal court.

    Just a thought. In case you have more important information, or someone you know does.
    https://www.ice.gov/

  25. Ken F wrote:

    I’ve been pondering a recent post on TGC. Calvinism’s determinism does not have a good answer for abuse – it blames it all on God while at the same time denying that God caused it.

    I don’t really see a difference between the fatalism of Hinduism (and Buddhism), the whole reincarnation thing and bad karma (you were abused because of some bad thing you did in a previous life and so ‘tough luck’) and today’s vile NeoCalvinists’ teachings.

  26. Law Prof wrote:

    There’s something about the theology [New Calvinism] that attracts disturbed, wounded young men who are more likely to become abusive.

    A pastor, Ken Garrett in Oregon that Julie Anne at Spiritual Sounding Board knows,
    just released his dissertation about spiritual abuse in churches and recovery from it.
    He and his wife were in a church that became incredibly abusive and a cult. Ken
    noted this same point: Abusive leaders make abusive churches.

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2017/05/02/spiritual-abuse-in-the-church-a-guide-to-recognition-and-recovery/

  27. Velour wrote:

    I don’t really see a difference between the fatalism of Hinduism (and Buddhism), the whole reincarnation thing and bad karma (you were abused because of some bad thing you did in a previous life and so ‘tough luck’) and today’s vile NeoCalvinists’ teachings.

    I agree – and add Islam to the mix (I’ve spent very many hours talking about Islam with friends from Saudi Arabia – they believe God wills all human action). My bigger question is whether or not this type of determinism shapes one’s beliefs and behaviors with respect to abuse. Does it make it easier for abusers to justify their abuse, for non-abusers to condone it (do nothing), and for the abused to not report it? Or does it not make a much of a difference?

  28. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    A friend of mine was brought up in several orphanages, including a local one run by the Methodist Church. At age 11 she was serially molested by a Methodist minister closely involved with the orphanage. She was aware of other girls who suffered the same treatment. As dependents on “Christian charity,” the young victims were too terrified to say anything.

    And at Oprah Winfrey’s school in South Africa girls were also sexually abused. It seems that predators go where they can have access to vulnerable children. Despicable and wicked.

  29. Muff Potter wrote:

    the open theism of Pinnock and Boyd makes more sense

    Open theism is tempting, but I get the sense that it goes too far in the other direction. One of my favorite lines from The Shack is when Paps said, “you don’t understand the mystery.” I’m thinking this is one of those ideas that we will never be able to get our pea-brains to fully understand. The real question is whether or not we can trust God in spite of not being able to understand details like this.

  30. Lydia wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    Boyd cracks me up. My guess is he can’t find his wallet half the time. His wife probably does the books. His speaking style gets on my nerves but he is a brilliant thinker. I love the Q&A with his partner. They often disagree, too. I have not listened in a few years though. But always much food for thought from him.

    Saw Boyd 20 years ago at a big conference back in my mega days, back when he was pretty young and still teaching at Bethel, which used to be a decent place (no clue about it now, moved away from Twin Cities long ago). Actually liked his public speaking style, guy was all over the place, Mr. Energy, but probably liked it because it’s my speaking style. Take Boyd’s kineticism and Carlin’s cynicism and you got me. Definitely not a style for everyone, some students love it, one student wrote in my class reviews under “What could be done to improve this class?” “Get a new professor to teach it”.

    Agree with you about his forget the wallet/wife does finances vibe, would be stunned if the guy was a typical big name money grubber.

  31. Ken F wrote:

    The real question is whether or not we can trust God in spite of not being able to understand details like this.

    Exactly.

  32. Ken F wrote:

    My bigger question is whether or not this type of determinism shapes one’s beliefs and behaviors with respect to abuse.

    Great question.

  33. Ken F wrote:

    @ Christiane:
    I suppose they can always blame their behavior on god ordaining it.

    “In’shal’lah…”

  34. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    I hate to say it, but I feel the same way about doing business with Christian businesses. After 27+ years here in the Bible Belt, I have learned this the hard way. If a business advertises itself as Christian-owned, I grab my wallet, hold it tight, and run hard in the opposite direction.

    No Skubalon!

    Whether you get a flat-out crook with a Christianese coat of paint or someone who acts like his Faith counts for more than his competence, it’s just too big a risk to take. We’ve both heard lotsa horror stories along those lines, from the incompetent contractor who claimed “The Devil snuck in and messed up your remodeling” to Bible Bullets about Forgiveness to “from bitter experience, we’ll extend credit to a serious druggie before we will a Christian(TM) business”.

  35. Velour wrote:

    If there are other suspected child sexual predators at Voice of the Martyrs who are in the U.S. it would be a good idea to turn them in now to Immigration & Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.).

    Sic La Migra on ’em.

    “ICE ICE, baby, …”

  36. Law Prof wrote:

    Also attracts a lot of people who have a need to feel they’re masters of the universe with the hidden knowledge.

    “Illuminati…”

    Most really think they’re onto the Deep Truth and need to convert all of us common rabble, whom they consider low grade, beneath them.

    “Illuminati…”

    –we’re beneath them, we need to be enlightened.

    “Illuminati…” = “He Who Is Illuminated/Enlightened”

    “Occult” = Hidden
    “Gnosis” = Knowledge
    “Gnostic” = One with Gnosis, “He Who KNOWS Things”

  37. Law Prof wrote:

    Of course, as you point out, the determinism which I claim attracts the wounded souls also justifies the abusive behavior. If you’re an abuser by nature, what better philosophy than one which claims you cannot truly be responsible for your own actions, they having been controlled by God Himself?

    “In’shal’lah..”

    Some years ago, a writing contact of mine moved to Louisville and started finding a church to settle into. He described one (apparently Really Truly Reformed) that was into Predestination Uber Alles, and observed similar behaviors to X-treme Islam — passivity, fatalism, “God Wills It” justification for abuse and stupidity, and “Not My Fault! God’s Will!” when that stupidity came around and bit back. I concluded that these are just the fruits of X-Treme Predestination/Determinism.

  38. PEARL wrote:

    My church continued to support this organization even after knowing about this. I’m done.

    Like that church my writing partner told me about — the one who invited Mike Warnke to preach his Testimony KNOWING the guy was a Fraud! Long AFTER the guy had been exposed!

    “But Souls Will Be Saved” or something similar as justification.

    My writing partner (a pastor himself) has had nothing to do with that church or pastor since.

  39. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    This all occurred many years before the Catholic Scandal broke. To this day I know Christians who think the world of this local orphanage — and are utterly convinced that sex abuse and coverups are just a “Catholic Problem.”

    ” I THANK THEE, LOOOOOOOOOOOORD, THAT I AM NOTHING LIKE THOSE FILTHY ROMISH PAPISTS OVER THERE…”

  40. TomkeinOK wrote:

    Was it in Kenya or Nigeria that girls were kidnapped by Islamic fighters to be sex slaves?

    Nigeria.
    Boko Haram, more Islamic than the Taliban (themselves More Islamic than Mohammed)

  41. Nancy2 wrote:

    I read that a couple of days ago. Even with a PhD, the writer can’t make it make any sense!

    To fill out the picture, we need to add some words of wisdom from John Piper (see: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2017/05/05/voice-of-the-martyrs-and-alleged-sexual-sin-in-a-nigerian-orphanage/):

    This verse teaches that whenever God acts, he acts in a way that pleases him. God is never constrained to do a thing that he despises. He is never backed into a corner where his only recourse is to do something he hates to do. He does whatever he pleases. And therefore, in some sense, he has pleasure in all that he does.

    So when Psalm 135 says that the Lord does whatever he pleases, it has to include the taking of personal life at sea through the wind which he alone controls.

    I have commended a solution to you before and I will commend it again: namely, that the death and misery of the unrepentant is in and of itself no delight to God. God is not a sadist. He is not malicious or bloodthirsty. Instead, when a rebellious, wicked, unbelieving person is judged, what God delights in is the vindication of truth and goodness and of his own honor and glory.

    So they have a view that their god directly causes abuse and suffering, that he takes great pleasure in it, and that he is right to take pleasure in it because the victims are guilty sinners who deserve whatever they get. When will this rot come to an end?

  42. Nancy2 wrote:

    I read that a couple of days ago. Even with a PhD, the writer can’t make it make any sense!

    I posted a response just now but I made the mistake of quoting Piper and now my response is held up in customs. I can see why – Piper’s words are poison.

  43. Former CLC’er wrote:

    I’m about sick of Franklin Graham and his attitude and politics, and was thinking how sad he strayed so far from his Dad’s ways.

    Ah yes, he who made pilgrimage to Trump Tower to personally deliver the Anointing.

    And the gay marriage between Christians and Trump just got weirder. Today’s Internet Monk Saturday Ramblings includes an item about a guest speaker on Jim Bakker’s Tribulation Survivalist show:

    [Joel] Richardson, not to be outdone, said that Satan himself has gotten involved in the protests. In fact he implied that to be against Trump is to be against God. He claimed that “the Lord is using this administration” and “it’s for that reason that the rage of Satan, this irrational rage of Satan, is so directed towards this man.” And: “It’s not against Donald Trump. On the outside, in the natural [world], it’s, ‘We hate Donald Trump,’ ‘We’re furious about this and we’re furious about that,’ but the scriptures say they gather and they plot ultimately against the Lord and against His anointed.”

    (Think I’m making that up? Go to http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/saturday-brunch-may-6-2017 and scroll to the heading “Good old Jim Bakker is still on the air”. It’s after the guy in Argentina who’s having himself surgically transformed into an Elf.)

    We are now officially living in an episode of South Park. You have no idea how much I wanted to edit that above passage to spell “Lord” with all caps and four or five o’s.

  44. @ Ken F:
    God is not a predator. He is a gentleman: “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” Rev. 3:20.

    Rapists don’t knock, they kick the door down. Child stalkers do not openly ask for what they are going for, they deceive and lie and manipulate the vulnerable.

  45. @ Christiane:
    You had suggested an Early Warning System at TWW for participating in a church or fellowship.

    This post indicates an Early Warning factor for donating money and or time to an overseas ministry (or a domestic ministry, however, the home front is easier to track).

    Some of the appeals we receive in the mail have stories and photos for a so-called desperate need in such-and-such a place. Sometimes, having visited that very place recently, the appeal is obvious fraud.

  46. I’ve never heard of voice of martyrs before but it definitely highlights how you really have to vet your overseas charities.
    Watoto children’s choir is a perennial favorite of my wife’s church. Not without controversy, that bunch.
    I prefer to give to charity in my own community. Where I actually see the Salvation Army van on the street helping the needy.

  47. I think determinist thinking plays a part in how people perceive God blessing this or that. If there is no proper weight and burden on human responsibility and God’s allowance for agency and natural consequences and human judgment and involvement, then we can just go ahead and assume that simply because a thing is happening or exists it means God must be behind it or this person, group. This is obviously problematic and contradictory in logic and reality.

    If resources are there and are coming in and there is some sort of status gain surely it’s God’s direct approval and favor!

    You can go on social media alone and see people from contradictory philosophies in theology claiming God is behind their ministry or work and opening doors for them and affirming their thoughts and steps. So, if God’s doing all that for you, why isn’t he then blocking and doing the opposite for those over here whose ideas cancel out yours and even consider your’s heretical or dangerous? They also are claiming that God is behind them, blessing them. And vice versa.

    God must be confused! Maybe God is purposefully inconsistent in his will and playing mind games with us all?

    I think God definitely providentially intervenes and directs in our personal, local, and world affairs and is very much “God with us”, but I think determinism assumes and forces God’s hand where it often isn’t or may not actually be.

    Determinism-like thinking can be used to manipulate people and situations and perceptions. It certainly prevents people from human responsibility in judgment and discernment, working out what is good and whether or not something is actually true.

    VOM has money and resources and a well-recognized name and a seemingly Christian philosophy and mission, surely we can immediately trust God is behind it. It can’t actually even be demonic and abusive, can it?

  48. @ emily honey:
    sadly, ‘determinism’ may be behind the thinking that, if people have money, God is favoring them and they are more deserving than those who do not have sufficient wealth…… hence the theology of capitalism where, if you are strong enough to gain enough money, you are blessed and deserve the rewards of your gain;

    and conversely, if you are impoverished and bereft of resource, that God does NOT favor you and the wealthy have no responsibility to help you out as it’s every man for himself and only those who ‘have’ are ‘worthy’ enough to live

    the survival of the fittest is a theology that has grown out of the determinist model, explaining why it’s ‘good’ that the rich grow richer, as they are in God’s favor;
    and the poor are not to be reckoned as worthy of assistance, as they ‘obviously’ are not among the ‘chosen’

  49. JYJames wrote:

    @ Christiane:
    You had suggested an Early Warning System at TWW for participating in a church or fellowship.

    This post indicates an Early Warning factor for donating money and or time to an overseas ministry (or a domestic ministry, however, the home front is easier to track).

    Some of the appeals we receive in the mail have stories and photos for a so-called desperate need in such-and-such a place. Sometimes, having visited that very place recently, the appeal is obvious fraud.

    I expect people depend on the reports of trusted investigators who arrive at an area in crisis, but I had a godmother, of blessed memory, who gave generously to a television evangelist who used a large amount of donations to invest in gold mines in Africa. She had no idea he was in it for greed. She thought he was helping people in trouble. She was an innocent always.

  50. Christiane wrote:

    sadly, ‘determinism’ may be behind the thinking that, if people have money, God is favoring them and they are more deserving than those who do not have sufficient wealth…… hence the theology of capitalism where, if you are strong enough to gain enough money, you are blessed and deserve the rewards of your gain;

    The origin of both the Protestant Work Ethic and the Prosperity Gospel.

  51. Ken F wrote:

    So they have a view that their god directly causes abuse and suffering, that he takes great pleasure in it, and that he is right to take pleasure in it because the victims are guilty sinners who deserve whatever they get.

    This makes Satan into the greatest hero of all time, because he was the one who stood up to that Cosmic Monster.

  52. @ Muff Potter:
    Glad to see another interested in ‘english theism.’ Ìf predestination the wayear of God, then why pray f
    OR help? Everything has already been set and will happen no matter how sincerely and bel

  53. @ TomkeinOK:
    Sorry. Problems with new tablet. ‘Open’ theism meant. Also sincere and believing prayers cannot affect a predestined plan. So why pray for help for family, others, self? ‘God’ set his heart for their/my destruction or preservation before the universe began and that’s that.

  54. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    The origin of both the Protestant Work Ethic and the Prosperity Gospel.

    I look at the Scandinavian countries, principally Sweden, and I see a great work ethic (they are mostly Lutheran there); but these folks have not abandoned their ideal of ‘the common good’ or the well-being of all among them. It IS possible to have a Protestant heritage and a good work ethic without abandoning humane principles. In these countries, new parents are permitted to spend lengthy time off from work to be with their babies, for example. The cradle to grave consideration seems not to have been abandoned by greedy folks who say ‘I’ve got mine and the h3ll with everyone else’.

    Something is wrong with a ‘christian’ outlook that has adopted greed as a reason to allow inhumane neglect of the people who are elderly, handicapped, or have long-term illnesses.

  55. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Headless, I should add that I have a developmentally-disabled son who receives Medicaid to support his care at Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat. The coming new cuts on Medicaid will impact many people like my son. These people have no voice. They need support because they are being targeted big time by those who are going after the ones they think cannot defend themselves from what is coming.

  56. @ Christiane:

    The Book of Ecclesiastes soundly refutes the mindset (clung to by many, not just fundagelicals) you’ve delineated:

    “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”
    — Ecclesiastes 9:11 —

  57. @ Ken F:
    Sounds like Calvinist ‘god’ delights in rape, torture, etc. Do these people ever THINK about the kind of ‘god’ they worship and believe in???

  58. Jack wrote:

    I prefer to give to charity in my own community. Where I actually see the Salvation Army van on the street helping the needy.

    Me too, Jack.

  59. TomkeinOK wrote:

    Sounds like Calvinist ‘god’ delights in rape, torture, etc. Do these people ever THINK about the kind of ‘god’ they worship and believe in???

    This is where it gets tricky. I don’t know of any Calvinist would say that god delights in rape, torture, etc. They would all strongly deny this. Yet this is exactly where their theology leads. If their god precisely determines everything, including the means and the ends, and that there is nothing that comes to pass that he does not ordain, and if he does everything by his pleasure and for his glory, and if we all, as sinners, deserve eternal and unrelenting torment (can earthly rape and torture be worse then eternal hell?), then yes, their god finds infinite pleasure in the rapes and tortures that he has ordained. And the victims do in fact deserve whatever they get because of their infinite guilt. This is a very sick theological system.

    I think I can understand how Calvinist theology as described by the New Calvinists can result in an abusive culture. But it’s less clear to me how abuse thrives in cultures that don’t hold these views. I don’t know how much Calvinism is to blame.

  60. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    This makes Satan into the greatest hero of all time, because he was the one who stood up to that Cosmic Monster.

    Alternatively, it makes Satan more tangible than God in the lives of believers. It makes it seem reasonable to focus so much on demonic activity as highlighted on the recent post about ARC.

  61. Ken F wrote:

    But it’s less clear to me how abuse thrives in cultures that don’t hold these views.

    Perhaps because abusive people create abusive cultures, whether at church, at work, etc.

  62. Ken F wrote:

    Alternatively, it makes Satan more tangible than God in the lives of believers.

    It makes God and Satan one and the same.

  63. @ JYJames:
    I felt exactly the same way reading this – how a good man’s extreme suffering has been used as a shield to hide horrific evils behind. Tragic. I’m glad this has blown open and that his son has no qualms about this.
    I haven’t given to overseas charities for a long time – I give to individual people I know & trust who work overseas, & that’s it pretty much.

  64. Lydia

    The scandals happened due to pedophiles who look for places to molest children. It has nothing to do with easy beleivism. I attend a church now that has a confession of  sin each week. I doubt that means there are morepedophilesrpesent than in Baptist churches which do not do such a confession of sin.

  65. @ dee:

    Baptists have easy believism, too. It’s not formalized with confession to a pastor but it’s there. I do think pedophiles go where children are. And that includes children’s workers, youth pastors, priests, etc. the question is how do they normalize it week after week while purposely teaching the opposite of such? And why do churches treat it so dismissively as if it’s now just a run of the mill sin. My sincere apologies if I offended you about confession. In the baptist tradition I grew up in anyone walk in off the street and join and even volunteer.

  66. Christiane wrote:

    It IS possible to have a Protestant heritage and a good work ethic without abandoning humane principles. In these countries, new parents are permitted to spend lengthy time off from work to be with their babies, for example. The cradle to grave consideration seems not to have been abandoned by greedy folks who say ‘I’ve got mine and the h3ll with everyone else’.

    There will always be a portion of the population (albeit small) that doesn’t subscribe to a good work ethic in accord with a Protestant heritage. Those individuals will try to “work the system” to see what they can get from it while making an insignificant or no contribution. As that portion grows in number because they learn they can vote themselves benefits from the public largesse the model you described becomes unworkable; fewer and fewer people are now required to support an ever increasing population of those who “work the system.” Eventually, a tipping point is reached by hard working folks who are fed up and say that enough is enough. The greedy are the individuals who “work the system.”

  67. Lydia wrote:

    I do think pedophiles go where children are. And that includes children’s workers, youth pastors, priests, etc. the question is how do they normalize it week after week while purposely teaching the opposite of such?

    I think it is normalized by way of sin leveling. The constant teaching of –

    Utter depravity
    I am the worst sinner I know
    Jesus died because of/for me (instead of for the world)

    Everything is me/I focused, so when someone else commits serious sin, our thoughts are trained to believe that “I” am just as capable of doing that thing as the person who did it. IF “I” am just as likely to do that horrific sin, I surely would want forgiveness and acceptance/no consequence.

    Now I need to extend what “I” would want to this other person . . . because I am the same as him. People are so willing to let things pass in churches because of a psychological corruption of the mind of believers by what is taught in churches.

  68. Ken G wrote:

    The greedy are the individuals who “work the system.”

    This is why the various “isms” (communism, capitalism, socialism, etc.) look great on paper but don’t tend to work out as well in practice. Human nature derails all of them to one extent or the other – some worse than others. At least in political systems there is a certain amount of transparency that tends to put a check on the worst abuses, provided some basic freedoms are in place such as a free press. Apparently the checks are not doing as well in “christian” ministries like the subject of this post. Thankfully, there are forums such as this one that bring needed visibility to the abuses.

  69. Ken G wrote:

    There will always be a portion of the population (albeit small) that doesn’t subscribe to a good work ethic in accord with a Protestant heritage. Those individuals will try to “work the system” to see what they can get from it while making an insignificant or no contribution. As that portion grows in number because they learn they can vote themselves benefits from the public largesse the model you described becomes unworkable; fewer and fewer people are now required to support an ever increasing population of those who “work the system.”

    I’m confused. Are they a small portion or a larger and larger portion?

  70. dee wrote:

    pedophiles look for places to molest children

    True. Opportunism. We must be vigilant, always, everywhere, while here on Earth.

    “Wise as serpents, innocent as doves,” Jesus said.

    Thank you, TWW, for discipleship in that endeavor (which is sometimes sadly neglected at some brick and mortar “churches”).

  71. Ken F wrote:

    I think I can understand how Calvinist theology as described by the New Calvinists can result in an abusive culture. But it’s less clear to me how abuse thrives in cultures that don’t hold these views. I don’t know how much Calvinism is to blame.

    I think neo-Cal theology is NOT the same as that of the Dutch Reformed people of the North in NJ who are very dear Christian people. The neo-Cal theology has bred a type of young pastor who is willing to use stealth and manipulation to come into a congregation and gain power and then pose himself as ‘the visionary’ to whom all must bow. No. No. The Dutch Reformed people are NOT like this. Neo-Cal-ism is in a class of its own.

  72. Christiane wrote:

    I think neo-Cal theology is NOT the same as that of the Dutch Reformed people of the North in NJ who are very dear Christian people.

    I understand and agree with that. However, technically, Neo-Calvinism is a form of Dutch Calvinism and is not the same as New-Calvinism. There are quite a few good links on the web explaining the differences. Here is one example: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/reintegrate/2014/05/27/whats-wrong-neocalvinism/. Note the Neo-Calvinism is more associated with dominion theology (e.g. Chuck Colson) than with the New-Calvinists. There are many streams of Reformed theology, so it can get confusing quickly. Some are calling New-Calvinsm Neo-Puritanism. This might be the best term to use. But in any case, the New-Calvinists are not much like the Dutch Reformed.

  73. Ken F wrote:

    @ Christiane:
    I suppose they can always blame their behavior on god ordaining it.

    They will try to do this, explaining they have done evil so good may come, but they cannot BLAME God for their evil choices because He calls all humanity to witness about the blessing and the curse. What He has written on our human hearts is a call to live justly and to do good. That is our guide. If we go against it, we will be held accountable.

  74. Lydia wrote:

    @ Law Prof:

    It doesn’t explain the global RCC pedophile priest scandals. Perhaps the belief in easy confession/penance covered that? I don’t know

    problem with this is the very nature of Catholic ‘confession’ in that if a person is insincere and returns to the old temptations, he has condemned himself before God. Without ‘interior’ conversion, a return to God, the ‘confession’ has no value except for the insincere person. If there is ‘interior’ conversion, no priest who has committed such sins will ever seek to be serving again with proximity to the young. A total change would have to be evident, if the ‘confession’ was to have had meaning.

    I don’t know the process for evangelical confession of sins, but I can imagine that people understand you cannot lie to God, Who knows the secrets of all hearts. So when convicted by the Holy Spirit of one’s sin, it becomes apparent that only turning away from sin and away from temptations to perform that sin is the only acceptable answer. Forgiveness itself is not ‘cheap’ as it was bought at a great price from the flowing blood of Christ, so the word ‘cheap’ can only apply to the ‘phonies’ who condemn themselves before God in their lies and misrepresentation to others.

    Nothing ‘surface’ about interior conversion, no.

  75. Christiane wrote:

    He calls all humanity to witness about the blessing and the curse. What He has written on our human hearts is a call to live justly and to do good. That is our guide. If we go against it, we will be held accountable.

    And when we collaborate with the Holy Spirit & His Word speaking to us, we are blessed, thanks to the grace of JC, as we are restored to the loving relationship of our Heavenly Father.

  76. @ Ken F:
    I am looking at the praxis. The respect for women in the Dutch Reformed Church in the northern states is demonstrated. Women are recognized and honored for their work for the Church. One of these women recently passed away, and it was her inspiration and hard work that has provided for so many developmentally-disabled people including my own child and I bless her memory as a representative and a true witness of Our Lord’s great mercy to those He loved as dear to Him in their innocence and their suffering:
    http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/northjersey/obituary.aspx?pid=182632055

  77. @ Christiane:
    I don’t disagree at all. My only point was New-Calvinism and Neo-Calvinism describe different streams of Reformed theology. Many people use the two terms interchangeably, but they describe different theologies, which could lead to confusion.

  78. @ Ken F:
    thank you for clarifying that ….. when I use the term ‘neo’ I mean ‘new’ in the sense that the ‘neo-Cal folk associated with the SBC are stridently patriarchist in the worst sense of the word, and we don’t see among the northern Dutch Reformed Churches. Many of the ‘Dutch’ Churches just call themselves ‘reformed’ now, but when you look at the names in the congregations, you can find the legacy of the Dutch people in those names, yes. I am concerned that the kind of ‘neo-Cal’ SBC folks are forming abusive patterns of behavior towards women and children. I hope these ‘9 Marks’ types change for the better as they seem capable of great harm to innocent people.

  79. Christiane wrote:

    thank you for clarifying that

    I don’t know how important the terms are, but it’s very easy to confuse different forms of Reformed traditions because the names are so similar. This article on Neo-Calvinism mentions four branches of Dutch Calvinism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-Calvinism. Other articles describe the Neo-Calvinism started by Abraham Kuyper as a derailement of Dutch Calvinism. The wikipedia article on Abraham Kuyper says this: “He founded the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (the second largest Reformed denomination in the country behind the Dutch Reformed Church).” So he basically started a branch of reformed Dutch churches, but with no relation to the Dutch Reformed Church. How confusing is that? I guess my main point is that the term “Neo-Calvinism” is properly associated with a late 19th century exodus from the Dutch Reformed Church and therefore has no direct relationship to the monstrosity commonly called New-Calvinism or Young, Restless and Reformed in the 21st century. But this statement in the Kuyper article makes his movement sound a bit like Founders Ministry: “He grieved the loss of Reformed distinctives within this State Church, which no longer required office bearers to agree to the Reformed standards which had once been foundational.” Where have we heard the word “distintives” before? Hint: 9Marks, Founders, GTY – the usual suspects.

  80. It’s interesting to me that the daughter-in-law of Dan Horn (the sole elder of the patriarchal NCFIC church, Reformation Baptist Church) is the one who wrote to inform about the alleged sexual abuse. The people of this church are in close association with Scott Brown (Andrea had her wedding reception on his land), and didn’t Dan Horn used to work for Vision Forum?

    I’m not sure this church is “fighting the good fight.” I tend to be suspicious of patriarchal NCFIC churches.

  81. @ Christiane:
    As a teacher of students with special needs, my school system depends on medicaid money to support these students. I shudder to think of what the future looks like.

  82. Ken G wrote:

    There will always be a portion of the population (albeit small) that doesn’t subscribe to a good work ethic in accord with a Protestant heritage. Those individuals will try to “work the system” to see what they can get from it while making an insignificant or no contribution. As that portion grows in number because they learn they can vote themselves benefits from the public largesse the model you described becomes unworkable; fewer and fewer people are now required to support an ever increasing population of those who “work the system.” Eventually, a tipping point is reached by hard working folks who are fed up and say that enough is enough. The greedy are the individuals who “work the system.”

    The (legitimate) premise of Atlas Shrugged:
    “What happens when the Free Rider Syndrome hits critical mass?”
    “What do parasites do when they’ve killed off all their hosts?”

  83. dee wrote:

    ydia

    The scandals happened due to pedophiles who look for places to molest children.

    Where easy Prey gathers, the Predators will swarm.

  84. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    This is nothing new at orphanages.

    Children are vulnerable. Children with no families even more so.

    That attracts predators, which is why we need to put as many controls and protections in as possible. And get rid of anyone who harms them.

  85. Ken F wrote:

    I think I can understand how Calvinist theology as described by the New Calvinists can result in an abusive culture. But it’s less clear to me how abuse thrives in cultures that don’t hold these views. I don’t know how much Calvinism is to blame.

    I think there is too much made of this link, honestly. People are people. I think there is something in neo-cal philosophy that prompts them to be more authoritarian, but I don’t see that as the issue. Precisely because we have compare and contrast to other Calvinist denoms that are not the same. So what is the actual problem? It’s possible that it is the mixing of Calvinism and fundamentalism is problematic. Or something in that vein.

  86. Lydia wrote:

    And why do churches treat it so dismissively as if it’s now just a run of the mill sin.

    This sin is sin thing is a huge problem. There is a vast difference between the ‘sin’ of being rude one day and the sin of abuse. Too many churches seem to conflate these, and that is a problem.

    But it’s more than that too, because we see a difference in how people are treated and often the more damaging sins/sinners are treated better.

  87. Bridget wrote:

    I’m confused. Are they a small portion or a larger and larger portion?

    If you incentivize a thing you get more of it.

    This is part of the problem in Christian culture actually. We have financially incentivized all sorts of errant behavior and weak theology by throwing money at preachers for showmanship and not kicking out the men who abuse their flocks.

  88. Lea wrote:

    This sin is sin thing is a huge problem. There is a vast difference between the ‘sin’ of being rude one day and the sin of abuse. Too many churches seem to conflate these, and that is a problem.

    Abuse (including sexual abuse) has become a Privilege of Pastoral Rank.

    “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED! DO MY PROPHET NO HARM!”
    — favorite verse of these guys

  89. Ken F wrote:

    I posted a response just now but I made the mistake of quoting Piper and now my response is held up in customs.

    Did you notice that the author of the article is missing in action? Maybe he’s too busy writing his dissertation. Or maybe he mentioned Piper. Or God has already decided that he not interact with commenters.

  90. Muff Potter wrote:

    I gotcher’ verse right here…

    Funny, this made me go to guys and dolls rather than Scorsese!

    “I gotcher horse right here, his name is paul revere’

  91. Lea wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    And why do churches treat it so dismissively as if it’s now just a run of the mill sin.
    This sin is sin thing is a huge problem. There is a vast difference between the ‘sin’ of being rude one day and the sin of abuse. Too many churches seem to conflate these, and that is a problem.
    But it’s more than that too, because we see a difference in how people are treated and often the more damaging sins/sinners are treated better.

    This is the lie that abusive church leaders teach their flock so that when the leader twists the Bible beyond recognition to support his own sociopathic agenda, embezzles donated funds, mismanages untold millions, sets up phantom “global funds” which he then lies about so he can funnel money to other purposes, buys a 10,000+ sq ft house or a Gulfstream jet, abuses staff, covers up for child molesters in leadership, has affairs with sundry parishioners–and then gaslights, excommunicates and destroys anyone who tells the truth about him, his followers will rally round him with cries of “No one’s perfect!” “Who are you to judge?” “Have you no sin?”

  92. JYJames wrote:

    Ken F wrote:

    The real question is whether or not we can trust God in spite of not being able to understand details like this.

    Exactly.

    Our quiet little county was demolished by tornadoes last weekend and this question has been batted around in my home a lot the past week as we try to help put things back together. I honestly have no answers. I tend to think *%#{ happens but the Lord faithfully walks with us. But I’m a bit jaded.

  93. Just now catching up with this piece. I have several home projects underway, so only have a brief comment at this point: HELL IS HOT AND HELL IS LONG.

  94. Law Prof wrote:

    This is the lie that abusive church leaders teach their flock so that when the leader twists the Bible beyond recognition to support his own sociopathic agenda, embezzles donated funds, mismanages untold millions, sets up phantom “global funds” which he then lies about so he can funnel money to other purposes, buys a 10,000+ sq ft house or a Gulfstream jet, abuses staff, covers up for child molesters in leadership, has affairs with sundry parishioners–and then gaslights, excommunicates and destroys anyone who tells the truth about him, his followers will rally round him with cries of “No one’s perfect!” “Who are you to judge?” “Have you no sin?”

    no excuse to rally around child abusers or their enablers: these folks are capable of great harm

    I look at that question ‘who are you to judge?’ and I think about our dear Shauna and her beloved Billy and I can say ‘they have the gravitas to judge the evil because they have been injured by it profoundly’

    If people DON’T speak up, they are complicit cowards. The honorable Christians in a congregation will say ‘enough’, ‘enough’, ‘no more’ and refuse to continue a charade that mocks Our Lord Himself

    People ‘witness’ in what they do, and what they refuse to do AND those who will NOT support abusers are witnessing to the Christ Who Himself set the standards for behavior for all of our faith

  95. I Fear a Cage wrote:

    I honestly have no answers.

    That is probably the best and most honest answer available. The older I get the fewer answers I seem to have. I’m wondering if God built a world where we humans have real choices, and one where he wants us to participate with him in its redemption. I personally feel overwhelmed by all the pain, suffering, and neediness all around. But I can do a little to make a difference – my challenge is to get up and to what I can rather than letting it paralyze me into inaction.

  96. Christiane wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:
    This is the lie that abusive church leaders teach their flock so that when the leader twists the Bible beyond recognition to support his own sociopathic agenda, embezzles donated funds, mismanages untold millions, sets up phantom “global funds” which he then lies about so he can funnel money to other purposes, buys a 10,000+ sq ft house or a Gulfstream jet, abuses staff, covers up for child molesters in leadership, has affairs with sundry parishioners–and then gaslights, excommunicates and destroys anyone who tells the truth about him, his followers will rally round him with cries of “No one’s perfect!” “Who are you to judge?” “Have you no sin?”
    no excuse to rally around child abusers or their enablers: these folks are capable of great harm
    I look at that question ‘who are you to judge?’ and I think about our dear Shauna and her beloved Billy and I can say ‘they have the gravitas to judge the evil because they have been injured by it profoundly’
    If people DON’T speak up, they are complicit cowards. The honorable Christians in a congregation will say ‘enough’, ‘enough’, ‘no more’ and refuse to continue a charade that mocks Our Lord Himself
    People ‘witness’ in what they do, and what they refuse to do AND those who will NOT support abusers are witnessing to the Christ Who Himself set the standards for behavior for all of our faith

    Yep, agreed, some people want to delegate the duty of being a priest of the Lord to others, ignoring the Bible, ignoring the Holy Spirit, they’ll a man to follow who’ll tell them what to do and relieve them of that responsibility. Perhaps cowardice is a reason why, or in other cases, people get abused from such an early age and so deeply damaged they don’t know up from down. Of course the type of people who lust after those supreme leadership positions where they can tell everyone what to do (again, ignoring the Bible and the Holy Spirit) tend to be either confused about the truth or not at all confused but just plain evil. People need to stand up for what’s right regardless of what any self-proclaimed leader tells them. Otherwise, why didn’t Paul just stay with the Pharisees and persecute Christians?

  97. Christiane wrote:

    If people DON’T speak up, they are complicit cowards.

    Anyone remember the phrase “Good Germans”?
    (Used from the end of WW2 to around The Sixties)

  98. In the 70's our church sponsored many Romanian Christians to come to the US. No doubt because of our churches efforts, Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand came on more than one time and spoke at our church and I had the opportunity to meet them. As a result of that I often gave a sizable donation to VOM.

    When T. White committed suicide and we learned the circumstances I called the new director and asked if they were now doing criminal background checks and vetting their employees and volunteers. He said "No, why would we do that". I explained that even that it was essential that they do so and that I would no longer donate nor recommend their ministry until that was the case. I still do not donate to VOM.

    His reluctance raised serious cautions and questions in my mind that I was not going to ignore. Birds of a feather and all that. Was the travel just an opportunity to exploit the vulnerable in other countries?

  99. BC wrote:

    Was the travel just an opportunity to exploit the vulnerable in other countries?

    Pedo Sex Tourism for VOM MoGs?
    (Away from Bangkok and the scrutiny Bangkok attracts?)

  100. I’m so sad about this, and on so many levels. I’m horrified that children get treated this way. I’m angry and sad that the people responsible get away with it, and that no-one calls them to account. I’m sad that these people claim the name of Christian but have no compassion or mercy in them.

    Tortured for Christ was one of the first books that I read after I became a Christian. It was terrible and inspiring all at the same time. But the thing I found the saddest was how much difficulty Mr Wurmbrand had in getting people in the west to believe and support him. Even when he showed them his scars, they still took the attitude that we shouldn’t criticise and perhaps we should just put up with suffering, and we shouldn’t encourage Christians to break the laws of the country they’re in. Even if those laws make it illegal to be a Christian, own a Bible, meet for worship etc! Total legalism, And now we see the same thing happening again – the organisation that was supposed to help the persecute is now doing the persecuting.

    Is it just me, or does is seem like “being a Christian” is an excuse to get away with all sorts of trash these days?

  101. Ken F wrote:

    That is probably the best and most honest answer available. The older I get the fewer answers I seem to have.

    “Oh I was so much older then;
    I’m younger than that now…”

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